AUSTIN (KXAN) — Sunday at the Band Aid School of Music in Austin, an aspiring musical artist exhaled deeply, thinking about the significance of releasing his first two singles that afternoon.
“It feels amazing,” he said.
Casey Seven (that’s his stage name) turned 25-years-old on Sunday and for as long as he can remember, he has wanted to be a performer. Seven was diagnosed at age two with Cerebral Palsy, a motor disability. He explained the disorder impacts the left side of his body, making his left arm and leg shorter than his right arm and leg. The disability also causes a delay in his reaction time.
But he explained that Cerebral Palsy hasn’t stunted his ability to perform or create music, thanks to the Band Aid School of Music.
Five years ago, Seven’s mother reached out to the school, so he came in to meet with the team there. Director James Mays describes Band Aid School of Music as the “National Champion Rock Band School” and “part of the inspiration for Richard Linklater’s movie ‘School of Rock.'”
Seven, like many an artist, had created a batch of new ideas during a breakup he experienced in 2014. He brought his songs and lyrics to Band Aid School of Music and the team began the process of perfecting them.
“It’s been great,” Mays explained. “Casey has some limitations physically, but he has the ideas and the concepts and the lyrics and the expression from his heart, so I’ve just been taking his ideas and showing him how to show the light through the darkness and how to put music to them and make them an expression of him.”
Seven said that he can’t play instruments with his left arm and has difficulty with timing, but Mays helps him hit his marks during each song.
Over the past few years, Seven formed a band with Mays called “Never Give In.” The band worked through the songs Seven had brainstormed and recently recorded these initial singles.
“Never Give In” celebrated their new music dropping with a performance on the Band Aid’s “The Pink Stage” on Sunday. Now, those two songs will be available on iTunes, Pandora and Spotify.
Seven describes his band’s style as “hot rock with a message of positivity and hope.” Thirty Seconds to Mars, Andy Biersack and Bring Me the Horizon are all artists who Seven draws inspiration from.
With the newer music Seven is working on, he is taking on responsibility for the lyrics and vocals of the songs while also offering direction for the musical structure of each piece.
Seven says music has been instrumental for him in getting through the most difficult things in his life. He wants some of the lessons he’s learned to come through each time he performs with “Never Give In.”
“The band’s message is to take all the depression and the pain that life can throw at you sometimes and turn that into something that is a positive for your life and use that in a creative capacity,” he said.
Seven hopes that those in his future audiences who see a young man with cerebral palsy making his dreams a reality feel inspired.
“That even if you have hardships or struggles or whatever else in life, if it’s depression, pain, whatever — that even if you have a dream, chase it down, and chase it down until you’ve caught it and just keep going,” he emphasized. “And never let anyone affect your decisions or make you think that you have to stop.”
Though Mays has served as Seven’s teacher at the music school, it’s clear that Seven has taught him some powerful messages along the way. Mays beams as he performs alongside this aspiring rockstar.
“I think Casey is an example of tenacity and courage, I mean, just walking across the room is harder for him than the rest of us,” Mays said, tearing up. “So I think what he has to say is important and I think a lot of people will feel less alone in life with their own hardships by hearing his music.”