Artist You Need To Know: Casey Baer

emilytreadgold #3, Features

Is your ex still taking up free residence in your brain? Is your post-breakup ache still lingering? Then you may unwittingly be familiar with the term “post traumatic ex disorder”, as coined by singer/songwriter Casey Baer. LA-based powerhouse Casey released her latest single, “ptxd”, a pop/rock anthem that delves into the effects of a tumultuous relationship on one’s mental health.

Time and time again, Casey delivers angsty pop/rock vocals mixed with authentic and autobiographical lyrics. She’s already earned herself favorable comparisons to stars such as Avril Lavigne, and she’s toured the US and Europe with the likes of Jesse McCartney and WeThree. Casey is a bonafide star, a mental health advocate, and your next best friend. We were lucky enough to chat with her about “ptxd,” her musical journey, mental health, songwriting process, and more. 

If you could just tell us a bit about your background…when did you first start singing, and when did you first start writing songs? How did this all come to be?

Casey: The whole nine yards? So I have been singing literally since the second I could speak. I was humming as a baby, and by the time I was two, my parents were like, “What is going on here? She’s singing Mary Has A Little Lamb with vibrato?” Then, I went to a Hilary Duff concert when I was three, and I was bawling because I wasn’t on stage with her. And ever since then, I promised that little girl that’s what she’s gonna do. 

Singing was my everything – it still is. When I was about twelve or thirteen, I got really bad anxiety and wasn’t able to go to school…[which is what] led to me writing music. I heard Justin Bieber’s Purpose album, and I was like, “Wow, somebody I already love so much feels the same way I do and has anxiety. This is wild…If he can do this for me, I can do this for other people,”. 

All my inspiration has always been the same. It’s always completely true stories, for better or worse. It’s all about feelings, things I go through, boys, and my anxiety. While I was doing that, I started posting one-minute covers on Instagram in 2018 […] and got a little bit of a following from there. Then I started releasing my original music and kept going from there and then started TikTok over Covid. 

And then last year, I went on my very first tour…opening for Jesse McCartney – a dream come true. And then earlier this year, I went on my second tour, which was [in the] midwest for WeThree. And I recently got back from my very first European tour, and that was amazing. I opened for Tokyo Hotel. 

Do you have any dream collaborations? If not dream collaborations, then who would you say is the coolest person you’ve worked with thus far?

Casey: Oh, that’s hard. I’ve worked with a lot of really lovely, very incredibly talented people. Sophie [Simmons] is my favorite person to work with, and I’m lucky to do everything with her. Dream collaborators are definitely Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. And Rihanna, if she’d love to make a comeback with me. 

As someone who grew up listening to Jesse McCartney, I need to ask what your experience was like touring with him. Did you grow up listening to him as well?

Casey: I did. So, I actually used to fall asleep to Beautiful Soul. I was a young listener, it came out when I was three, but I used to fall asleep to it every night.

That’s like manifestation.

Casey: Honestly, I’m the queen of that. I’m super into numbers and all of that kind of stuff. I’m very much a big dreamer. But opening for Jesse was so cool. It was such an incredible experience. It’s probably what has made me who I am today. And it completely changed my life and was better than I could’ve ever dreamt of. Jesse was amazing, so crazy talented. 

So I was homeschooled in high school from anxiety. And I didn’t go to college because I do this. So I definitely grew up a little bit slower than other people my age. It’s been hard sometimes. I really truly grew up on tour [during] those months. It was like high school and college packed into two months. The person I am now is truly because of that tour.

How do you protect your peace and mental health while on tour? 

Casey: To be honest, I’m much better while I’m on tour. The happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life has always been on tour. Each of the times. There’s definitely a time when you’re like, “Okay, I need to take a second for myself.” My mom comes on tour with me, she’s amazing, she’s my best friend. So it’s really great to have her there to [tell me], “Okay, take a break for a second.”

Being with the fans and all the people is honestly kind of what gives me that extreme happiness. All of my songs are true stories, and I’m pouring my heart out in the most vulnerable way I can. To be able to see the reaction to the words that I’ve been able to come up with about my feelings and my experiences [and that they] are actually helping other people, and they are enjoying it and finding peace with whatever they’re going through.

Talking to the fans after the show, honestly, is so amazing. It really just validates everything that I’m doing. 

Do you continue writing while on tour?

Casey: I don’t usually have the ability to write full songs all the way. But the notes [app] in my phone is crazy. I have thousands of notes. Any time I have a feeling, or I’m like, “Oh, this could be cool,” I write it down and revisit it later that night. When I get home and go into sessions, I have these ideas, and I know exactly where I was mentally at the time. 

So, I definitely write a lot of ideas there, but I haven’t written a full, full song. And you move so quickly, so there’s not much off-time. And the off-time is usually like, especially in Europe, we were in Paris for that day only. The second we got there, we went to the hotel and changed, got ready, went out for four hours in the torrentially pouring rain, then went to the show, went back, slept, and left early the next morning. So there’s not that much time. 

I wanted to ask about your songwriting process and how that varies. Is every song purely autobiographical? 

Casey: They’re all true stories. For better or for worse, they are. It’s definitely something that I’m really proud of and excited that I’m able to do and that I’m able to be comfortable about what I really go through and my internal feelings. It’s a blessing that I’m able to explain the way I do feel. When I was younger, going through all of the anxiety, I didn’t really have the words to explain what I was feeling. So, it’s really special the fact that I’m able to articulate the way I feel [now] and put it into songs. 

When you release a song, do you have a routine? Do you need to throw your phone away and hide from the world?

Casey: Well, I’ve definitely gotten texts from guys [asking], “Is this song about me?” Sometimes I’ll be like, “I mean, if the shoe fits, wear it.” Every song is ever-so-slightly embellished, but they’re all true stories. It just kind of depends on the song for what the outcome would be. I love to be on my phone and see the fans and go live and see them enjoying it. 

“Ptxd” is such a clever title and such a good hook. When did inspiration for this song strike?

Casey: So this song has actually had quite the rollercoaster. We originally wrote this song in November of last year. I wrote it with Sophie, and this amazing producer, Mike Fatkin, who did my song Never Have I Ever. 

Sophie and I were just talking, and I knew I wanted to write something about dating, and I wanted it upbeat. I’d written a ton of ideas down. I usually go in with [my] top four ideas that I have, and we’ll kind of see which one is the best. And I was like, I just feel like every time I go into a relationship, I think it’s gonna end up the same way. And Sophie was like, “You almost have ptsd from these mean boys,” And then we were both like, “pt-ex-d,”...And we started running with it. 

I started explaining what ‘ptxd’ is and how it left me in the aftermath of what loving this person was like. 

And so, then we wrote the hook, and the hook was so amazing, but the verses weren’t as amazing yet. So we came back and tried to rewrite the verses. Then a couple of weeks later, we were like, “The hook is just so much better,” So we brought in another writer, Alma Goodman. She is such a superstar, and she helped us, and we rewrote the verses and pre and bridge. And now the song is what it is today. 

Casey will be releasing her accompanying music video to “ptxd” on August 16, so stay tuned in order to see her angst-fueled lyrics come to life on a screen. Make sure to stream “ptxd” on all platforms, and give Casey a follow on her Spotify and Instagram to stay up-to-date with any exciting announcements.

Grace Kuraska

For as long as I can remember growing up, music was constantly blasted throughout the house. My parents’ love of music introduced me to pop and rock idols and icons of the past, setting me up for a life of fangirling over a confusing range of artists, from Fleetwood Mac to One Direction (still mourning the loss of the latter). I could spend hours at a time binge listening to albums, and researching new artists. Follow me on insta @gracekuraska.