Alumnus pursues excellence in music


Courtesy of Casey Saba

Casey Saba, singer, guitarist and alumnus, earned the nickname “The Human Jukebox” after learning 580 songs by 230 bands.

From his beginnings as the son of a chicken farmer, 36-year-old alumnus Casey Saba made a career out of music and earned himself the nickname “The Human Jukebox.”

Saba plays everything from festivals and dive bars to weddings and funerals. His selection of covers includes 580 songs by 230 bands.

The singer and guitarist learned the covers, which inspired his nickname, while hosting “Open Mic Night” at Cate Street Pub. For nearly a decade, Saba worked to improve his craft.

“I needed more content, so I learned a song a week,” explained Saba. “One song a week, 52 weeks in a year, for nine years, is a lot of songs.”

Though he is an accomplished cover artist, Saba started by playing original music. He continues to create and perform original rock, progressive, psychedelic, alternative and fusion songs.

“So far, I have written and recorded 13 albums with six different bands,” said Saba. “I still write original songs, and I am preparing to record a new original solo album.”

Saba welcomes participation at his shows and encourages customers to create custom player lists from his cover list. The list includes songs ranging from the ‘50s through the ‘90s.

“I love the interaction responding to the audience’s requests,” stated Saba. “It is good for breaking the ice. This is what earned me the nickname ‘The Human Jukebox.’”

Saba’s road to success has not been without challenges. Music helped to form his teenage identity, but Saba struggled to maintain it in his 20s through unhealthy habits.

Despite the obstacles he has faced, Saba maintains a positive outlook.

“Music also gave me a form of expression for me to share my truth, struggles, hopes and fears, but it made me uncomfortable to be so vulnerable at times,” shared Saba. “It was only many years later that I discovered that vulnerabilities are not weaknesses.”

To get his start in the music industry, Saba played a lot of free shows and charity shows. The jobs helped him gain exposure and experience, but did little to help financially. Saba was forced to diversify his skill set to survive as an entertainer.

“I am not just a musician,” explained Saba. “I am a producer, booking agent, promoter, graphic designer, social media marketer, sound man and so on and so forth. I am my own boss, and I love it. I am only limited by what I say yes or no to.”

Saba incorporates technology to promote his brand and to reach a wider audience through various forms of media. He runs a self-titled website, has a Facebook page and a ReverbNation page, which highlights his original music.

“I started a weekly live-streaming broadcast from my Facebook music page: ‘Casey Saba Music,’” said Saba. “The show is called ‘Coffee Table Concerts.’ I usually live stream on a Tuesday night from 7-9 p.m. from the couch in my living room, just me and my acoustic guitar.”

According to Saba, past guests on his show include Dr. Joseph Burns, professor of communication and former Impaired Faculties band member, and Adam Pearce, vocalist and lead guitarist.

Beyond monitors and video cameras, Saba values connecting with his fans on a more personal level.

“I love seeing people in person at the shows,” shared Saba. “I love eye contact or a sincere smile or a genuine boisterous laugh. I love catching up with people afterwards. I like to ask questions. Connection. I try to share things with the people who are nice enough to come to my shows and they share with me.”

Saba will play at Blackened Brew in Hammond on April 5.