Casey Kearney on Homeschooling, Making Music & The Balancing Act - 30A

Casey Kearney on Homeschooling, Making Music & The Balancing Act

By Will Estell

It’s a hot sunny Saturday in Montgomery Alabama, and there in a dusty steel arena, kicked back in a folding chair, watching her three children, and husband, compete in various rodeo events sits Casey Kearney. An unassuming thirty-something who I watched, just two weekends before, at a live concert as she filmed the video for her first single to achieve country radio airplay, “Better Days”.

One day after a weekend full of rodeo events and out-of-state travel, this same mom/songwriter/performer/teacher was partaking in this interview. Because she had to get it in on a Sunday so she could homeschool her three kids on Monday. Well, that, and there are always horses to feed, chickens to gather eggs from, and the typical never-ending chores that go along with farm life. Did I mention she also has a new album dropping soon? That’s what you call a balancing act, and that, my friends, seems to be the real-life and times of small-town country girl turned popular Northwest Florida music sensation, Casey Kearney.

Your inspiring entrance into writing and performing came once you were already a wife and mom. Tell me a little about your musical background and how you came to be Casey Kearney the performer.

I honestly did not know I could actually sing until my late 20’s. I could not play any instruments and I had never written before. Both of my parents sang when I was growing up and both were amazing, but I never did. Songwriting started as an outlet to release feelings I was dealing with at the time, then evolved into something I really enjoyed. I had an extreme case of stage fright and that took a lot of work to get over. Learning to play instruments between nap times and laundry loads was challenging. I had two little ones and was pregnant with my third.

When I meet musicians that have played their whole lives I think, wow, don’t take that for granted, I’ve been playing catch up my whole career!

Around 2010 I played a few gigs with musician friends. It just didn’t seem to work. In 2016 I reached a now or never moment. The kids were slightly older, and I knew that music was something I absolutely had to pursue. I really buckled down on learning to play guitar, and I went to Nashville to record my first EP. It was expensive, but I charged it on a couple of credit cards, determined to pay for it myself before the interest hit me hard. I did and it felt so good. I just continued to press on from there, learning several other instruments and developing artistically.

Where does your desire to create come from, and where do you want to take that? What does the ideal future hold for you?

I think the desire to create is a gift that God gives us. Whether we choose to use it or not is on us. It is one of those things that is just in you.

If I am not making music I am building, remodeling, painting, or creating something, somehow. It’s who I am. 

I’ve always been impressed with your ability to cover tunes in your own voice, but moreover your writing and lyrical content in your original tunes. Where do you draw that inspiration from?

Real-life. I would consider myself a literal writer. I can paint a picture with words, but its typically going to be a pretty clear message, not as flowery and abstract as some. So much of what I write comes from pieces of my life, stories I hear, and things I am feeling or am passionate about. I need to connect to the words on some level.    

I’ve asked everyone from Jimmy Buffet to Kenny Chesney to Darius Rucker if they consider themselves writers or more so performers, and which side is more important and fulfilling for them as artists. What about for Casey Kearney?

That is super hard for me to answer! I started out dealing with an extreme amount of stage fright it was a huge hurdle to overcome. I eventually learned the power of stage presence, how to connect with an audience. I realized how much of a performer I am, even if I didn’t know it was in there. As for songwriting, When I write something that I connect to so deep it brings a smile or tears, that’s when I truly realize what songwriting is. I honestly feel very connected to both almost equally.