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Meet Casey Astorino of ASTRINA in Mid City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Casey Astorino.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Casey. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I first fell in love with music when I was two, the day I picked up my friend’s toy violin. I vividly remember touching the bow to the plastic strings and the beautiful music that erupted from it. I had no idea that it was a toy – I thought I was a prodigy. So I was dismayed when I discovered the truth, but after that day, I got to start piano lessons and learn how to make real music.

When I was a kid, I never sat down with the intention to write music, but after I was done practicing my assigned scales and pieces, I would just make things up. I would stop thinking, relax my gaze, and watch my hands as they seemed to magically dance across the keyboard and make sounds of their own accord. I didn’t even consider it writing until I was eleven and started memorizing the improvisations. I never imagined that I would ever perform my music. It was just something I did for myself.

For years, that was how I wrote music. All of my pieces I just remembered in my head until high school, when I finally started to write the music down. One day, before my choir class, I was playing one of my pieces on the classroom piano when my teacher came in and asked me what I was playing. When she found out it was my own music, she asked me to write a piece for the choir. After that, I started writing music for other ensembles at the school, leading me down the path that landed me in the music composition program at USC’s Thornton School of Music. I planned to continue into the film scoring graduate program and started writing for student films.

Halfway through college, I wrote my first song and my whole life changed. I started to play in bands and learned to play bass and guitar. I started my first artist project with a producer, where I began to learn about production. Eventually, I started producing music for myself, and I spent years honing the skill before I decided to release my first song as a solo artist in 2018.

Since then, I’ve been working every day to be the best artist I can be, and to take this project as far as it can go.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My biggest challenge in my life and consequently, my art is my struggle with mental health. My debut album, “Between the Mirror” (which comes out on October 8th), is all about that struggle.

I’ve been writing songs that fit the concept of this album since 2015 when my bipolar disorder began to manifest. It’s taken me a long time to learn to ride the ups and downs of my condition with grace, and I certainly am not done learning to do so. But for a long time, it was so difficult for me that it was all I could write about. I think finishing this album is representative of me accepting this as part of my journey and of learning to live with it and move on.

Because I’ve grown so much as a producer and songwriter in the past few years, I won’t be releasing a lot of the material I’ve written for this album, particularly the songs about depression. While managing depression is one of the hardest parts of living with bipolar disorder, the highs of mania and hypomania have had a bigger impact on my life overall and on my perspectives as a human. The highs are what have caused me to change significantly as a person, and temporarily being psychotic has certainly made me question the nature of reality.

The album is titled “Between the Mirror” because it is about my changing perspective, and perspective is the only thing that lies between you and a mirror. What you see in yourself and the world determines the way you experience reality. The album art depicts me in white seeing a distorted reflection of me in black. What I am seeing is constantly being distorted by my state of mind, but ultimately there is something constant – I am the same person the whole time, the same constant consciousness going through all these different experiences. I just have to learn to accept what I see and do my best to stay centered.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
I am an artist, performer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. I am most proud of my talent, my hard work, and my vision.

I think my writing process is what sets me apart from other artists. My writing process is very spiritual and meditative. I try to stop thinking and let the words and melodies come to me. I don’t try to sound like anything or anyone, so I feel lucky that my music ends up having a consistent sound. The reason I started making music is that I’m fascinated by the world that sound can create. Writing music takes me out of my body and makes me feel free of reality, and that’s the experience I want to share with my fans and the world. It’s never really been about what the music actually sounds like, it’s more about where the music takes you.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
As a person, I’ve been graced with many fortunes. The world’s biggest gift to me has been my incredibly supportive family. They’ve kept me going through all the ups and downs of my last few years. They support me in every way they can and I am eternally grateful.

I also feel lucky to have gone to a school where I met most of my friends and most of the people I work with. If I moved to LA without that network, I’m sure it would have taken me much longer to find my place in the city. Also, all the people I met there inspired me with their own talent.

My bad luck is having a mental illness, but I also was fortunate enough to get the help I needed, and have now maintained stability for almost two years.

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Image Credit:

Bilal Akhtar, Daniel J. Sliwa, Mathias Fau

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