While Waynesville's Brett Alan Casler Alvino, 39, – otherwise known as performer Vino Alan, who perfected Ray Lamontagne's “Trouble” on FOX's 'X-Factor' – may not be a household name, Alan has certainly made a mark on his hometown.
While Waynesville's Brett Alan Casler Alvino, 39, – otherwise known as performer Vino Alan, who perfected Ray Lamontagne's "Trouble" on FOX's 'X-Factor' – may not be a household name, Alan has certainly made a mark on his hometown.
Born in Waynesville, Mo., Alan moved to Dallas at age six where he spent the majority of his childhood. Even as a southern youngster, Vino always kept his ties to his hometown, mostly because of his grandparents, Margaret and Walter Casler, who owned a motel in nearby Buckhorn, Mo.; Alan flew back and forth before eventually moving back to the Midwest.
"You can take the boy out of Missouri, but can't take the Missouri out of the boy," Vino said.
A self-proclaimed "river rat," Vino spent much of his time in the Ozark outdoors where his natural abilities took off. He began his artistic voyage taking photographs of nature as a kid.
"I'm still a river rat and still love nature photography," he said. "Being out there and taking photos is like creating a song to me and that stems from my days in the country."
Another one of Vino's interests began as a pre-schooler: playing the drums.
"My mom said I've been playing since I was four," the musician said. "Music was always in me. I had a drum set, but didn't take lessons until I was 10 [years old]. Until then I was using the drums to heal my personal life with my mom and other stuff at home."
His grandparents, leaders of their church choir in St. Robert, propelled Vino to work toward a career in music. Other local musicians from the area also roused Vino's interest.
"Guys like Bobby Dodds, John Dickerson [local garage performers]...and Butch Biggs—that's where I took drum lessons by the old I.G.A [grocery store]." Alan said. "He gave me a month-and-a-half of drum lessons."
The 10-year-old Alan eventually saw how to work with others to make music while taking lessons and was eventually hired by Biggs to play drums in his first paid gig at new Coca-Cola plant in Lebanon, Mo.
"That first gig, playing in front of those 1,200 people, that was a pretty big deal," Vino said.
Making music all the while, he graduated from Laquey High School in the early 90s. The budding young man then made his way to St. Louis where music began to consume his life. Vino began travelling countrywide from city to city trying to make due. Even while traveling Alan kept a level head and learned to appreciate his Missouri roots.
"The thing I miss most about down-home is folks waving at each other," he said. "If you're in L.A. and wave like we do on a two-way street, somebody will think you're getting ready to ask them for change."
Although several values keep Vino in the music industry, his son trumps all. Since Alan's father left him at birth, Alan has done everything in his power to support his own child.
"Money has never had anything to do with my art," Vino said. "But once my son came into the world, the pressure becomes a lot harder to be a vagabond musician."
Another driving factor behind the man's music is his passion to change the world.
"I feel that's why I was brought into this world was to do this—to use these talents and put them to positive work," Vino said. "I believe music can change the world and I always try to do that."
Recently, Alan made a huge stride towards success after performing for a minute and being approved by four of the world's toughest judges on FOX's 'X-Factor.'
"That was amazing for an artist like me, especially someone my age," Vino said. "It was surreal. Don't get me wrong, I want to go as far as I can in this competition, but I feel like I already won in my own journey."
Awestruck by Britney Spears and the avalanche of strangers' marriage proposals, his feeling of success has since been validated.
"It's weird that people could say all that after a minute, but that's the ultimate form of validation," Alan said.
His wraspy, gruff laugh spreads like a wildfire and his voice can stun an angel. Along with those qualities, mixed with an organic, hybrid sound of rock and soul, Alan hopes to continue to capture the ears — and hearts — of millions of Americans in upcoming episodes.
His grandmother's last request before being stricken by Alzheimer's disease was a powerful one and will continue to scoot Alan closer to becoming the famous artist he aspires to be. One of the last things his grandmother told him before being stricken with Alzheimer's was to never give up. Never quit.
"Never give up," she told him. "Don't quit."
"It sounds average, but it's so true," Alan said. "There's so many obstacles that come against us, but you just have to stay true to [the music]."
Alan's next obstacle: outperform some of the best vocalists in the nation and continue his pursuit of happiness and success on national television.
Catch Vino's and others' performances on "X-Factor" Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. Central.