I just had to answer all these questions for a possible blog feature and I had a lot of fun doing it, so I thought y’all might be interested in checking it out:

What is your first musical memory? My first musical memory is starting to watch MTV as a six-year-old back in 1989 and continuing to watch it through the early 90’s. Seeing videos like “Rock the Cradle of Love” by Billy Idol, “Epic” by Faith No More, “November Rain” by Guns and Roses and “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul had a huge effect on me. Now, music from that time period makes me happier than any other music. I’m so glad that some of the club music from that time STILL gets played in the club whenever I go out, 20 years later. “Show Me Love” by Robin S., the best song of all time in my opinion (which is NOT the same song as “Show Me Love” by Robyn from 1997), will apparently never die as long as there are clubs in New York City. Thank God for that!

What was the first concert you ever went to? It was probably some boring crap at Carnegie Hall, since that was right in my neighborhood, but the first real concert I ever got excited about going to was Jamiroquai at the Theater at Madison Square Garden with Busta Rhymes opening, in 1997, when I was 14, right after “Virtual Insanity” had just blown up in America. Jason Kay, the lead singer and songwriter of Jamiroquai, was an excellent showman, and I think he’s definitely written some of the best groovy/funky songs I’ve ever heard. Busta Rhymes was riding the success of “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” at the time, and he was adorable. It was nice to see Busta putting effort into his show then, because when he came and did a show at Harvard, where I went to college, 8 years later, he half-assed it worse than an amateur and I was really disappointed. The best concert I ever went to was the Spice Girls farewell tour, and if you don’t like that, you can kiss my @$$. πŸ™‚

What or whom do you go to for musical inspiration? There is some really incredible, soul-stirring electro-pop coming out these days, and most of it comes from my favorite artist, the UK’s Frankmusik. He is a total genius. There are also some amazing remixes of stuff like his floating around out there, including one of his song “Confusion Girl” remixed by Russ Chimes. That is the best, most beautiful electronic song I’ve ever heard. The use of strings in that song is just heavenly. Then of course I always draw inspiration from early 90’s club pop, like stuff from Black Box, C&C Music Factory, Robin S., etc, because they were the masters of perfectly danceable pop that makes you happy, and I just think that sound needs to come back in a big way. I’m always happy when someone tells me my songs remind them of early 90’s club music. That is the highest compliment I can get.

Without using the words “alternative,” “pop,” or “rock,” describe your sound. Early 90’s club music-inspired electro dance amazingness.

Stones or Beatles? Neither. Sorry! I like synthesizers. I respect and am in awe of both groups, it’s just that I don’t really listen to anything they’ve put out.

What’s your dream collaboration? Frankmusik, Robin S, Britney Spears.

Do you find the song or does the song find you? Mostly, the idea for the song and the melody pop into my head as a response to me thinking about something in my life that usually has to do with love, relationships and dealing with emotionally retarded boys.

How do you discover new music? I check Frankmusik’s twitter over and over to see if he’s put out anything new. Also, I listen to terrestrial radio (sorry!), internet radio (everybody happy now?) and occasionally check the odd blog about electro/dance music.

So there you have it. Whaddaya think? Leave a comment below. πŸ™‚

Sunday night was crazy. I went out to Jersey to see the debut of the film that used my song, “Anything You Want.” It was quite intense. VERY dark movie, but my song was used just the way I expected, as the background music for a scene portraying a photography shoot of a model. Everyone liked my song and another filmmaker who was there is interested in using my stuff in her films because of it, so that was great.

After that, I went to my friend’s birthday party, where I performed on the dancefloor, then I ran off to Posh bar to do the 11:30 show with Mimi Imfurst and Go-Go Harder Faster Stronger. (Sometimes I wonder if I should have a crazy stage name, but I don’t want to be called anything other than JC, and hey, Britney and Madonna use their real names!)

The show at Posh was so much fun, and another important reminder that being out there on the scene makes such a difference in my career. That night, I got a lot of sign ups to the mailing list, met a fabulous DJ (DJ Scotty Rox) who is super sweet, loves the same music I do, and wants to play my music in the clubs! I sold my CDs and made new friends, including the fabulous and hilarious drag queen, Blackie O (I cannot get over these amazing names!!!), and met the manager of Posh, who is interested in having a lot more shows/programming there, and it was great to find out that he’s a really sweet and approachable guy who loves what I do. Once you get out there, you find that the people who control access to the stages you want to perform on are really not scary or mean at all. In fact, they’ve been nothing but friendly and fun so far!

So for the last 8 weeks I’ve been in the Songwriters Hall of Fame song workshop and it has been a total blast. I’m SO glad I did it and I strongly recommend it to all you songwriters out there. You have to audition to get in so the quality of the other participants is high, the leader of the workshop, Peter Bliss, is wonderful, and the experience has just been really helpful and enriching. I’ve really loved it.

One thing that was a little tough about the workshop in the beginning was my songs weren’t getting quite as good of a reception with the industry folk as I thought they might, but of course this taught me what I need to work on to be more successful, which is the most important thing.

But tonight, I played one of the forthcoming songs from my album, Four on the Floor, called “My Ex is Delicious,” a super fun Britney-esque pop ditty about not being able to let go of an ex flame. I’m really proud of it and think it’s awesome so I was really excited to share it with the class, and sure enough, everyone really loved it and the feeling was unanimous among the leader and classmates that the song is a hit. Finally! It was such a wonderful feeling to hear them say that. I loved it. I can’t wait to get the recording done so you all can hear what I mean, and I really can’t wait to try to find a way to send it to Britney Spears’ people to see if I can get them to listen and pass it on to her. I think it could really work for her, and of course that would be such an enormous thrill. So yay.

So far the workshop seemed to be most enthusiastic about My Ex is Delicious, Hold for Your Lovin’ and Dance Dance Dance, so I think those three will definitely be on my demo. I’m so glad I finally have a better idea of what should be on there. Now I just need to figure out what the fourth song on there will be, and then I can print it up and start passing it around!

For the last many weeks, I’ve been working on writing and recording the rest of the tracks for my upcoming debut album, “Four on the Floor.” I want to have at least 12 tracks on the album, and of course I want them to be as good as they can possibly be since I’ll be starting to push this material to bloggers and other press and internet radio and potential and existing fans etc etc, so I’m taking my time and trying to make it perfect while also hurrying and trying to get it out so I can start promoting it and hopefully start seeing the fruits of that promotion.

Right now, as you know, I’ve got six tracks finished and posted on jccassis.com (click on “music”). I have one more track that’s ready to be finished in the studio but there was a technical snafu I have to go back and fix. Then there are three tracks that are ready for vocals, one track I’m not sure about, and two songs I’ve written but not started the recordings for. So I’ve got to decide what to do with the track I’m not sure about, record vocals for all 6 songs that don’t have them recorded yet, and make tracks for two more songs. That’s a fair amount of work, but if I’m diligent about it I should be able to get it done over the next couple of weeks. Then it will be time to take everything to the studio to be mixed and mastered, then FINALLY the album will be done, I’ll cull a demo from it, and start sending them both out into the world. Of course I’ve also got to make album art for it and get some hard copies printed up to give out and sell, but at least all the creative work will be done for a while.

Happily, I’m VERY inspired to write these days so I’m confident I will continue to come out with new material a fair amount even when this album is finished and released, but my goals for right now are 1) to have a demo to give to industry contacts, 2) to have an album to send to reviewers/bloggers/give to potential fans/sell at shows/be my presence on iTunes and all other digital retailers, and 3) be finished with this album so I can spend the vast majority of the next few months promoting the hell out of it and hopefully get somewhere with it. It will be a LOT of work. I’ve got to get it all over internet radio, try to get it licensed for use in film & TV, get as much press for it as possible, make music videos for some of the songs, try to make as many new fans as possible through social networks and shows, and on and on and on. But I can’t start any of this until the album is done, so that’s what I’m trying to make happen right now. Once it’s done though, I hope I can count on you to help me get the word out! πŸ™‚

p.s. I also got accepted into a songwriting workshop at the Songwriters Hall of Fame starting next week, so I’m hoping that will give me even more insight into writing hit songs as well as get me connected to some great industry contacts. Lady Gaga met her producer through a Songwriters Hall of Fame showcase event the story goes, so I can’t help but be a little excited about what opportunities this might bring about for me… πŸ™‚ The first assignment is to write a song for an artist of your choosing that a publisher or record label would want, so of course I picked Britney Spears, and the song I wrote is REALLY good and REALLY in her style so I REALLY hope they like it! πŸ™‚

The best moment of my life thus far.
The best moment of my life thus far.

There is an artist that I LOVE who I’ve been listening to for at least the last year and a half who is amazing, who is brilliant, who is my inspiration. He is from the UK and for a year and a half I was trying to figure out how/when I was going to get over to London to see him play. Then Perez Hilton’s tour brought him to NYC tonight, so I went to see him. His name is Frankmusik and if you don’t know about him, you bloody well should, because he’s just the best in every way. (www.myspace.com/frankmusik) I had corresponded with him a bit over myspace and facebook (he’s a fan of mine on facebook, which just blows my brain out of the back of my head), and hoped to meet him one day, but didn’t know how or when it would ever happen. Well, boy, did it happen tonight! Here’s how it went down:

My delicious friend Lane and I went to the show, waited for an hour for it to start, and then Perez Hilton came out and announced that the first act would be Frankmusik and I just lost my shit. He did his set and I screamed so loud and so much I partially lost my voice. I jumped longer and higher than I ever knew I could, getting plenty of extra stamina from the excitement of the show. I just couldn’t believe that after a year and a half of watching his videos and hearing his songs and meeting him on myspace, here he was, right in front of my face, performing the songs I loved so much. It was sort of killing me that he was ten feet away from me but probably didn’t even know I was there, since when you’re on stage you can’t really see the audience. So I just waved and yelled as much as I could, and hoped the light would catch my disco-ball visor that I’ve worn at my last few shows (see pics). Then the end of his set came, and Lane and I left to go get some dinner. I figured I’d come back to the venue after eating to see if I could say hello after the rest of the show.

So I come back from dinner after about an hour, and as I’m walking along the street toward the venue, I just looked at the sky and prayed in my head that somehow I’d be able to find him and say hello, even for a second. I get back in front of the venue and who’s coming right out the door but FrankMusik!!!!! And before I say anything he looks up, sees me, his jaw drops and he says “JC?!?!?” and lemme tell you, that was like the best fuckin’ moment of my life. I DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO SAY HELLO FIRST BECAUSE HE KNEW WHO I WAS FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT’S LIKE IF BRITNEY SPEARS SAID HELLO TO ME FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!

Breathe, breathe. So anyway, he says, “JC?” and I was like “Hey!” and we hugged a big wonderful hug and chatted a bit, and I said “Did you see me in the crowd?” and he was like “Yeah!” and we talked about my disco ball visor and I was like “Now, I’ll give this to you, but you have to wear it, because it will look fabulous on you!” And I gave it to him he really liked it and we took a couple of pictures (see pics).

The second best moment of my life thus far.
The second best moment of my life thus far.

Then he said he was really hungry and I said we could get a bite, and he said sure, after the show. So then he went back in and I saw him around the show a bunch of times while the other acts were playing, but other people were always talking to him, so I didn’t want to hog him, haha. But the whole time I was trying to get my head around the idea that this amazing artist I’d only known through the internet, who’d been an ocean away the whole time I’d known of him, was standing in the same room in the same building in MY city, and had just spoken to me! It was so surreal. If you’ve never gotten a chance to meet someone you idolize in real life after only knowing them from the internet, I recommend it. It’s like living inside a wonderful, ridiculous dream.

So after the show I waited for him to come out of the venue, which he finally did, and asked if he still wanted to grab a bite, but he was tired and wanted to go to sleep. I did get to chat with him about how his album had done in the UK and what he’d be up to now (HE’S COMING TO AMERICA TO RECORD!!!! YAYYYYYY!!!), and he was so sweet. “It was so great to finally meet you after all this time–it’s been years!” he said. I just wanted to give him hugs, which I did a few times, and each time we hugged he’d give me a peck on the cheek. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) It was such a funny position to be in, talking like friends but me freaking out inside because I’m also such a huge fucking fantard of his, but him being so sweet and friendly and remembering everything about how long we’d been in touch etc. I was blown away by how sweet he was.

There are certain people I know that I’m just wild for and when I see them I just overflow with love and affection. I get really enthusiastic about expressing that love, because, well you know, because love is the most important and wonderful life-affirming, life-sustaining force there is. So even though we’d hugged a few times already, before I let him go, I was like “I just wanna give you one more hug before I go,” and as I hugged him really tight and my face was right by his ear I couldn’t help but say “Iloveyouyou’resofuckingawesooooooooooome!!!!!” which he was very sweet about. I fucking love this guy. You have to buy his album right now!

But the story doesn’t even end there!!! I started walking west down 15th street, still just dizzy from joy and amazement, and when I got to Union Square I hear someone whistle at me and he yells out “Hey JC!” from his cab. I turn around and there he was, hangin’ out the front window, talkin’ to me. Can you fucking believe it???!??! So my brain was just on auto-pilot I was in such shock and I was just like “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeey FrankMusik!” in my silly voice. And then I kept walking while his cab was at a stop light, and then his cab caught up to me and we waved and said hello again, and then he said something else I couldn’t hear as his cab sped away and I went into the train station. Standoffish he is not. He is THE BEST. SO SWEET. TOTALLY AMAZING. MADE MY NIGHT, WEEK, MONTH, YEAR. LIFE!!!!!

FRANKMUSIK, ILOVEYOUYOU’RESOFUCKINGAWESOOOOOOOOOOOOME!!!!!!!!!

Cannot WAIT till you come back to New York!!!!

And also, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!