Casey VanDenBerg began playing the guitar at the age of 13, when his parents bought him a First Act acoustic for Christmas. He started taking lessons 2 months later from John Campbell, a well- known local instructor. As VanDenBerg's skill increased, so did his interest in the instrument and music. His musical education was supplemented by his involvement in choir from 7th grade through graduation, and strongly influenced by Haslett director Erich Wangeman. He played in the Youth Band at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Haslett for several years, which gave him valuable experience in a band setting.
While he loved playing guitar, his interests lacked direction for
several years, until it was suggested that he study music in college. He began taking his lessons and practice more seriously, and worked for several months on preparing his audition for Grand Valley State University's jazz program. During this time, he made his first recordings, which became his Christmas album, "A Homemade Christmas", finished in December 2009.
After his successful audition in January 2010, he began composing his own music and recording it as well. The original
working title for his album was "The Frusciante Project",
as the music was heavily influenced by the solo work of former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante. His idea was to make the album one continuous track, connected by smooth transitions from one section to another, inspired by the Pat Metheny Group's "The Way Up"
finished over 20 minutes of his album before running out of new ideas, and for 2 months the recordings sat unattended. In this time, VanDenBerg worked on
performing for the high school's Pops Concert, where he accompanied two choirs, several soloists, and arranged and performed on a song for the select men's choir.
In June, he began
experimenting with combining different styles of music, and resumed his recording. By July, he had made enough recordings that he
decided to put them together into an album and release it. For the next month he recorded, mixed, and edited what became his first release, "Here's What I'm Thinking". The album used parts of his abandoned recordings from "The Frusciante Project", as well as several new recordings made during the summer. After the release of "Here's What I'm Thinking", VanDenBerg decided to rerecord some parts of his Christmas album that he was unhappy with and release it in November of 2010. He rerecorded 5 tracks and remastered them, and "A Homemade Christmas" is set for release during the holiday season for $5.