Voted Top 10 Mental Health Podcasts for Women in 2022!
June 28, 2022

Singer-Songwriter Casey McQuillen shares her passion for anti-bullying, body positivity, and mental health.


Casey McQuillen, a Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter, activist and powerhouse vocalist, burst onto the scene wowing judges and millions of viewers on Season 13 of American Idol. Since then, the rising star has organically accumulated tens of thousands of followers on social media and millions of views and streams of her music online, largely because her songs are authentic, intimate, and relatable.   

Casey’s first single, Beautiful, debuted globally on ExtraTV in April 2019. Her debut album, Skinny, is set for release on April 29, 2022, from Plymouth Rock Recording. Last August, Casey launched a sneak peak of the forthcoming album with the release of ‘In & Out’, a duet with singer-songwriter, Jon McLaughlin, which found its way onto several major playlists. The song was also spotlighted by Apple Music and Amazon Music and featured on Sirius XM ‘The Pulse’. 

Throughout her career Casey has dedicated herself to the causes of anti-bullying, body positivity, and mental health advocacy. Following “Idol,” she founded the You Matter Tour, an interactive, anti-bullying assembly show that she’s performed for 40,000+ students at over one hundred middle and high schools in the US and Europe. The tour has been recognized by the UN Foundation and GLAAD and featured on The Kelly Clarkson Show.

Casey has toured the US and Europe headlining her own shows and supporting talented singer-songwriters such as James Morrison, Stephen Kellogg, Kate Voegele, Tyler Hilton, Eric Hutchison, Clark Beckham, David Ryan Harris, and Nick Howard. Starting in May, Casey hits the road for concerts in New York City, Los Angeles, Boston and Nashville, then returns to the UK in early October for shows in Edinburgh, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Liverpool, Leicester, and London. For more information, please visit Casey’s official website – www.listentocasey.com.

Connect with Casey: https://listentocasey.com/

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Transcript

Casey McQuillen:

I think for me, the bright side of life has always been those moments where I feel accepted and loved, and included, and safe.

Melissa Bright:

Welcome to The Bright Side of Life, a podcast where people share their personal stories of struggles, pain and grief. But through all of that, they are still able to find the joys in life. Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of the bright side of life. I am your host, Melissa bright. So before I start this episode, I just want to tell you that I am totally aware of some of the audio difficulties that we had in this episode. I wouldn't even say they were auto audio like difficulties, but I, we did recognize that like with Casey's air pods, like sometimes it would be muffled and then other times it was clear, we tried to figure it out so many times and we could just not and I'm not going to scrap a whole great conversation just because we could not figure that part out. So yes, we were aware of it was happening, but it's still an awesome interview. Anyway, enjoy. And one more thing before we get started. You guys will want to stick around after this episode because I am making a huge huge announcement that I think some of you would like to hear. And then there is also going to be another surprise at the end. So be sure to stick around to the very very end of this episode. Okay, let's get into it for today. And today I am talking to the very talented Casey McQuillan. Casey is a singer songwriter and former American Idol star that has throughout her career dedicated herself to the cause of anti bullying, body positivity and mental health advocacy. Following idol she founded the you matter tour and anti bullying concert series She's She's performed for for over 440 1000 students at over 100 schools in the US and Europe. Casey and the tour have been recognized by the UN Foundation and GLAAD and featured on the Kelly Clarkson show. How amazing is that? So before we go any further, Casey, welcome to the show. How are you doing on this wonderful morning.

Casey McQuillen:

I'm doing fabulously. Thank you so much. It's always funny to hear somebody like read your resume, you know, they need to like, well, there's been slapped in years of my life. Here we go.

Melissa Bright:

I know. I know. And it's like, sometimes I'm like, do I read? Do I read everything? Do I not? Yeah, I know exactly how

Casey McQuillen:

it goes. Oh, in the morning, I can use I can use the pump up. I like it.

Melissa Bright:

Exactly. You're like that is my badass list. Oh, yeah, I did all that stuff. I did all that stuff. Oh, when I read your bio, I'm like, that's amazing. That's amazing. So today, I really wanted to talk about you and your own story and your journey, how that inspired you to start writing and singing. But then even more over how you got into being such an advocate for anti bullying, body positivity and mental health. So and then of course, we're going to talk about your new album that has recently dropped in April called Skinny. So why don't you tell me a little bit about your story. I always say little bit. But of course you can go back as far back as you want. And really how you got into not only singing songwriting, but then how you wanted to encompass all this. And you know, if you made the transition later in life. Yeah, I'm gonna leave that up to you. It's a loaded question. I know.

Casey McQuillen:

It's funny, you know, I used to have, I used to have, I guess, like an elevator version of this answer. It was a version of the truth that would be like, you know, how'd you get into sing? It's like, I always said, from a young age. And, you know, I really just feel like music is a connection. And that's all true. And I was in this, like, I was in this hardcore interview once with this, this woman who was helped get like help is helped me, put me on to the Kelly Clarkson show. And so she was, she was like a real, she's a real industry accurate. And she looked right at me. And she was like, I gave I gave some answer like that. And she said to me, she was like, No, I mean, I don't mean like, why do people get to use it? Well, that's why everyone does this. Yeah, she does. And you'll see I'm going to talk a lot. I'm a big talker, do like girls analogies. She had been with me for like an hour. And she said, you know, you strike me as the kind of person that could have done a lot of things. And why did you do? Why don't you do this? Now, why do people do this? Why don't you do this? It was a really good question. And luckily, I'm in a lot of therapy. So I kind of had thought about these things that were just And my main answer to her was I was bullied a lot as a kid for having, I think, a personality that was a little too big. Especially a little too big for girl. I was a little too smart. I got a little too good grades, I was the head of student council, I and I got along with almost everyone, right, but except for the kids who had a lot of social power, and I felt unseen, misunderstood, ignored, made fun of. And I distinctly remember the first time I sang an original song, it was actually from my seventh grade English class, it was a, we had like an assignment to create something. And I decided I was going to learn the guitar, write a song of a formative part of the class. And I remember my English teacher being like, I have to grade you based on like, the parameters you set. So like, I don't want you to set this is a really gigantic parameter. I think my sister for the same thing, like, wrote a poem join me and like, Yeah, I'm gonna do it. Yeah, and my grandfather had passed away in this period of time. And it was very upsetting for me, and I wrote a song about it. And it was the first song I ever performed. And I performed it for my English class. And I'm a very loud singer. And so I after I sang the song, I went into the hallway to put my guitar away. And this kid who always really picks up the you know, when you like, still remember the name of somebody went to middle school with like, that's right. And he I wouldn't say Don't you know how you are. I don't talk about you on the internet. But I came out into the hallway. And he said, that you see in there, and of course, like my little my, all my defenses went out because I was, every time a question like that had been asked me before I was like, I plan was coming. And I was like, yeah. And he was like, wow, that was really good. And you wrote that song. Like, I'm so sorry, grandfather passed away. And it was wild, which shows how dehumanizing my experience with some of the people I went to school with was that experience. So I, when I turned to this woman who asked me this really hardcore question, I said, my, my personality always seemed too big. My feelings seem too strong. My stories seem too much, my voice was too loud. But when I went on stage, societally, I was allowed to be the full version of who I was. I don't have to do myself on stage. And not only that, when I sing the songs I wrote, people then listen. And then they like, see me as a person. Yeah. And I said, I think I got really addicted to being seen as a person. And she went, Well, that's the truth. Okay, moving on. It's like that was like, it was like, that was the true answer. We think if you ask why. I've engaged in so many topics throughout my career, mental health, bullying, and body, body image issues. These are the issues that I've dealt with, personally. And so I have songs about them. And not only do I have songs about them, it really it's been the nexus of why I'm a singer from, from when I wrote my first song. If you say about your pain, we as a society, it's like a bubble when you have a movie, or a song. Or, you know, there's like, for some people, it's paintings, but there's, I think movies and music are the most accessible, easily consumed form of emotional media. Yeah, and when you sing it, people exist in this bubble within the song that they allow themselves to engage with you and engage with the feelings in a way that I've never, I've never succeeded in the same way, having a conversation around the dinner table. I've never succeeded in the same way. But making the posts on social media I never I never have. And so it's not that I go out of my way to write songs about typical topics. It's that I write songs about everything, including the difficult topics. I find that throughout my career, it's the songs about the difficult topics the fact that I'm willing to get up explain why I wrote them how I've been hurt and then sing the song people experience in their conscious mind these feelings they've been having themselves in their subconscious mind for years for the first time and it's really impactful they have that feeling I had in that middle school hallway feeling seen and so that's that's that's, that's again, I talked about this my long answer to a short but I love

Melissa Bright:

it. I love it. I love it. So I want to ask you first when that when that guy boy, however old he was said that to you at that time. Do you remember like, what you were feeling was like your faith in humanity restored for or say or

Casey McQuillen:

no. I guess my experiences with most of all the bullying I witnessed so I, you know, I was I was bullied, I would say like a normal amount. I personally know people who were bullied a lot worse. I was like, bullied by the popular kids and had a lot of friends outside of that and like a very stable sense of identity outside of that experience. And so it, listen, it did, it did leave damage, and I'm like, you know, everyone, and they might not 30s now have to do with what I was picked on at 12 years old. That's how it works, right? But I don't want to come across as as, as wearing the mantle for the worst bullied person in America. That's not what my experience was. When I witnessed through, like the kind of like normal bullying I had, and some more severe bullying that I witnessed through people I love that I talk about my anti bullying program, is I really think that there is a issue with the way that we speak about bullying to parents and students that treats bullying. Like, it's evidence of like the kid being a bad kid. And then like, there are bad kids that bully. And then there are like good kids that don't. That's not been my lived experience at all. Like obviously, I haven't done any, like academic studies on this. But kids, like they say that hurt people hurt people. Right? Like, it's, it's not just for people with the kids, it's like, all children aren't one incredibly self centered. It's biological your, the empathy centers of your brain don't develop until you're older. So like, it's not like a bad kid is self centered. All kids are self centered. It's it's natural, and it's required for their development. Right. So kids are so central, they literally don't experience empathy on the same level that adults do. Right? Like, it's just, it's just true. Sure I was. I was that way other than that way. Yep. And then we also have this narrative that are like bullies that Don't be a bully bullies are bad kids. And then that kid didn't think of himself as a bully. He like literally hacked my am set off of messages to people from me to spit bomb at me at school, I literally, I literally guarantee you, this kid is a good, normal, functioning adult, going to cocktail parties being like, we really need to do something about this bullying epidemic in America. I guarantee it. He did not see himself as part of the problem. Because we other eyes, the concept of bullying, we don't take it in. We don't say, but I have bullied people I have. I don't, I don't know. But I guarantee you I have because people don't remember it. You don't think of yourself that way. And so in this story, the reason that I think it's such a good example is that I sang a song about my life and my pain. And he saw me as a person for the first time. Yeah. So then he treated me like a person. It's not that he was seeing me as a person the whole time, but was ignoring it and treating me poorly. He had never thought about my emotional, internal world at all. And then I sang a song about losing the grandparent and they he'd probably lost a grandparent. He was like, I'm really sorry to hear that. Yeah, this person thinks of themselves. Because he cuz like, I'm not gonna go so far as to say this person is a bad kid. I almost I almost guarantee he's not about it, though. And I wouldn't even say he was a bad kid. What does that mean? Is there's can a child be bad? Is that something that a child could do? I don't think a child can be bad. And so, you know, this, I, I tell the story of my anti bullying program of my little brother was was ill as a child and really believed for it. And I wrote a song about it, that's very meaningful to me and my family very emotional from that time. And as I go to I tell the story of his experience in middle school, and that that is when I'm talking about severe bullying. It was it was unacceptable, how it wasn't normal personality. I'm funny now because I was bullied as a kid. Like you know that as a kid, you know, you're not you have a personality like, I'm a big personality because I was picked on that's not the that's not the level of my brother's picked on it was more severe than that. And I tell this whole story about him and I sing this really emotional song I cry almost every time I sing it. Usually kids in the audience cried it's the it's the heaviest part of my program because it was the part that was really heavy and real. Right? Yeah. And my my brother, you know, is still dealing with this. As I say, I'm still dealing with it to the level I was my severity. Well, he's still here and it was it was the level The history was right. And I tell this whole story to the kids. And you know, these are middle school and high school students might say, like, you know, when I rent, and this is all everything I say is true. I ran into the kids that like, I will never forget them because I wanted to storm into their school and like, pick them up by the dollar and yell at them when I was 15. And he was 11. You know, yeah, I ran into them years later, and a lot of people in my hometown like, know who I am on my music. Yeah. And I ran into these kids. And literally, I kid you not? You're like, I went to school with your brother. He's such a cool kid, man, how's he doing? No memory. Because they weren't waking up every day and being like, you know what I'm gonna do today, I'm gonna ruin his life, I'm gonna make sure he's in therapy. 15 years from now, screw that kid. That's not what happens. But that's the like, movie, PTA experience of what a bully is right? These kids were normal freaking kids, normal kids. Yeah, went to school. felt insecure for a second standing in the hallway. Somebody said something to them, to make them feel insecure. They panic, their identity is being threatened. And remember, they're 12 years old, but don't their brains aren't developed to handle this. Right? They turn and look for the easiest target. And because my son, my brother was sick, he was always the easiest target. So they would look for something an easy target, to shift the attention. They would think of something cruel to say and one second, they would say it and one second. They would feel better. And that's such a dynamic for one second, that they walked away. They did not identify as bullies. They do they do not lose sleep at night. They do they don't remember. And the reason I tell that story in schools, is because none of the kids sitting in that audience think that they are the issue. I'm single one of them does. Because they all are and none of them are. I tell the story. And it's it's a very, it's you can see I get like I get worked up about it. I'm like Unbeliev, it is completely shaped my understanding how we need to approach this issue. Because I think we I never say the word bully once in my entire anti bullying program, because it loses all meaning. It's a word that has no meaning. Because if you go to a parent, and you say my kid bully, your kid bullied my kid, that parent is gonna go through the roof, you just call you their child's a serial murderer. There is it is a black and white thing. Well, it wasn't their fault, because that person said this. And listen, I'll probably be as defensive as my kid and their reputation. I'm not trying to shame. I'm not saying that. It's all very emotionally understandable. Yeah, but I tell that story. And it is a build up in that point to that story. I call it an anti bullying program. It is an empathy building program. It is not an anti bullying program, because that doesn't fucking exist. It's an it's an empathy building program. It's empathy for others as empathy for yourself. The story about my brother is intended to lead you to reflect on your empathy for others. And the stories about me are intended to help you reflect on your empathy for yourself. And so I told this story. And one of the times I tell it, I get this a long time ago, now I got a email from a little like sixth grade girl. Sixth graders write in the most adorable, innocent, little way. Right? She sent me like a 40 line email that like I'm still talking about, like seven years later. She sent me this email. She's like, Hi, Casey, because I give all the kids all my contact information. Yeah. She's like, so school has not been good. Because I have cancer. And none of the kids would sit with me at lunch because they didn't want to catch the cancer. But after you came, everyone asked me to sit with them at lunch, so it's better. Anyway. I was like, right, but think about that story. Her school wasn't full of sociopathic monsters. I lit it we've all been 12 Can't you see how the phrase catch the cancer could go round? Can't you see that? Does that ring a bell with being and it's not that all those kids are evil? It's that they literally forgot to think about her as a person. Literally. We as we approach bullying with children, I think as adults, like we would deal with work place harassment. And but no, it's different. Their brains are different. We need to reassess that kids literally like don't know how to do like literally Teach them how to experience empathy. Yeah. And so anyway, so long story. But I think that that end of that really exemplifies that. Yes, I am, like, deeply proud to my core and like, can sleep at night, because of emails, I get like that, where I'm like, I'm in position, I'm not helping the world. I need to drink Greenpeace, like all these things. And then I'm like, You know what, maybe this is my skill. Right? And it's, it's for that girl, right? Yeah. He might not be in as much therapy. Now, 10 years later, yes, she would have been if I hadn't gone to the school I, I take, I take like a deep breath and also be going to school. Also my brother being brave enough to let me share his story. Also, these administrators having the foresight to book me so like, it's everybody coming together and valuing this type of work, right? Yeah. It's awesome. Those kids are going to vowed value, that is a reflection point. And maybe half the students, it just became uncool to say, catch the cancer, and they stopped, right. But at least the other half of the kids have like a moment of reflection, where they're like, Oh, my God, I can sing to this girl. Right. Right. And I really think that this if I, if that's that would be my lived experience having been around so many children is that we just need to focus on on empathy building, I think I think we underestimate how little kids in that phase of their life.

Melissa Bright:

That is, like, literally, you just made me look at it totally differently. With you telling that story. And it makes such sense. Like it totally does. And I'm like trying, because so I was the person. And literally, this is why I have my podcast because I found my purpose. 20 No, how old? Am I 35 years later? And I'm like, What am I good at? What am I good at. And I'm like, I'm really good at having conversations with people. Like even when I was a little kid, I hated anybody that felt left out. Anybody, if they look different if they had some kind of disability if they weren't in the popular crowd, I absolutely hated for them to feel left out. I like and I think that stems from seeing my brother being treated badly by my dad and I had such great empathy for my brother. That if I saw it from anybody else in school, I'm like, Who the fuck are you to be like that person to this person. Like, I just don't didn't understand it. So I feel like I was super empathetic. But probably it wasn't like I was consciously just all the time, you know, walking around being like, well, like, I really, really care for him. But I just remembered that being a part of me. But you're so right, that it might not be

Casey McQuillen:

you were probably less empathetic than you are now. Oh, I think like empathy. And that skill is like I also, I was picked on a lot because I stood up for the kids that were getting like, absolutely bodied every day. At school, I had some pretty bad like pretty bad bullies at my school. And I would just intervene. And the only way I didn't have the skills at 10. To know what to do, I just would shift the negative emotion onto me so they can get away. That was the only skill I had. And I look back on it with cried. But I look back at it as an adult, I feel so bad for myself. I know that sounds like I look at myself as a child. This is like therapy. I'm like, it's helping me. But I look at myself as a child. And I just feel so bad for myself. I had to do that all by myself. It hurt. I did it. And I'm proud that I did it. But it doesn't mean I wasn't super damaged by doing it constantly. I was right. And, you know, I have received messages from people who I went to middle school with, who thanked me for how I was. But I guarantee you, I guarantee you, I guarantee you there's at least one person in the world who thinks it's ironic that I am an anti bullying person. I bet you I said one thing to one person one time or five things to five different people over five years. Those people were like Casey McQuillan talking about and those people would be right to like, that's my point. Like, I mean, we all have those like three things we said in high school that just like ran a little round our brain. I could tell you them you know what I mean? Yeah, there were there were others. I wasn't paying attention. I wasn't thinking and so that's kind of my point is like I think I've been in this is my work, right? Like this is I literally write songs about feelings. And I'm like, I'm like a really empathetic person on that

Melissa Bright:

scale. Yeah.

Casey McQuillen:

I guarantee you, there is a text thread. That's the case, even gorilla doesn't stop talking about bullying, right? Like, I guarantee you and I apologized to that person, like I would take complete because that has been my experiences. Every single person on earth has said, everyone has said and done things. And some were intentional. That's also the it's not always by accident, right? Sometimes you were in, or sometimes you need to step in, I remember there was this one kid at my school man. And he, I now understand was autistic. We did not have the education around different types of people that now kids have, sure. But he was such a good kid, man. And people were so brutal to him. And I just knew that he didn't have the tools to properly navigate being bullied, like, right. And I would stand that I would I would intervene on his behalf. A lot. Yeah. And I have the but the clearest memory I have is one time this is like my school was kind of rough. We were out in like the school yard at lunch. And all the kids were in a circle. And they were like, making him like dance. And the thing is, I could see he likes to dance, right? Yeah. But we people weren't laughing with him. They were laughing at him. And he could feel it, but was confused. Because remember, we're 12 and he was like autistic. And I remember being on the outside of the circle. And I had I had just been really picked on for pick standing up for him like the day before. And I mean, like, you know, I would get like, the whole school would call me in an insulting name or like, just we it was tough stuff. It wasn't easy. Like it was hard. It was not easy. Yeah. Like, it was. It was not it was like it was it was hard. The thing is I had a really strong sensitive identity. So I would, I was okay, but it was really awful. And I and I remember this one time, everyone was standing on the edge, and he was being bullied, but he didn't really understand he was but he did though. Like I could see I could feel it. Yes. And I didn't have it in me to walk into a group of like, 70 kids, and be like, the Fun Police. It's here, the Fun Police is here, everybody go home. And I would go I'm gonna get the principal. If you don't stop, I'm gonna get the principal. And it would be like, okay, see? Right. And I would be like, Yeah, that's me. I'm the worst. And that's what I would do what I literally have the clearest, my clearest memory is the the one time I didn't, I couldn't do it. I just, I had this thought that I was like if I do this, but they already spit on me when I walked down the hallway, like what's going to happen to me? And I was 11 I didn't know I didn't have we didn't have the training and school that I should have gone to get a teacher and have them and to me, I didn't know. And also the teachers weren't the best back then man. Not all of them were your ally in these situations. Right? That's what I mean that like, life is complicated. It's hard to be 12 for kids, and so we got to give them these resources on, you know, when you're in this, how that's what I say when I say I look at myself with empathy. I told that story to my therapist was like, shame that I was like a bad kid because I hadn't intervened. Yeah. And he refused. He was like, That's really sad that you were living your soul to having to make that decision. Right. Right. What about the other 69 kids in that circle? to 70 kids? I was always, you know, it was always me because it was always me. So then why would anyone else do it? Because I was always doing it. And they saw what happened to me when I did it. So I was

Melissa Bright:

like, I'm out. No.

Casey McQuillen:

So it's tough, you know? Yeah. And then social media as this horrible aspect to it. I think that's why I really was I survived that experience. Not unscarred because like, I'm still getting upset talking about this, like, it's obviously still sparring. But I went home and was left alone. I went home and went to soccer camp, separate, I went home and did the play down the street. i or i the i left the school and did and then I was with my like theater brigade and like no one picked on me right? Before and, and kids literally can't escape. They can't escape. Yeah, and the most popular kids that social capital was translated into numbers. They have more like followers, they have more views, and they have more power. It's it's it's really difficult. But at the same time when you don't allow your, your child after a certain age to engage with social media at all. Yeah, I think it's a form of I would go so far as to say, I think it's a form of gaslighting. When you tell your child with no explanation, you can't have Instagram because I say so. And they're like 14, right? We're telling them that their experience with reality is not valid. Or like it's important. They're like, well, I say it's not. It was I didn't need Instagram when I was your age. Why do you? Well, that's my mom when I was in high school, my mom didn't believe in texting. She's a little bit of a what's that word? I'll let it let I never even heard of that. It's a Luddite. It's like a it's like a it's like a it comes from a form of Protestantism. Okay, something where like, they didn't believe in technology. Because like, you're a Luddite, if you like, resist technology. I'm always a little bit of a Luddite. She would hate that. I said that on podcasts, but it's so true. She was like this post, like, careful, like, digital cameras or face. I'm not going to do that. Why would anyone do that. And now, you know, iPhone two needs an iPhone. And similarly, she did not believe in texting. She did not believe in it. I'm not that old. I was in high school without texting. Like, I cannot describe to you how I was the only student on the entire campus that did not have texting 100%, the only student on the entire campus. And I literally got dumped via text and didn't know. He texted me and then I never got it. And he thought I was just like DHL, because I was like, so young. I was and I'd be like, I was like, you know, I was going, I was going through the school dances. And so I'd be like, wait, and I was all excited. And then I literally heard this other girl this girl locker room talking about like, she was so excited to go there that I was like,

Melissa Bright:

Oh, my God.

Casey McQuillen:

Oh, in that sense, right. I came home I was like you my life right to my mom, but like that you ruined by like, didn't like her blind insistence that texting was not necessary, completely invalidated. Me and my siblings lived experience that like she wasn't taking into account that it was so standardized that it would, society wasn't going to adjust to include me, right? I was excluded now. Yeah. And when you tell a 15 year old girl, Oh, you don't need a smartphone. Society is not going to adjust to. And that would be the same as your parents saying you when you were in the in the 80s you can have to wear you have to wear skirt to your ankles and things to your knees and do this every day. Every day. I don't care if that's how we did in my day. Why do you need it said Well, I'm gonna look different. I'm going to be left out. This isn't how people might do things. And, and so I'm not saying that all parents should allow their kids as social medias. And I think it's a very important place where it shouldn't just

Melissa Bright:

be because I said so. Yeah, you have a conversation, and they're gonna yell

Casey McQuillen:

and they're gonna disagree with you. But, and they're not gonna like, I'm not saying you're gonna convince your child that you're right. They're never gonna agree with you. But I think it's really important. Even if that's not your stance, your normal parenting style, right? Really important if you are limiting students access to their online social life. Yeah. You give them the same respect. And like recognition of their existence being real. And you really need to explain, I understand how important this is. I'm valuing other things on top of this, and I know and this this was my thought process here. Yeah, we're kids are gonna it's like, yeah, anyway, it's like my little pedestal and I'm sure a bunch of parents are like, this girl doesn't have a kid. She can't talk and that's fair. That's a fair. That that's my that's my thought without having Gilbert's.

Melissa Bright:

I think well, because I have a 19 year old daughter. How old are you? No, I have a 20 year old she just turned 20 It's exciting. I'm 29. Okay, you're 29 Okay, so we're like, I'm 36 No, yes. 36 I'll be 37 Okay, so I was like, holy shit. For some reason. I was thinking you were younger. And I'm like, this girl knows a lot for being but sort of my dog.

Casey McQuillen:

Because I'm so just youthful and glowing. It's because all the money I spend on skincare is worth it. I know it's for that great lighting set up right on my room to make me look younger than I am. Well, I

Melissa Bright:

You could have said 21 And I would have believed you because I like I saw somewhere on the internet. Maybe I saw something like when you were on American Idol. You were younger? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, so, um, I, my daughter is 20 now. And so we totally went through the phase of Instagram and everything. And I will say being a parent. I did the same thing of like, I didn't want her on Instagram. Snapchat, she didn't have a phone I think until she was 16 because she like she had she had done some stuff like yeah, to kind

Casey McQuillen:

of reset boundaries. Yeah, but I

Melissa Bright:

will be the first parent to admit that not all My reasonings were right in okay. Oh, like, you can't have Instagram just because I said so. And I'm the parent. And that's the end of it. And you should have no say like, I'm, I can be learning at the same time that my child is also learning and also like, admit that like, oh, maybe this wasn't the best tactic like maybe, you know, not that she was like, mad at me. Don't worry. She had plenty of other Instagrams I didn't know about.

Casey McQuillen:

Exactly. Right away. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Melissa Bright:

No important

Casey McQuillen:

to them. Yeah, they will find a way to do it. And again, like, I'm not, it is that is a complicated question whether it has to have your what when media like because social media is damaging, but it is a reality of our existence. And it is complicated to ban somebody from it's it's like if your parents had said, you cannot see anyone on the weekends, never. I don't I don't care the situation weekends as a family. You'd be like, well, Susie's barbecue is like, No, I want to date this guy. No. Weekends are for family. What did I say? I'm the parent, it would have been devastating, you would have snuck out?

Melissa Bright:

Oh, well, let me tell you my story. Let me tell you my story. So my mom came to me I was 15 years old. And I was dating the guy, the my first super serious boyfriend in high school. And we were dating for like three months. And my mom decided to come and have the birth control talk with us. And she's like, I just if you guys are having sex, I just want to get you on birth control, blah, blah, blah. And in that moment, I'm like, I am not telling my my my mom I'm having sex with him. Because then she's not ever gonna let me see him. She's gonna be like, you're out the door. Don't ever go see him again. So I lied straight to her face. And then I wound up pregnant.

Casey McQuillen:

Oh, that's so difficult. When you feel like that was amongst the first time your mother had opened that door? That you didn't trust her? Because the conversation is started then. There'd been no. There'd been no talk about like your body. Your choice kind of up until then.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. I mean, she. She had a bad childhood. So we had kind of talked about stuff before? Um, yeah, that's a good question. I'm trying to think

Casey McQuillen:

hard. Because what if you thought it was there? If you thought I was 13 and came to you? And said, I want to go on birth control. I'm having sex. You'd be like, You can't do that anymore. Like, so it's complicated. But where do you draw the line? I listen, I don't it's really easy from my glass house.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, I know. And there's no like, that's what I don't want it to be as like black and white. Like, everybody has their choice and opinions on what works best for their family. But it is best to hear options. And to hear stuff because like, you're right, you want to hear like maybe you don't hear from your child. But you hear from another child being like, it's really bad, like this boy is getting picked on because he doesn't have Instagram, or he doesn't even know all this stuff. Because he doesn't have it like maybe your

Casey McQuillen:

style of I've noticed that every school has its own culture really fascinating. When you go into a middle school, it's like you enter this world and get kids are really self centered. And so their world is their world. And that's what exists. Even with social media, it's still is really close with the people you're around, you know. Yeah. And what I hear from students a lot is like, they know what bullying is, and adults don't believe them. So it'll be like, well, Sarah posted a photo of all of us and I'm the only one she didn't tack. And like it, this is the eighth time this has happened. And I and you go to your your mom, you know, I'm so upset. Like I don't want to go Sarah's birthday party. i She is like, No, I'm sure it must have been a mistake. And it's like, your kids gut instinct about whether you're being picked on is correct. It's like always write because it means different things like my my age, I literally wouldn't even think to notice. But it's like if your daughter comes to you and it's like well Sara always comments like, oh my god, Betsy, love it on their stuff, and then just comments, the fire emoji on yours. At some schools, that might mean nothing. And at some at her school, it might mean everything. Yeah, so like we need to, again, it's this like believing children that believe them. Yeah, we've that when they say that they're hurting. They're experiencing it as pain. Yeah. And so you just say, Oh, no, I'm sure they didn't mean it. You know, when like, you talk to a guy, and you're like, oh my god, that girl said that I had cute shoes and the way she said it. Oh my god, she hates me. I don't want to go to this party. And he's like, I'm sure She's like, I just like, boy, I really have girlfriends. Like, I just have guy friends. Like, I don't like that. She's like, No, she's so cool. What are you talking about? You're like, I can't talk to you about this. I mean, like, into honest, it's like, there's the there's like, you know, there's sometimes a gender divide on like, what we experience? Like social. The social rules.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Casey McQuillen:

It's generational. Yeah. And the things, things that I would not consider to be hurtful, somebody who's 16 might really, really, really be bothered by,

Melissa Bright:

right. And if they don't know how to communicate that because then you have to be vulnerable, like, you can't come out and say, Mom, I'm actually really scared that I'm not gonna have any friends. Or I'm actually really scared or I'm sad, or my feelings are hurt, because, well, it seems like she likes Sarah, way more. Do you know how hard that is to like for somebody to say that my feelings are hurt, or I'm scared to be rejected by these people? You don't come out and say that. So you come out and say it a different way that parents might not pick up on?

Casey McQuillen:

Right. And also like, Yeah, I think it's just tough because like their 13 year olds aren't the most like, logical, reasonable people.

Melissa Bright:

And yeah, right. So they might not even realize it. But

Casey McQuillen:

I do remember some times that like, I really got into it with my parents. Yeah. And I do remember the times that they explained their reasoning, even if I didn't understand it, and the times that they didn't. Yeah, it's interesting. So. So yeah, I kind of just feel like the definition of social exclusion changes, like every day. Yeah. And it changes in these micro ways that if we go into the situation as adults being liberal, we're adults. So we know best. Of course, we're adults. So we have a better ability to like, analyze and see the long term effects of opportunities, like opportunities and things. But we probably we don't have all the information. I think we gotta be open to the fact that our children, and students might have more information than we do. And we actually want that information from them. Because no, people are banding their kids with just me because I'm trying to protect their children. Yeah. So my mother, it's like, just call people. I'm like, I'm not gonna call people call people. Right? It was like, right. And so she's a guy called people. And she didn't take the time to really listen to like, my reasoning of why I wouldn't call somebody how that would be, like considered rude, and invasive in my social circles to call someone would be rude. And I'm not saying I probably wouldn't have changed her mind. But that was important information for her to have. Yeah, that's right, that I was unwilling to do that. No, because I was shy. I was unwilling to do that, because of the socially unacceptable.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. Oh, my gosh, we could talk forever about this, like, literally. So my last question around this, or do you still do that tour or no?

Casey McQuillen:

So I've been, the tour has been on a bit of a hiatus for shows. And if I'm being fully Frank, they were incredibly draining for me. The show is actually like 70% talking. And I found it incredibly difficult to do with no feedback. Because you have to meet the kids, right? And so I was just, it's my show was very conversational. I go out of my way to make it not sound rehearsed. Yeah. And so it's incredibly difficult to have an hour long conversation with no input. It's just really hard. Yeah. And I did some and I, to be able to kids, like I was really drained from it I, I was walking away not being fulfilled and connected. I was feeling really isolated and like depressed, endemic, that'd be nice. For my mental for my mental health, I stopped doing them. And also I felt so those were shows that like I was gonna do in person, and we rescheduled them to be online at the very first time. I felt incredibly uncomfortable reaching out to schools during this complicated time. Yeah, they get so and I just couldn't do it. I couldn't bring myself like harass an administrator who was trying to figure out what to do. Right. I just couldn't do it. So I am planning fall 2023. I will be back. So if anybody's interested in hearing more about my program, my website is listened to Casey, and my name is CSA. Why? Listen to Casey, and there's a whole tab on it on bullying prevention. And you can see the clip on the on the cartoon show, you can see a sizzle reel of the program. And I do actually have recorded versions of my entire program that I will send to administrators and stuff if they want to take take a look. And I would love to compete with suppose I'm really excited to get back in I miss. I miss kids. It's been so long, so I can't wait because if you're a CSR, I played it. I used to defend it. I was like doing it all the time. But it was sad to not so really exciting to go back. And I actually have a few songs that I'm going to be adding to my program from my upcoming album, what my album that just came out that deal with my album is called skinny. And as you can tell, I'm the lunch she was Lady, curvy lady, and ironically, very ironically, named my eldest. But I wrote a song, actually at the pandemic ended. That was about my first night out at the bars, and I gained weight during the pandemic. And so, because I gave it during the pandemic, my social experience of having gained weight was actually very drastic, I went from being perceived ascend to being perceived as not fun, overnight, in a way socially, because I had gained the weight during the pandemic, which I actually think this is fair for a lot of people ask for the pandemic. And so, but as someone who went from a size eight to a size 12, I found that like, that's the cut off of whether you're considered thin or not. And so my experience in life in has really is just very different as a mid, mid size person, I, you know, I, that's the way the way I think of myself, because I don't, I don't experience a lot of the fatphobia that people in larger bodies and mind do experience, my sister and I have a phrase, we call it fit and passing. I'm pretty thin on top. And so I think I still benefit from a lot of social, a lot of the social graces that are afforded to thin people in our society. I'm also like white and conventionally attractive and young. And so you know, there's, it's, it's compounding this experience. But so I wrote this song called Skinny about my first night at the bar. And, you know, I was obviously being treated differently by other people. But I think much more problematically, I was treating myself differently and said, No. And I had a very, in some ways, upsetting night, I didn't really have fun. I was picturing in my mind. All the fun I would be having if I was still thin. But I wasn't present. I was with my fin girlfriends, who were running around the bar. And then there was all these men, how many drinks can they get, like, you know, like, they couldn't drink all the drinks that were being bought for them. And I was walking up to guys and they shot down and shutdown, shutdown, shutdown, shutdown. I tell you, that wasn't my experience when I was 30 pounds lighter. And so it was really upsetting. And so I wrote this song. It's, it's, it's, it's the song that comes before, you know, I wrote I wrote the song. This is the song I listened to before I go turn on the zone. It's like, if I need a pump up to him, it's because I need pumping up. Yeah, right. I wrote a song about the My honest experience of that. It's sometimes really hard to be the fat friend. And I'm not desensitized to it because I haven't always been fat. And so it's, I'm really seeing it like very clearly like the the experience was so jarring going from being thin to being not thin, overt, in some ways, socially overnight. And so I've been called skinny. And it's been a really some ways emotionally challenging song, you know, I named an album skinny. And then as a not fit person had to figure out how to shoot an album cover. Skinny, and I really wanted my body to be the focal point of the album work. Because I could have just done a picture paper of my pretty face and ignored it. That's not the point of the song, the point of the song as I can't ignore the body I have. So anyway, so I'm gonna incorporate that song into my school programs. And I also have a song on the album, called can heart go bad, which is a song I wrote about my struggle with mental health, and actually wrote the song based in what it was like to be 12 and I did not have the language to describe what a panic attack is, what an anxiety disorder is. And so I just really internalized it that I must be a bad person. If I'm having these outbursts and other lists, I was raised in like an Irish Catholic family. So it's like, if you do bad things, you're a bad person. Like it's like a pretty there's like, the guilt machine is pretty hard. And so the, you know, my family's To be honest, my society, my, my, my people's way of dealing with that behavior is like shaming you until you change. And the truth is, is that you can't change somebody as a mental health disorder. And so I am a good kid, I was a good kid. And so I tried to share my my parents shame me, and then I tried to shame myself more. Why isn't this working? And so my song I'll kind of talk about is is very meaningful to me. It's very challenging to sing and play and but it's been it's been incredibly moving. So I'm looking forward to to continuing the amount of tour anatomies because it's notes for my album that are a little bit a little bit closer to home as of who I am now, as well as the stuff I wrote when I was when I was in middle school in high school.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, I love that. And also, I don't know if you know yet, Casey, but I have access to your song. I've been given access. And I sent I sent the active thing. Okay, good. Good, good. Good, because that song skinny is going to be played at the end of this episode. So you guys will want to stick around to listen to that song. So I think it is beautiful. So beautiful. And now that I

Casey McQuillen:

recommend waterproof mascara, yeah.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So I had a similar experience. And you can't tell from like where I'm sitting now. So I'm six feet tall. I have always had, I've always been skinny. But I will preface that after I had my like, when before I had my daughter had her I was 16. But I was six feet when I was 16. So I was 130 pounds, like looked probably disgusting. Now through the pandemic in 2019, I worked my ass off and I lost like 20 pounds pandemic, I gained it all back. And I started getting like really self conscious. Well, I had a similar experience to you. But I went to a wedding back in March with my for my boyfriend's brother's wedding. My whole the whole wedding was ruined because I hated the way that I looked. And I was so mad at myself after the wedding that I spent all that time like in my head being upset. I did not dance, which is not like me. So then we went to Mexico three weeks after that, and I said Melissa, you are not ruining another trip. You're not You're gonna just put on your swimsuit, and you're gonna have fun and you're not gonna freakin care. And so I at least kept that promise to myself in Mexico, because of how bad it was for those freakin seven hours that I was just miserable. And I'm like, No, I can love myself. Anytime, no matter 10 pounds lighter, 20 pounds heavier, whatever. But I say all that just to know like how mentally consuming it can be.

Casey McQuillen:

Yeah, and I think I think I have always experienced these issues in the gradients. So like, I have never been able to flip a switch and be like today, I'm not going to be insecure about my body. I've decided that that's not something that aligns with my values. I'm not going to be insecure today. That hasn't been my experience. Right? I have I can force myself to do things and continue to participate. But I can't force myself to not feel uncomfortable while doing it. Now exposure and continually doing it will hopefully make me feel less uncomfortable. Yeah, but I you know, I put on this giant tour in the UK with an artist named James Morrison this fall. It was awesome. Although this spring, and you know, I am on stage. For example, I have to get all these like shiny sparkly outfits to play these giant concert halls. You know how hard it is to find shiny sparkly outfits when your size 1214 It's not easy. They don't make them. They don't they really like don't exist like on the whole internet. They don't really exist. When you have big boobs and you need to you need to wear a bra because you're on stage and for 3000 people they're designed for cute little perky 20 year olds without an ounce of cellulite. Who don't need anything to be hoisted up anywhere and I spent months I don't have I also can't shop in stores. Yeah, so these are like these things that like my friends are like oh my god no just like Don't be insecure. So I can't I can't go into a store. They don't make things in my size. Where the company does make things in my size but they don't they don't hold them in the store like I went to London they lost my luggage for a week at a very difficult time. I included they don't make they make it but not in my it's not in my size in the store. I went to stores where actually own clothing. I was like I'll just go to Abercrombie and get what I already own. They don't they don't have another store you know and so I spent months ordering close to this James Morrison tour. I get it tailored because clothes is not the clothes is not designed to fit my body type. They just make thin people clothes and just expand them out which is not how fat then sits on a woman's body so it doesn't fit you. And I ended up with a bunch of looks that were great. Right? And so I got on stage every night as like a mid sized person saying sounds about being thinness. And I was dressed to the nines I looked sick, right? Yeah. All these girls who are heavy themselves will come up to me crying after the show how validated they felt to hear me say The song but also how relevant they felt to hear me sing the song. Someone they had been looking after the show being like, this girl's so hot. This girl so confident. This girl's so talented. And then I'm like, This is how I feel about myself sometimes. Right? Right. And what's not shown in that is the numerous nights I cried to my sister. None of the clothes fit me. What am I going to wear? What am I going to do? Why did this happen? And then the guilt? Why did I eat so much? Why am I so fucking fat? Now? Why can't I wear this? And then the guilt? Oh my God, I'm such a bad feminist. The problems not me the problems the clothes like, it's a horrible cycle, right? I feel guilty for being fat. Like, you'll feel guilty for feeling guilty that I feel fat. I want to wear clothes that make me feel confident the clothes don't exist. I feel guilty that the clothes don't fit. It's this horrible cycle. And so it's really easy to tell people just feel confident. And I think it's really complicated. And I think that's what I'm talking about with like, all almost all women experience the pressure to feel fit. Yeah, I found as I've gone up in sizes, there is a tipping point on when just pull yourself up by your bootstraps become less possible, because they don't make European plane seats that fit some people. You know, I did that. Take our sir Remy Bader, like she tried to go on the revolve the tree and go horseback riding, they wouldn't let her on a horse at giant men on horses, but she was too fat to be on the horse. Right? Oh, just by popping in clothes, you're going on tour where whatever you want, they don't make it in my socks. And so when girls are resized for and they were size zero, and they go, you know, I just wasn't feeling myself. But I decided that I love myself. I love that. And I'm not saying that they weren't insecure, is so messed up to truly towards offering ourselves to our 16 year old bodies that had no that was literally hormones hadn't finished adjusting, trying to get back to a literal head of feel like body type that is being portrayed in the media as ideal. And but the difference is when I went from a size two to a size six, between going from a size eight to a size 12. And I'm sure it's even more pronounced when you go from one side to 18 to size 22 is that it's not fully in my control anymore. Whether I went to it, this is an American story, but I went to a Thanksgiving dinner at a really fancy restaurant with my family. And they went to like fit the five of us with a four person table. So they brought out these like really, really, really like tight chairs. They're gonna delete the smallest little like, chairs. They had these really high thing. Yeah, I went to sit in it. And I was like, Can I swear on this? Yep, we already have. I have a fat ass right. So I carry all my weight and my bottom. Yeah, I actually thought I looked great. I had planned my outfit. So I feel really confident. I was in Vegas. I was feeling myself. Yeah. And I, I the first time I like to expect I'm gonna cry. I had like, Girl experience where I like couldn't sit in the chair like I could, but it wasn't comfortable. Right? And it was so upsetting. Right? And, you know, I take like, like, the whole thing of like, eating disorder and all that stuff. So seriously. And I was sitting here and I was like, you have to you have to order food. You have to order food. Don't you can't know what that is. That is that is implying that I'm the problem. But I literally sat there and like it was it was it was difficult to eat because I was so insecure and so uncomfortable. Right? And my family, what does my family do at that point? Yeah, do we insist we move? Because Casey's so fat? She can't fucking like what a. So what I did, it was actually it was a phenomenal dinner. It was so good. It was really nice to the restaurant, right? And so what I did was I called the manager the next day and I said, I had a fantastic experience. I said, What if What if you are planning on putting a party in these chairs, you need to inquire if there's anybody who would not fit in smaller than average seating. Because I thought to myself, it was a very Shame, shame generating experience for me. Again, I did. I also have been passing and have a lot of privilege and am perceived as beautiful by a lot of society. And so it is less humiliating for me to walk in and speak to the manager with that because he looks at me and goes, you didn't fit in the chairs. Right? Yeah. And it's like, yeah, no, I'm like I'm a size 12 on the bottom and like your chairs do not fit that and that is the average size of women in America to size 12. And I decided to take on that pain, maybe a theme of my life to bring this up in my therapist room. But I decided to take on that pain to try to try to protect someone who might be a business owner and their size 20 And they didn't come close to fitting in the chair, and then the whole party has to move. Because they couldn't. How humiliating would that be? Right? And so as much as when you go from a size four to an eight, it's upsetting. There is a limit to what society will last. And you have to have an identity that is so strong, that it can stand up to society. I literally said to my mom, it's like they just told me people like we don't belong here. Yeah. Because we're in a fancy, really expensive restaurant, and they don't want saddles here. That's what I feel like I was just told, yeah, because like, because here's the thing as I was, that is what I was told, I wasn't projecting that that was a way insecurity. That's what they told me. But making cancer not everybody can get it. We're not gonna beat the average person can't fit in, they're implying. Well, you have to be 20 here. Yeah. And so and I go on interviews in LA, and beautiful, blonde. TV hosts go, just You're so brave. And I started going, like, What do you mean? Oh, because I'm like, on TV and not, then yeah, I'm not gonna watch this interview later, because it's gonna bother me how my stomach looks sitting on this couch. So you're correct. I am brave. But it's like, it's

Melissa Bright:

so amazing. People are amazing.

Casey McQuillen:

So that's the thing is, I've learned that like, the body positive movement, which was started by people with very large, societally accepted bodies. It has gained general acceptance, which is great. But when the most viewed tic TOCs, on body positivity are girls who are size two, and they're like, see, when I bend over, I'd roll and everyone's like, You're so strong. And it's blocking out video of the creator who's actually in a body that like, when somebody sits next to them on an aeroplane they go. And they have to deal with that in their daily life, right? It's this, the body positivity movement was started to accept your body that society is actively consciously rejecting not to be like, I have a pimple today, but I'm still gonna go outside. And it's great that everyone is getting confidence from this movement. But we need to make sure to not drown out the voices of people. And this is like, some people might say that as a mid size woman who only had her first experience of not fitting in a chair, I shouldn't be speaking about this. You know what I mean? Like, there's people out there who say, I'm too thin to talk about these subjects. I do think it's really important that and to recognize that all of these issues, like even the bullying stuff, and all this stuff, it's a little bit more complicated than dusting ourselves off. It's a societal problem. And hopefully, by you and I talking about it, and people in the media and just being loud, that I went out and doing things like walking into the statehouse and saying it's unacceptable that I had this experience, please, please change. I'm not going to lose weight, you make maybe her tears, or at least fucking warn me that you're going to put me in a chair. Right? As you can. I told you, I'd warn you. It's okay.

Melissa Bright:

It's okay. I love it. I love it. And I'm learning so much. I was gonna, one thing I did want to comment on was about the switch. Like when you said like, you can't turn off the switch. I normally can't turn off this switch. I I mean, I am becoming a life coach to coach people because I've been on this huge healing journey for the last two years after I've lost both of my parents and just other like trauma and stuff. And I want to make sure that like, I never just say those words like well just just be more confident or just do that. Like that is so n productive. Like it's not even funny. So when I say I was able to switch it off i i was for that like trip, but that doesn't mean it hasn't like came back it's came back. And like I can't even deny that. But I think I just

Casey McQuillen:

limited to six feet tall. Like that's, that's that's not society's, they're not expecting you to be six feet up.

Melissa Bright:

No, no, no. You go

Casey McQuillen:

to bars and go up to men and ask them how tall they are. And then they're going to lie and say six feet and then you go back to back and be like No, no, because that's what I would do every day about six feet tall. But like it's being six feet tall. You're going through middle school towering Oh yes.

Melissa Bright:

Oh yes.

Casey McQuillen:

You are expected to not wear heels because it makes people uncomfortable. You have men avoiding dating you because they don't want to feel and like arts violate our society's obsession with women being small is actually a reflection that we need to make. Men need to be manly with. We've defined manliness for men, as they've been strong. And therefore if you are bigger than a man, you are emasculating him. Yeah. And that comes back to weight and height. And so it's all about like, When are like, oh, oh, you know, when there's no such thing as you know, the patriarchy, I'm expected to be tall. And it's like, that's the patriarchy. Yeah. Make your arguments everybody. Yeah. And I, you know, I would assume that being tall, that is a gradual form of self acceptance, that it's the, it's not you put on four inch heels day one, to walk into a wedding because everybody can suck it because you're probably takes a lot of practice.

Melissa Bright:

So a couple things in middle school, I always felt that guys didn't think I was cute, because I was so much taller than them. So that always bothered me, then being older, like, I don't wear as much like heels now like big heels now, because I'm fucking 36. And I can like, I'm gonna have to drinks and like break my ankle. But when I did, it was always a conscious decision. The conscious decision was Melissa, do you want all the attention that it is going to bring with you wearing these heels? Because it is like it is a lot if I would walk into a bar and I'm six foot three. And it every man would walk over to me and say, Did you play basketball? I bet your parents are tall. And girls did it too. But it was just so I'm like, if I wasn't like wanting to be that Miss outgoing person not wearing the heels. I can't deal with the I don't want the the attention at this moment.

Casey McQuillen:

And because Exactly. And you can say over and over that like, oh, people should just leave me alone and not be insecure. But like that's not going to be your your experience in reality. Right? Yeah, right.

Melissa Bright:

Exactly. Exactly. Okay, what have we left out? What have we not talked about? We've talked about your album, we've talked about trying to get to my questions. Is there anything else that you want to that we have left out that you want to talk about? Besides obviously, where people can go and listen to your music, and all that fun stuff.

Casey McQuillen:

If any of you have any listeners in the UK, I have a bunch of shows coming up in the UK. In the fall, I'm going to be playing five different shows all over the UK. To some of the people that I met on the James Morrison tour, it's gonna be really fun. I'm really excited. And I promise I will dig more and talk less than I did in this broadcast on those shows, but come see me and you can get tickets on my website. Again, my websites listen to casey.com. And all my handles on social media are listened to Casey because as you know, you asked me to pronounce my last name. It's not easy to spell. So my handles are listened to Casey. But you can find me on Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Amazon Music Under casement Berlin. And make sure to go check out my album, I would love to see and hear you guys and I'm on all the socials, all the socials, you could find me Come hang out with everywhere. And I would love to I would love to hear from you guys. And if you do come and please let me know you came from this podcast because I love to know where people are coming from.

Melissa Bright:

That would be awesome. Casey, I have one last question to ask you that I asked all of my guests. In your own words, what does the bright side of life mean to you?

Casey McQuillen:

Oh, my God, I couldn't I should have known this question was coming.

Melissa Bright:

No, I always do it off the cuff so people can't prepare? What is

Casey McQuillen:

the bright side of lightning for me?

Melissa Bright:

My answer has changed over the last like two years.

Casey McQuillen:

Yeah, right. I think for me, the bright side of life has always been those moments where I feel accepted and loved and included and safe. And they happen. You know, I my sister and I were just reflecting I went to a bachelorette this weekend that we're just so lucky that we have so many people that want to be with us and around us. And when I was in the depths of mind's eye disorder, and I was having a really hard time. Something I used to think about to try to get myself to go to sleep is that um, all of my friends are so great, right? Your friends don't have to be friends with you. They choose to be friends with your family has to do with your friends. And I've got such great friends and I would list my friends in my head and think about well, I know they don't hang out with people who aren't kind and good. And so I must be kind and good enough. All these wonderful people want to be around me but it doesn't show you why I needed that to write that song about my mental health problems. I don't know what does. But when I am with all these kinds of beautiful people that I have managed to keep in my life, and I feel like I can be myself and be loud and be too much, and talk too much, and have too many opinions, and do all those things. And I don't need a song to make it okay, I just can't be me. I think that's my bright side. I just, I just love it when I'm with and I could, I would just, I'd rather be with people I love and feeling like that communal energy in my apartment, then, on a huge, fancy yacht with people I didn't like I think that's as you get older, you just realize it's only fun. If you like the people you're with, it's not. That's my bright side. Yes, love my life.

Melissa Bright:

I love that you're so right. Such such a beautiful thing to say. So Casey, thank you again, so much, guys. I as you know, I'm gonna have all of her links in the show notes so you guys can go there, or you can go to The Bright Side of Life. podcast.com. And look at it there, Casey. Thank you again.

Casey McQuillen:

Thank you so much, Melissa. I really appreciate you having me.

Melissa Bright:

Absolutely. Thank you guys so much for listening to this episode. I hope you guys enjoyed it. As I said at the beginning, I have a huge announcement. And then you'll want to stick around because I am going to be playing Casey's amazing song skinny right after this announcement. So stick around. But some of you may or may not know that I have been on a huge healing journey and transformation for the last two years. And it has so much helped me with a lot of my people pleasing tendencies. And if you're someone that is looking to worry less and stop second guessing your decisions and start doing more of what actually makes you happy without always searching for the approval of others, then this might be for you. I am putting together a pilot program to teach a small handful of people how to do exactly what I did to stop people pleasing and become more confident using my exact process. So if you are interested and would like to be the first notified when this progress is when this program is made available. I want you guys to click on the link in the show notes that says people pleaser no more waitlist that is going to put you on a waitlist for when I make that announcement when I open the doors to that ah I am so freaking excited for this program because I just know how much I used to be a people pleaser and how much I how much I have changed so get on the waitlist and I will be announcing that very soon. Now without further ado, here is Casey McQuillan song skinny. Enjoy guys

Unknown:

she grabs a dress from the back of my closet. The short one I have walked since her body lipstick, glitter islands just to touch there's nothing she's hiding. With Dharma friends she poses pictures posted queer nofilter she calls me prairie weevil know she wouldn't trade places wouldn't trade face his dad's always she stuck in my mind a vision who supposed she's skinny she drinks good stuff. She can't afford it. It's pretty easy when you don't pay for her when she goes home. She's never alone. I leave the bar in danza she stuck in my mind, a vision who? She is. me skinny. And I see her and all she's a big mess of future I'm not so sure and actually to be honest she will drink too much she stopped getting skinny

Casey McQuillen Profile Photo

Casey McQuillen

Singer-songwriter, musician

Casey McQuillen, a Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter, activist and powerhouse vocalist, burst onto the scene wowing judges and millions of viewers on Season 13 of American Idol. Since then, the rising star has organically accumulated tens of thousands of followers on social media and millions of views and streams of her music online, largely because her songs are authentic, intimate, and relatable.

Casey’s first single, Beautiful, debuted globally on ExtraTV in April 2019. Her debut album, Skinny, is set for release on April 29, 2022, from Plymouth Rock Recording. Last August, Casey launched a sneak peak of the forthcoming album with the release of ‘In & Out’, a duet with singer-songwriter, Jon McLaughlin, which found its way onto several major playlists. The song was also spotlighted by Apple Music and Amazon Music and featured on Sirius XM ‘The Pulse’.

Throughout her career Casey has dedicated herself to the causes of anti-bullying, body positivity, and mental health advocacy. Following “Idol,” she founded the You Matter Tour, an interactive, anti-bullying assembly show that she’s performed for 40,000+ students at over one hundred middle and high schools in the US and Europe. The tour has been recognized by the UN Foundation and GLAAD and featured on The Kelly Clarkson Show.

Casey has toured the US and Europe headlining her own shows and supporting talented singer-songwriters such as James Morrison, Stephen Kellogg, Kate Voegele, Tyler Hilton, Eric Hutchison, Clark Beckham, David Ryan Harris, and Nick Howard. Starting in May, Casey hits the road for concerts in New York City, Los Angeles, Boston and Nashville, then returns to the UK in early October for shows in Edinburgh, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Liverpool, Leicester, and London. For more information, please visit Casey’s official website – www.listentocasey.com.