|Next Project:||Untitled (Q1, 2009)|
|Twitter:||Cassie on Twitter|
It might be a stretch to call Cassie‘s rise to fame a fairy tale (Cinderella never worked as a model in New York City, after all), but her story does contain certain elements of the fantastic. The 19-year-old singer has come a long way since her stage debut as one of the seven dwarves in a fifth grade production of Snow White, and she couldn’t have done it without singer/songwriter/producer/handsome prince Ryan Leslie, who took her under his wing and encouraged her to pursue a career in music.
Currently preparing for the first quarter ‘09 release of the as-yet-untitled follow-up to her self-titled debut, Cassie is ready to show listeners a new side of her musical persona. The lead single “Official Girl”, featuring Lil’ Wayne, finds the rising star asserting her status as Numero Uno in a romantic relationship, and fans can look forward to plenty more cuts demonstrating her growth into a mature, versatile artistic force on her forthcoming sophomore effort.
In an exclusive interview with our very own DJ “Z,” Cassie steps inside the Booth to discuss what it really means to be an “Official Girl,” how her modeling experience (and striking good looks) have affected her musical career, and which cable program she considers her “Addiction.”
Listen to the Interview
Cassie Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on, everybody? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is an “Official Girl.” Please welcome Cassie!
Cassie: Thank you!
DJ Booth: How you doin’?
Cassie: I’m great – how are you?
DJ Booth: I’m wonderful; thanks for asking. Cassie, please give me your personal definition of an “Official Girl.”
Cassie: She’s strong, she knows what she wants, and she won’t let a man dictate what she wants to do in her life. If he doesn’t want to be with her, then she doesn’t need him. [laughs]
DJ Booth: Okay, that’s fair. Cassie, why are titles so important for you ladies? I mean, if you’re loved, if you’re taken care of, if you’re supported, why the title?
Cassie: I don’t know if it’s necessarily a title – that’s definitely a translation of “Official Girl,” for some women out there – but it’s about being the only one. I think that’s more or less where I was going with the video, and the song, saying that I won’t play side-girl, I won’t play second girl.
DJ Booth: Numero Uno and that’s it?
Cassie: I’m Numero Uno, and there’s no more.
DJ Booth: Your sophomore project is right around the corner, but I want some details. Have you decided on a title yet? Spill some beans for me – you don’t have to spill them all, just some.
Cassie: Actually, there’s some up in the air, but I’m not allowed to talk about them until we all confirm it here at the label.
DJ Booth: How many are you choosing between – three, four, six?
Cassie: There’s a couple. It’s not that deep, but my last album was self-titled, so I wanted to make sure that I had something a little bit catchy and something a little stronger than that.
DJ Booth: Well, I’m assuming that when you do decide on the title, you’ll give me a call right back and let me know.
Cassie: I will!
DJ Booth: The first album, as you mentioned, self-titled, was produced mostly by the incomparable Ryan Leslie. Now, this time around, I know that you’re working with several producers. You’ve already worked with Danja and The Clutch, who else can we expect to show up on the liner notes?
Cassie: I just got out of the studio with Pharrell, I’ve been working for quite some time with Puff, he’s produced some tracks on the album, Mario Winans, Rodney Jerkins – there’s a whole roster, and some great writers, too.
DJ Booth: Those are all good names. I’ve spoken with Ryan a number of times about his work with you, and he usually gushed about how proud he is of all of your accomplishments. How much of your success, to this point, would you attribute to him?
Cassie: So much of it, really. You know, he convinced me that I needed to be a singer, and he believed in it, and he supported me one hundred percent, and he helped me make records and put together an album, and so much.
DJ Booth: In addition to his work on your material, you also contributed your vocals to his current single, “Addiction.” He said when I asked him that, other than music, he’s addicted to videos – I wanna know, what are you addicted to?
Cassie: I’m addicted to… Dexter.
DJ Booth: Great show, is it not a great show? For anyone listening who does not have Showtime, order it right now.
Cassie: Order Showtime – you need to get that, asap. Or go out and buy Season One and Two.
DJ Booth: I was just gonna say, if you don’t wanna pop the money for the channel, then go out and get it on DVD. Cassie, people have praised your work, but they’ve also been critical of your live performance. So, two-part question: how have you faced all the criticisms, and what have you done, if anything, to improve your work?
Cassie: I mean, facing it and dealing with it is one thing, and that’s the first step. I addressed it, I knew it was wrong, and it hurt, but I had to keep moving, and so the answer to the second question is, I’ve been in studio working with my vocal coach and working with my choreographer, and making sure that everything is exactly the way that it needs to be, so there are no more mistakes made.
DJ Booth: At this point, do you feel that you’ve improved to the max, or is there still room for you to get even better?
Cassie: I always think there’s room. I haven’t reached my full potential as an artist, I don’t think so at all, but you have to leave room for something, and I think that even now people don’t know what I’m capable of, so I have a lot of room, and a lot for people to see.
DJ Booth: Well, you have plenty of time to show ‘em. Cassie, having modeled before you became a mainstream pop singer, what elements of your previous career do you feel have helped you the most in your current career?
Cassie: I think just being comfortable in my own skin, in front of the camera, all that type of stuff. Sometimes it can be a little bit awkward – I don’t know how anybody else feels about it, but being in front of the camera, and all that type of stuff is a little weird, but it taught me poise and presence, and confidence, and I apply that to what I do now.
DJ Booth: Well, I’ll tell you, no one would know by looking at you that you feel awkward in front of a camera.
Cassie: [laughs] Thank you.
DJ Booth: You’re welcome. I know there’s an age-old saying, it’s from someone famous I’m sure, that beauty is both a gift and a curse. Do you feel that your looks in any way have negatively affected how seriously consumers take your music?
Cassie: I think.. I would never go out there and say, “I’m oh-so-good looking, and that’s why people give me a hard time,” but I think for anybody that is attractive it can be harder sometimes. I don’t necessarily think that’s my situation; I think I’ve been in the music industry and in the entertainment industry long enough for people to, maybe not see past it, but just give me that second chance. I wouldn’t be working on this second album without them giving me that.
DJ Booth: Exactly – accepting it and moving on; I agree.
DJ Booth: We put out to our readers the opportunity to provide questions for this interview. We received several hundred, including two marriage proposals, so I was forced to narrow them down to three. Taniya from Toronto wants to know, “When do you plan on performing in Canada?”
Cassie: Oh, wow… The last time I performed in Canada was, I believe it was 2006, and it was Christmas Eve, and I flew home after that. That was the last time I performed there, so hopefully soon.
DJ Booth: I know all of your Canadian fans are hoping that it’s sooner rather than later.
DJ Booth: Next question comes from Mercedes of Pennsylvania: “When you aren’t working on music, what do you do in your spare time?”
Cassie: Wow, I haven’t really had spare time in a long time, but I hang out with my girlfriends, go out, get dinner, sit at home watching movies – I’m a homebody, really.
DJ Booth: I’m the same way – as you just mentioned, you love watching Dexter, so I kinda figured you were the movie type.
DJ Booth: Last question comes from Goldie of London, and she said, “What is your all-time favorite pair of sneakers?”
Cassie: Ah, this is always the hardest question; I cannot pick a favorite.
DJ Booth: That is not an acceptable answer. I need at least an inkling, what might be.
Cassie: It depends, really, ‘cause all sneakers are different. My favorite probably right now, I have teal, Nike Blazers, or my gold lamé Supras. [laughs]
DJ Booth: Somewhere, somebody’s listening, and they have that same pair of shoes, and they’re so excited right now…
Cassie: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know… I have a lot of Nike Dunks that are my favorites; there’s just too many.
DJ Booth: Well, you know what that means? You might have too many pairs of shoes, Cassie.
Cassie: Yes, I do, I definitely do.
DJ Booth: Cassie, people might have slept on your work the first time around, so what should they expect from an older, wiser, more mature artist?
Cassie: I think that anything that you go back to gets better with age, so, I’m hoping that that’s what’s gonna help me. I don’t know… the music sounds better, and I’m excited to entertain, and perform for people. It’s definitely much different than before.
DJ Booth: So, like a fine wine, you are gonna get better with age.
Cassie: Yeah [laughs]
DJ Booth: Very nice. Cassie, I wish you nothing but the best of luck on the upcoming project, dropping first quarter, hopefully, of 2009. Give everyone a website or a MySpace page, so they can find out more.
DJ Booth: Wonderful. Thank you so much for joining me inside the DJ Booth.
Cassie: Thank you so much.