'American Idol' Alum Casey Abrams on NYC Shows, Acting and Free Music (Video)
The season 10 alum will perform six shows in three nights before appearing in a new film, "Offer & Compromise," with Tom Cavanagh and Constance Zimmer.
American Idol alum Casey Abrams will kick off a three-night concert series at New York’s City’s Iridium Jazz Club on Thursday, Feb. 20.
The season 10 troubadour, who impressed Idol audiences each week with his mastery of instruments -- most notably, the stand-up bass -- will play a total of six shows, with two sets at 8 and 10 p.m. each night.
"Why not?" he said of the packed schedule. "I’ve got so much music in my soul. I got to get it out somehow."
Abrams' jam sessions is what fans have come to know and love about the Texas native. At a Los Angeles show at Room 5 in January, Abrams and his band got so carried away that they played beyond the midnight curfew and took the party out into the street. It was there that fans got another surprise -- fellow season 10 alum Haley Reinhart had come to watch her friend perform, and was coaxed into an impromptu performance of "House of the Rising Sun."
“That’s what I love about her -- she’s up for anything, and I think that is what is going to help her career and her life," he said.
Abrams, too, is game for anything. He recently split with his label, Concord Records, and is currently without management, but said he is exploring other options in New York as he builds up a new team of people to assist him with the next stage of his career -- which includes acting.
Abrams has been cast in a new movie, Offer & Compromise, directed by Valerie Landsberg, known in entertainment circles as the character of Doris in the TV show, Fame. Abrams met the director through his mother, Pam Pierce, who heard of the script through her organization, Cinestory, and asked for a meeting with her son.
The film stars Tom Cavanagh, Constance Zimmer, Frances Fisher, Lee Meriwether, French Stewart, Christopher McDonald, Carol Kane, Haaz Sleiman, and Ellen Foley.
"This is an opportunity to do the big-time stuff," said the California resident, who described his character as a guy working in a debt collection agency. "He’s a free spirit, but he’s stuck in this job." The currently-unfunded project is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign, seeking a budget of $500,000 and has two weeks left to meet its goal.
Abrams can relate to the free-spirited nature of his character. "For some reason I wanted to try every art form, so I would do a little bit of painting, a little bit of dancing, and acting," he said.
The 23-year old musician is so hungry to explore that he recently traveled across the ocean just to see if "something cool" would happen performing in jazz clubs in Ethiopia. He hopped on a jet at the invitation of a friend doing charity work for the organization Ethiopia Skate, a non-profit dedicated to raise money to purchase skateboards for Ethiopian children.
"I got to play at jazz festivals met some high-energy, cool people, and we all documented it ourselves,” said Abrams, who learned how to play a few instruments while in Africa. "It was a crazy trip. I basically went there, having nothing but a will to play some music, so I played at random nightclubs all around and met some of the biggest people and asked if I could sit in. Some let me, some didn’t. One guy let me play with his jazz band...on the spot."
Fans at the New York shows, he said, can expect to be included in his musical journey. In any given performance, an audience member may have Abrams serenading them face to face, or having his "saxophone player sneaking up on you." He also is hoping to play some new music. Abrams is hoping to return to the Idol stage to promote his latest, "Cougar Town," and announce that he is making the song available as a free download. "I want to do something that gives back,” he said. "Free music! I’m doing it out of the love of my heart as opposed to the emptiness of my wallet."
To Abrams, this is the best way to experience music. "It’s definitely my happy place. It feels great to be on stage and have people digging what you are doing and it’s so easy -- all you have to do is be happy on stage," he said, adding that his time on the Idol stage gave him the confidence to do just that. "I think the key to having a good show is being super duper happy -- you smile and they’ll smile. It’s the secret of life and music -- don’t be afraid to show your happiness."
Watch the video of "Cougar Town" below: