It’s one thing for an artist to simply perform a song, but when she truly feels the music she is performing, the payoff for the listener is infinitely sweeter.
“These stories came from real life,” say singer Cassandra Reed of her stirring self-titled Peak Records’ debut. “All of these songs were written because there was a very real urge to express something.”
Reed’s sultry new twelve-song contemporary collection combines Aretha Franklin-inspired soul, and R&B with provocative lyrics and Billie Holiday-worthy vocal performances for what amounts to one staggering listen. It is not surprising that Cassandra comes from a background that is easily as colorful has her influences.
Born of Gypsy blood in Seville, Spain twenty-eight years ago, Cassandra traveled throughout Europe with her artist parents before the family eventually settled in Cologne, Germany. As a little girl, she would spend her days climbing trees and singing songs to herself.
“Every time there was someone singing on television, I would ruin it for my family by standing up in front of it and singing along,” Cassandra reminisces.
In an effort to distract her perhaps, Cassandra’s parents gave her a handheld tape recorder to play with, which the budding songstress used to record all those melodies she had made up while climbing trees. By the age of fourteen, she found herself performing regularly as a vocalist and saxophone player with local jazz, rock, and R&B ensembles.
“I was in three bands at once a lot of the time,” Cassandra recalls with a laugh. “I was instantly addicted to performing.”
A devotee of everything from Stevie Wonder to the Clash to John Coltrane to Sly and the Family Stone to traditional Turkish, Morrocan, and West Indian Music, Cassandra set about melding her disparate influences into a sound all her own. After slugging it out on the club scene for a few years, the winsome chanteuse’s reputation as an artist not to miss began to spread throughout Europe and even to Japan, where in 1997 she landed a #1 album called “I Believe,” which sold several hundred thousand copies. True to her Gypsy roots however, Cassandra soon after decided to leave it all behind and make a move to New York City.
“There was an air that everything is possible if you make it possible,” says of her inspiration to come to America.
Shortly after landing stateside, Cassandra inked a deal with Peak Records. An ongoing collaboration with songwriters Dal Love, Grammy award winning producer Jason Miles, and a host of others provided Cassandra with a wealth of material to choose from when it came time to head into the studio.
Recorded both in upstate New York and in New York City, Cassandra’s debut is a soul-drenched, acoustic-driven affair. Her singular approach to melding her many musical influences provides for a truly unique listening experience.
“I’m trying to make something that is real.” Cassandra explains. “I want this music to tell you about the way people live.”
From the lilting, summery soul of “The Next Time” to the swaggering grooves of “Cruisin’” to the gospel meets barroom jazz interpretation of Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror” to the gritty and plaintive “Color of Love”, Cassandra Reed’s debut album is worthy of heavy rotation in the disc player of any serious music fan.
Once her self-titled debut hits the streets, Cassandra looks forward to taking her songs to the stage.
“There’s nothing that compares to creating something in a moment and that’s what it is,” Cassandra says of the live experience. “You let go of yourself and there’s no way back.