Art&Seek is highlighting new music from North Texas every Thursday. Click above to hear me talk with singer/songwriter Cas Haley for our Music Minute, which airs on KERA FM and KXT 91.7. For more North Texas music, tune in to the KXT Local Show at 7 p.m. on Thursdays. And tell us what you’ve been listening to on Facebook, Instagram or @artandseek on Twitter.
Cas Haley and his wife Cassy met while they were in high school. He grew up in Paris, TX; Cassie was from Red River County, just a county over. They’ve been together twenty-one years now and live on a small farm named Big Hope with their two children, Eben and Nolah. Together they raise pigs and chickens, grow their own vegetables, and make music.
Haley has made quite a name for himself. He first shot to national fame when he competed during the second season of America’s Got Talent in 2007. Haley finished second after ventriloquist Terry Fator (who, coincidentally, has Dallas roots), and the show gave Haley what he calls one of his biggest life lessons.
“The best thing about America’s Got Talent is it helped me understand the difference between fame and success,” Haley said. “Success is something that’s internal and you feel on your own. It’s not something that’s defined by other people…and fame is.”
Haley said the AGT experience helped him to realize that he wanted success and not fame. He preferred to write his own songs and to have creative license over his own career. He was so sure of his decision that the day after AGT ended, he flew back home to Texas, changed his phone number, and started working on new music.
“All I knew to do was just go back home and sort of start where I left off,” Haley said.
And, that’s what he did. The result was his 2008 self-titled release which ended the year as number 11 on Billboard’s year-end Reggae album chart.
Things were going well for the Haleys. Then, in 2018, Cassy Haley was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Their family’s cancer journey has been tough, but Haley says there have been some unexpected blessings.
The family started focusing more on their health, and there was another surprise outcome: Cassy started exploring her own creativity and ventured into the world of songwriting. Soon, the husband and wife team also became partners in songwriting.
“It’s been this whole life-changing shift that came from cancer… which is crazy,” Haley said. “So many blessings have been directly connected to this… what was called a tragedy at first, but what has really been a fountain of meaning and youth in our lives because we’re both healthier than we’ve ever been and we’re writing more songs than we’ve ever written.”
The couple co-wrote Haley’s 2019 album Lessons & Blessings and “Every Road I’m On”, a song which served as a source of comfort for their family during Cassy’s treatment and won Haley top honors in the 2020 Lincoln Corsair Chart Your Course competition. The couple continues to write together, and Cassy helped write Haley’s new album, All the Right People.
Haley’s new single is the title track to the album. Listening to “All the Right People” you can almost picture yourself on the Haley farm in Paris, TX on a lazy Sunday afternoon while surrounded by all your favorite friends.
That visual is helped by the video for the song, which was shot by Collin Hauser and features the farm, the Haley family, and all their right people making music together. “All the Right People” is truly a joyful, feel-good listen that will leave you in a better mood than when you found it.
All the Right People drops tomorrow, and you can see Cas Haley perform live at the Kessler Theater on March 12th. Keep up with him on his website, Facebook, Youtube, Spotify, and Twitter for show updates and new music.
Got a tip? Email Nilufer Arsala at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter @nillipxi53.