Photography & Journalism
Representation for LGBTQIA+ people in the music industry is incredibly important, and Ryan Cassata is a shining example of excellent representation.
His most recent release, 'Daughter', is an open letter to his father about coming out as transgender. In an interview with Billboard, he revealed that his dad wasn't always supportive of him being trans and it took time and no small amount of pain for them to reconcile and come to understand each other. He revealed that he realised his dad was losing his daughter, and after their talk, his father realised that his child was in pain and needed support in transitioning.
The first thing I noticed about the song was the down-to-earth country feel. The sounds of the guitar is very human, you can hear the strings like the song is being performed right in front of you, but there's no unpleasant vibrations or unwanted 'noise' from them to compromise the quality of the sound, which shows great work by the producer. There's also a very upbeat and happy sounding percussion section which sounds like people clapping along with the drum until the sounds have blended and become one. It brings a lovely sense of togetherness which works well with the theme of the song.
Then there's this deep sounding kick with a soft, rubbery feeling that compliments the twang of the guitar, and helps to build the sound up and adds to the bounce of the song. It definitely works better for this heartfelt yet fun song than a harsher sound would. In my opinion, this is a key element for adding depth, interest, and keeping the song feeling upbeat and happy.
I really like how the timbre grows fuller and richer as the song progresses, as though with each chorus there's a growing confidence and joy in the words being sang. By the end the song feels like a huge celebration that you want to be part of.
Ryan's vocals shine through this wonderfully constructed scenery the instruments have built up, allowing for the all important message of the song remain key. His voice is sweet and smooth while having a comforting country tone that sounds unique and special. I could listen to it for hours. The song is really a letter to his father, and the lyrics cover a difficult subject but they're put together really well and performed with excellence. The balance between being a skilled technical performer while allowing the words to be sang with a genuine emotion is perfect.
I think it's interesting, and really quite nice for Ryan to be singing that his father's daughter isn't gone. At first listen I thought it was an acknowledgment that he is the person he's always been, but the memories of being his father's daughter growing up aren't gone forever. I was almost right. Ryan revealed that he doesn't mind identifying as his parents' daughter, and has taken the term and made it kind of gender neutral. In his words:
"Daughter doesn't mean female, or girl, or anything like that. Like, daughter is just who I am, and I'm totally fine with being my parents' daughter and their son, and I totally know and accept that my relationship with my parents is different than my cis brothers. It's totally different, and I'm fine with that. My parents treat me with love and respect and support me in everything I do, so to me, being their daughter and their son is not bad, like it's actually great." (Billboard)
I like this way of thinking. I'm still learning about how to be a better ally and better understand what it means to be trans, and this song has allowed my eyes to be opened to a new way that trans people see themselves. My experience has only been with those who want to only be identified as their new genders and would probably hate being called a 'daughter' if they use he/him pronouns. This fluidity and acceptance of the title is really quite interesting. Knowing that his father was afraid he was losing his daughter, these words must be very comforting for his dad. Maybe for some trans folks, this song could be a tool in which to help them gain acceptance from their own parents.
'Daughter' is so well composed. The music elements compliment the message superbly. It's a joy to listen to this song - it just makes you feel good. Hearing someone giving such a loving, personal message is uplifting and really quite emotional. It makes me happy to hear this celebration of acceptance. I'm truly glad I got to hear this song. It has brought me so much joy, and I feel better educated about what being trans means to some people.
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