- July 10, 2017
Growing up, Winter Park-based musician Casey Brents hadn’t considered a future breaking into the music scene.
In fact, he didn’t have a guitar until his parents got one for him at age 16.
Now, you can find him playing gigs around Central Florida at least twice a week. Sometimes, you’ll catch him and his guitar at restaurants in Winter Garden or Winter Park. Other times, he’ll get a call to play in Orlando, Lake Nona and even Daytona.
“I never really even considered it as an option until years and years later, but I always had the personality of an entertainer,” Brents said. “It seems like everywhere I’ve been, there’s always been a huge music scene, and I’d just never been plugged into it.”
Although he had had the thought of doing something with music performance stowed in the back of his mind, he mainly stuck to buying musical equipment and tinkering with it.
But when the Great Recession hit at the end of 2007, the wheels came off. Brent went through bankruptcy and lost his house. Everything he had been trying to do failed.
It was time for a change.
“I went to a couple of open mics,” he said. “The first I ever went to was on May 7, 2009, and I played for 15 minutes, and I bombed it. It was horrible.
“(But), it was super liberating just to be able to run with that crowd, so I kept going back,” he said. “Eventually, I didn’t bomb it, and someone from the Mellow Mushroom or something said, ‘You should come play at the restaurant for $100.’”
While living with a friend after losing the house and learning to live on a tight budget, there wasn’t a great deal of pressure on him to produce music and collect gigs. However, whatever opportunities tossed his way were opportunities he took to heart.
And it’s paid off. After the recession, Brents met his wife, and they now live just outside Winter Park. With more gigs comes more exposure, and he continues to put his talent out there to share with people whenever he gets a phone call.
“My favorite gigs ... to play are wherever people will let me,” he said. “I’m just so fortunate to even be able to do it. Just the idea that I would be able to sing for my supper is just unfathomable. It’s awesome. I would like to be able to own it more in terms of originality.”
“My favorite gigs at the moment to play are wherever people will let me. I’m just so fortunate to even be able to do it.” - Casey Brents
Brents gets much of his inspiration from artists such as Billy Joel, The Beatles and Propagandhi, among others. He enjoys covering songs from popular artists such as John Mayer and Jason Mraz, but his ultimate dream is to be able to make his own music and have it impact others positively.
“The goal is to get really good at writing songs and putting out original content and try to roll that in,” he said. “It’s tough, because I’m not sure exactly what it is that people want. I feel like I’ve always had a tendency toward a ‘thinking man’s’ music — pensive and thoughtful stuff. I like intellectual stuff, and I wonder whether or not there’s any market for that.
“I think there’s real value in that — if you have a spontaneous idea or something seems cool, do it and don’t let yourself think of all the reasons it won’t work,” he said. “You can talk yourself out of all the best ideas you have. I do it because I love to do it, and I’d do it anyway — even if there wasn’t any money in it.”
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected]