Although she began her musical career in the 21st century, Cassie Steele draws inspiration from musical greats who walked (and rocked) decades before. With heroes like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Elliott Smith and The Clash, Steele’s music exhibits a self-assuredness, grittiness and passion that belies the fact that she’s only nineteen years old.
Born in Toronto, Canada in 1989, Steele wasted no time immersing herself in the arts. As a first grader, she began crafting her own made-up songs to go with her poetry, then began taking singing lessons, following a very early musical stage career made possible by her family: “Karaoke geeks,” says Cassie with a smile.
A natural performer, Cassie has been a regular cast member on Degrassi: The Next Generation since she was eleven years old, growing up onstage as her character Manny Santos. At the age of thirteen Cassie wrote and recorded the song “Prayer,” which was used nationally to promote HIV/AIDS awareness and first brought Cassie’s musical abilities to the fore. A successful debut album, How Much For Happy? was released in 2005, followed by two Canadian tours, highlighting Cassie’s evolving talents as a singer, songwriter and performer.
All of this leads up to Cassie Steele 2009. She’s got a new CD, Destructo Doll, ten songs, produced by SuperSpy, that she’s written which reflect the life experience of a wise-beyond-her-years nineteen year old. The music rocks hard-- really hard-- at times, then transitions into a gorgeous mid-tempo sonic landscape. “You and I” is a love song, stunningly honest and simple in its beauty, and masterfully showcases the nuances of Cassie’s voice.
That voice turns, well, Steeley, as Cassie ups the volume and rocks with wild abandon on “Groupie,” “Rock Star Beau,” and “Monster,” a playful nod to fellow Canadian musicians Heart. With “Mr. Colson,” her breathy delivery is reminiscent at times of Chrissie Hynde
“This record is much more my baby as opposed to the last one—I was so young and really, how much life experience did I have at that point? This time around, I felt like I had a point of view, you know?”
She’s not a particular fan of the recording process: “I don’t like being cooped up in a little box. I like to talk to people. I like being social.” The stage is where she thrives, loving every bit of the instant feedback she gets from audiences.
Not surprisingly, Cassie is most looking forward to getting on the road and showing off her new music in a live setting, along with all that the touring life brings with it. Backstage deli platters hold a certain allure for her as well: “I really like free food,” she says, “especially potatoes.”
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