Cassie: Shine Brighter
The age of blogging coupled with the latest paparazzi craze
has developed a new breed of movie stars and recording artists. Its safe to
say that Cassie falls into that category. After only one hit single and a
disastrous live performance that attracted a slam of ridicule, Cassie is still
pretty visible whether at parties, attending concerts, or living it up
with thats right Diddy.
Ironically enough, a couple of minutes before AllHipHop.com
went in for the interview the classic nightmare request for a journalist was
asked: No personal questions. The questions were to be kept to music.
Later, during the interview, Cassie wasnt asked to address the request for no
personal questions, but she touched on a reservation one would think a girl as
gorgeous as her shouldnt have. The request begins to make sense.
Cassie makes it clear that she is not Aretha Franklin. She
hasnt ever claimed to be a vocal powerhouse, but for some reason her perceived
mediocrity has been focused on and has become a double-edged sword. As shes
proven, it hasnt been her complete undoing, but for all intents in purposes
she is everything ordinary, in every
positive sense of the word. For her, theres nothing wrong with that and that
strong perception of self has always been considered to be the first step to
With an album coming out that found her working with
producers shes never worked with before (since Ryan Leslie was her exclusive
producer on her debut) its enticing to find out what shes got in store. In
theory, Cassie has been given a second chance to prove herself to be the artist
that is. And in the fickle world of music, a second chance is everything but ordinary.
AllHipHop.com Alternatives: Are you still working on the new project?
Cassie: Im hoping
to finish up before Thanksgiving. Thats my goal because Ive been working on
it for a minute now. Its great. Its really coming together. I have a lot of
content. Not sure what were going to pick yet. But its all coming together,
AHHA: Have you been
focusing entirely on the album? Or have you been working on other side
Cassie: Ive just
been 100 percent on this album. Although I wish I could multi-task, Im hoping
I can do that maybe next year. Throw in a little bit of acting or something on
the side, but Im really focused on the album at this moment.
AHHA: You began
working exclusively with Ryan Leslie since the beginning. What was it like
working with new people?
Cassie: It was
definitely fun. I had a great experience with Ryan working on the first album.
I think we developed a great sound together. And we worked together on this
album and were going to work together a little bit more before I finish. I
really wanted to get a taste and flavor from some other producers and writers and
give new people the opportunity to work with me and at the same time get the
opportunity to work with new people. I think that nothing can make you any
better than to having other experiences with other people.
AHHA: What were some
of the most notable experiences?
Cassie: I think its
just the passion and the drive you learn from every person [that s] different.
Its all very strong but its different. I got the opportunity to work with
Kanye a while back, so I got to sit with him in the studio while he created and
he would make jokes, See I dont have a ghost producer. He jokes. Everyone
knows that hes incredible.
I just got out of the studio with Pharrell; we did a crazy
record together. I got the opportunity to work with The-Dream and Tricky who are
high right now. They just keep cranking them out. But I made it a point to work
with writers and producers that people dont know, although I cant say who
they are because Im not sure of whats going to make the album just yet.
Theres a lot of unknown [and] unseen talent out there. Its just incredible.
AHHA: Is it true
youre naming the album Connecticut Fever?
Cassie: You know
what? I heard about that! I was like, Why would I name it that? I actually
have been toying with different ideas on calling the album different things. I
havent actually said in any interview that I was going to call it anything. I
dont know where that came from. Its kind of funny.
AHHA: So, youre
killing the rumor here? Youre not naming it that?
Cassie: No, Im not.
I never really considered it.
AHHA: What was it
like acting on the big-screen [Step Up 2: The Streets]?
Cassie: It was nice
to get my feet wet. It was a small part for me. I dont know it was the perfect
movie for me at the time, because it was just what I needed to step outside the
music industry box and just see what else there was out there for a
second. I never expected to be able to shoot a movie that soon, but I dont
know it was a crazy experience and it was great.
AHHA: Did it make
your imagination run a little bit as to what kinds of films you would like to
do in the future and think that maybe you can do films you wouldnt have
thought of before? Who would you want to star in a movie with?
Cassie: There are so
many great actors and actresses. I dont even know. I mean can I work with
Denzel? I have no idea. It definitely let my imagination go. Im a firm
believer in having a starting point and I kind of just jumped in and I was
little worried to do that in the first place with the film. But I feel
eventually Ill be able to try out my indie films and things like that that I
want to do to get the experience of it all. I think it was great for me to go
in and do that role, but I definitely need to develop my experience as an
AHHA: I also
remember you wanting to develop your experience as a performer after the 106
& Park incident where your live performance wasnt up to many
peoples standard, and you later expressed that it didnt meet your own
standard. What did you learn from that?
Cassie: I think more
than anything, people were mean. I couldnt ask for things to go any other type
of way. I dont regret how it went, and there was a reason why that happened.
But at the same time I have to take the blow for it. That was my own fault for
not being prepared and not saying anything to anyone when I knew that I wasnt.
Ive gone in with my vocal coach.
Ive made it clear to people that Im not Aretha Franklin.
Theyre going to see me perform and entertain, but theyre not going to see my
blow. I wouldnt ever take credit for anything like that. Its just not what I
do. Ive gone in and have tried to develop it. Either running on the treadmill
and singing and doing whatever I have to do to prove to people because second
chances are rare. Ive definitely gotten one, so Im going for it. Im going
AHHA: What are you
looking forward to the most once the album is out and about?
Cassie: Oh, my, God!
I hope that people love it. Like its really a reflection of me. [The] sound
has just developed not only the vocals, but [also] the music. Its just all
evolved so much. Im just excited for people to hear it and I want to hear the
feedback. Maybe its not what people want to hear from me but its something I
definitely enjoyed doing. But once they have it in their hand, itll just be a
relief because Ive been working on it for a really long time.
AHHA: What do you
wish you had more of in your life?
Cassie: I wish I had
more time to spend with my family. I mean, is that valid?! [laughs]
AHHA: No, Cassie,
youre supposed to say money! [laughs]
Cassie: I was like,
Am I supposed to be deeper than that? I really have been thinking about them
a lot. Its actually my Dads birthday tomorrow. I wish I could go see him, but
I have to go work! And Ive made so many sacrifices so that this album could be
So that I can have a great career and make money so I can
take care of my family in the future that whole thing. I definitely
miss my family. I miss hanging out with my brother. Theyre only in
Connecticut, which is not far, but when there is so much going on its hard to
make it up there.
AHHA: Since you feel
your sound has developed, who do you musically look up to?
Cassie: I think as
an artist I look up to all women doing their thing right now. I think that
every female artist has her own thing going on. My biggest idol is my mother.
Shes not an artist she works in Connecticut, but shes such a hero to
me and has taught me so much. Its hard to even look at any other woman past my
mother and think that theyre any stronger.
Musically, Ive always been a fan of, of course, Aaliyah and
Janet Jackson, their tone and their style and how they carry themselves as
women. Oh, and my new favorite is Apollonia! Were taking it back to Purple
AHHA: Youve been in
the modeling industry and youve dabbled in the film industry. What has the
music industry taught you? Has it taught you anything?
believe it or not, I think there are so many artists out there that handle
themselves in so many different types of ways. I have been humbled by those
situations. From going and having my 106 & Park experience
from going and having people hate on me left and right, when they dont even
know me and they dont have any idea who I am. It definitely humbles me and
made me more calm and to myself. Im less Ill be around a lot of people and
Im quiet, because I rather people not have anything to say about me at all!
AHHA: Do you think
the public perception of a woman having the two qualities of being sexy and intelligent
rather than just having one or the other is more of a reality today than it
ever was? Especially in business.
Cassie: I can say
that now more than ever, because I was young before. I think that the
opportunity to be a businesswoman, smart, and about herself is a great thing.
Now more than ever women have the power.
I feel that for myself, I grew up watching my mother work my
whole childhood, and Im not knocking stay at home moms at all! But seeing
that, its always been my mentality. I applaud women now for being business
savvy and intelligent and well-informed. We all know whats going in the
election, we all have a say, and were part of it, and were stronger now for