She might be the new girl on the scene but already 19 year old Cassie’s got some serious supporters in her corner: namely industry legends Tommy Mottola (who counts among his discoveries Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez) and Sean.P. "Diddy" Combs, who in 2006 signed Cassie to his platinum Bad Boy roster. To add even more shine to an already magical tale, just 18 months after graduating from high school Cassie’s already been touted as R&B/pop’s next big thing.
Asked about her exploding career the soft-spoken singer/model says, “Everything has been beyond my wildest expectations. I feel very lucky. I'm really happy my music is affecting so many people. It’s fun music and I think that’s what people are responding to.”
Working with Ryan Leslie (Britney Spears, Beyonce) and his Next Selection crew Cassie’s unleashed a CD that showcases her depth. “I’m hoping to show I can do a wide range of things .We have slow jams, the pop side, a little rock n roll and I actually rap! The album’s really for everyone.” Among the CD's highlights are the gently sexy “Just One Night” and the hushed and romantic "Can’t Do Without It.” “The whole album really just goes back to love songs,” Cassie explains and the public is loving her, right back.
Born and raised in New London CT, Cassie and her brother grew up with music. Her father plays the trumpet, mom is a pianist and with their encouragement Cassie started singing, (her first idol? Mariah Carey) and taking dance classes. “My parent’s philosophy is do what makes you happy, pursue what you love,“ Cassie recalls.” By fifth grade it was plain that Cassie's happiness came from performing on stage. Her theatrical debut wasn’t auspicious. She was a dwarf (giggles Cassie "I can’t remember which one!”) in her private school’s production of Snow White. “Being on stage I got that rush. I just loved it.”
The love continued into middle school when she joined a program that allowed students to act and compose their own musicals. By 7th grade Cassie was dancing, acting, singing, composing and playing the piano. At 14 she added to an impressive resume when she began modeling. Although shorter than the average model, Cassie’s striking looks attracted attention and soon she was represented by the famed Wilhelmina Agency, and at 15 spent the summer in NYC’s Hells Kitchen to focus on the competitive fashion world. All of this activity combined with high school could have been daunting but Cassie rose to the challenge. As always her parents were firmly in her corner. “They never pushed me, but my mom would always ask me is this what you want to do? Are you happy? Does this work satisfy you?" The answer was yes. Cassie’s modeling career picked up steam and she appeared in campaigns for Delia’s, Adidas and A&F, among others. Yet something was missing. ”The work was great, but it sometimes wasn’t creative enough for me. So I made friends with photographers and stylists and we’d try to think of some more artistic side projects.”
An artistic opportunity came when Cassie hit 16. Through an industry friend she was introduced to prolific producer Rockwilder (Method Man, Redman, Pink). With her folks in tow, Cassie went to the producer’s studio. “We had a great talk. It was my first taste of the music industry and although nothing came of, it gave me inspiration and soon after that I started taking voice lessons because I knew that singing was something that was important to me.”
After graduating from high school Cassie moved to NYC in 2004 and through mutual friends met up and coming producer Ryan Leslie. Cassie thought that Ryan seemed like a “cool guy” and the two exchanged numbers. “I knew he was a producer, but didn’t think much about it. He just seemed nice.” A few weeks later Ryan asked her to attend P Diddy’s birthday party. Since Cassie was already planning on going she and Ryan made plans to meet up at the soirée. The two became fast friends and with Ryan’s encouragement Cassie started really thinking about making music her main focus. “My mom was a bit worried, but I knew Ryan was a good person. The thing was that for months people had told me that I had an artist’s vibe so I guess meeting Ryan was just meant to be.”
In January 2005 things took an interesting turn when Cassie’s mother asked if her daughter would record a song as a birthday gift. Cassie and Ryan came up with “Kiss Me,” which turned out to be more than just a nice present from a child to her mom. Soon after finishing “Kiss Me” Cassie went to the Casablanca Records office to meet Ryan. He, in turn was sitting down with the label's executives, including Tommy Mottola. The star maker spied Cassie in the waiting area and asked who she was. Unbeknownst to Cassie, Ryan had just played Mottola several tracks. Impressed Mottola urged the team to get back into the studio. A few weeks later Ryan and Cassie returned with a makeshift demo and Mottola signed her to a mangement deal. Soon afterwards Cassie also signed on the dotted line with Ryan’s production company Next Selection.
That same year Ryan and Cassie set up their My Space site. It kicked off a label bidding frenzy as well as a serious buzz amongst fans. Thanks to a relationship that both Ryan and Mottola had with Diddy, Cassie signed with Bad Boy in March 2006.
Working exclusively with Ryan, who brings a fresh unique approach, Cassie describes her sound as “mellow, chill, and easy to relate to.”
Cassie is now ready to take the world by storm and prove that she’s much more than a pretty face or a one hit wonder. Says this down to earth beauty, “This CD represents what I’ve always wanted to. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”