Nice People Can Succeed. A practical guide for a mean world
An exclusive interview with Anthony Casuccio, Award-winning music producer.
From Gold records to Grammies, music entrepreneur Anthony Casuccio shares stories of how being nice and doing the "right thing” (no matter how hard or embarrassing) in a crazy business has created opportunities for him both professionally and personally in his new book.
Do you come from a musical family?
Somewhat, my father played a few different instruments when he was growing up. My mother was a great piano player and played for the family; especially during the holidays. She gave me piano lessons when I was young.
What I did get from my family was support to pursue music from a very young age. I was encouraged to take lesson in school and privately. I feel that was the biggest musical gift that I received from my family.
At what point did you realize this is what you wanted to do?
In high school I realized that I was not going to be the next Eddie Van Halen. OK, I am dating myself here. I loved the guitar and I loved writing and performing. I have always had a great ability to focus and evaluate a situation.
I determined that I’d have a better shot at success in the music industry being behind the scenes, especially the recording aspect. I got involved with recording the wind ensemble (besides playing in it) and orchestra performances. This kind of fortified my desire to be a recording engineer.
I put all my eggs in one basket and applied to the sound Recording program at Fredonia and got in. From there I never looked back. My goal was to work with others then on my own time record my own music.
What was one of your gold chart toppers?
I went to work for Reader’s Digest Music right out of college. They had the largest independent record label in the world at that point.
With divisions in 28 countries, that increased to 32 at the peak of its sales. I worked on so many albums that sold RIAA gold record status, I think over 60. The funny thing is that it costs a lot of money to get RIAA certification, something that the corporate offices did not want to spend money on.
The division had a lifetime total of over a thousand titles that could have received gold and platinum status. The upper management decided to select a small number of those titles and get them certified.
I was lucky to have a few titles that I worked on in that bunch. My favorite is called The Great Band Era. 9X platinum. I worked on that in the mid 90’s, in my mid-twenties.
I have since then had other works nominated for Grammy awards and chart on Billboard. I worked with a dance artist called Barton. We had a dance track peak at #9 on the UK dance charts a few summers ago. I also have a few jingles hitting the airwaves in the New Year.
In contrast to larger cities, why have you chosen to call Buffalo home?
Well, I moved back to Buffalo. I lived in NYC for 10 years and moved out to California for another five. I loved both places.
With the power of the internet, I can have clients all over the world. I have been fortunate to work with some of the biggest artist from Russia. I recently worked with an amazing producer from Iran, all from Buffalo NY.
I moved back because this place is the best in the country to raise a family. I have to say though, that it was my wife that pushed me to move back and she is not from here. I needed to be closer to my family. Being away, I really missed that family connection that I had growing up. I have two kids now and am glad they are growing up in Western New York.
What inspired you to write this book?
I had been visiting high schools and colleges talking about my music industry experience. I shared stories on how being a nice person helped me succeed in such a tough, crazy industry. I realized that there was a common thread, acting with integrity and being respectful, no matter what situation I was thrust into. I loved doing these motivation talks and wanted to do more. I was told by an agent that being published would help with securing speaking engagements. I had a good amount of content from these talks, so I decided to start writing it down. I am a much better speaker than writer but I was motivated and moved forward. Once I started writing the ideas just flowed and I become more excited to share my stories. That is how Be Nice, Nice People Can Succeed a Practical guide for a Mean World was born.
Are you working on any special projects currently?
My main focus the next few months is my new book, Be Nice. Nice people Can Succeed. A Practical Guide for a Mean World.
This book is a culmination of stories that I have shared during speaking engagements with high school and college students and industry panels. I highlighted key moments in my career and illustrated the importance of being nice, working with integrity and how keeping an open mind towards others can create opportunities. I always have musical projects going on.
Do you have a nickname? Toneman
What is your FAVORITE:
FLAVOR OF ICE CREAM: Black raspberry
PLACE VISITED: Hong Kong
SONG, ALBUM OR BAND: The Beatles
SAYING/MANTRA: Karma, what goes around, comes around.