Reggae Soul

America’s Got Talent finalist to play at Whitworth

by Peter Duell

Popular television show, America’s Got Talent (AGT) has seen many different kinds of people come and go throughout the years of the show. In 2007, Cas Haley auditioned for the second season of AGT and ended up taking the second place prize in the competition by showing American his soul music style.

Haley is a reggae musician originally from the town of Paris, Texas. He grew up singing and learning various instruments such as bass, piano and guitar while developing his voice. He now plays mainly guitar and sings, but still dabbles in piano and bass. His journey from Texas to AMT was one he least expected.

“The day of the audition, a friend who was kind of acting as my agent called me and told me that he had arranged for me to play,” Haley said. “Initially, I was wary of it all, being on a reality TV show.”

This seemingly random occurrence led to Haley’s callback and eventual full admittance to perform on AGT. He covered at least two Stevie Wonder songs and had the opportunity to play with any professional musician or musical group of his choice. He chose the widely known, UK reggae/soul group, UB40.

“I was very excited to play with [UB40],” Haley said. “I had to focus on staying grounded and fully embracing the moment. They’re a group of great guys and I’m glad I got to play with them. I enjoy people and I don’t mind the spotlight.”

Though he was skeptical about the show at first, his feelings about it changed as it progressed.

“Being on AGT was a true blessing,” Haley said.  “It taught me what I want and what I wanted to do with my music.”

His musical roots that came from his parents – who were both musicians – still affect his work today.

“My parents played a lot of Motown and soul music when I was a kid,” Haley said. “I love Stevie Wonder. [My parents] showed me what true Motown and soul music was all about.”

Haley is a family man now with a wife, a son and a daughter. He occasionally plays  shows in his hometown, but also tours around the country. He has released two albums, a self-titled album and one named “Connection,” and is currently working on a third.

“Family, life and living creatively inspire me the most,” Haley said. “It’s not just about music, it’s about expression and an outlet for living expressively and creatively.”

Haley will be playing at Whitworth on March 11 at 5 p.m. in the dining hall.

Contact Peter Duell at pduell16@my.whitworth.edu

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