I'm workin' it with others a lot these days!

Forgot to put this in my update below. The other thing that’s been keeping me busy recently is collaborations, collaborations and more collaborations! Like these:

1. Last night I laid down vocals for two Hepnova songs, and they’re pretty awesome. Hepnova is my two friends Lee-Sean and Nick, and you can check out their stuff at hepnova.bandcamp.com. They’ll be replacing the lead vocals on their songs “Again Tonight” and “You’re For Me” with my vocals very soon. It’s always a ton of fun recording vocals with Lee-Sean in his lower Manhattan studio, which is where the Can’t Stop (Remix) video was filmed:

He also posted a bunch of silly self-portraits I took during the session on facebook, so if you’re not already my friend on facebook, friend me at facebook.com/jccassis so you can see them.

2. At a music networking event last week, I ran into producer Alex Morelli, for whom I sang on a demo last year, and whom I hadn’t seen in a year! He and I will be working on some songs of his very soon.

3. I got a request through a new YouTube friend to record some vocals and help write on an awesome dance song they’re working on, so I gotta lay those down and send them off asap.

4. Got a ton of remixes coming down the pike as soon as the people who are working on them finish…

5. I have found a DJ to add to my live shows, which I think will up the energy so much and allow me to keep the music going while I talk between songs. She is awesome and her name is DJ Ahomii. The way we met is the randomest story ever and I love it. I was performing at the Bandshell in Central Park in November. She walked by during my set with a very cute French bulldog. I petted the bulldog. She took a picture. Then she randomly found me on facebook two months later and showed me the picture. I talked to her and she said she was a DJ. I asked if she wanted to be my DJ, she said yes, and we’ll be rehearsing together soon to start doing shows together as early as April 25th! I think this is going to be such a huge help. With a DJ, my show will be way better which will make me more proactive about booking more shows, as well as make me more marketable to people booking shows, especially in clubs and at dance parties. It will also make it easier and more fun to tour since I can play small dance-centric bars and clubs anywhere if I come in with a DJ. She also loves the same music and songs I do and has a flair for crazy fashion on stage and is super nice. I think this collaboration is going to be a lot of fun for the two of us.

YAY!

Me at Public Assembly after my show. Photo credit: Niko Lamas

So a few weeks ago my friend Joe Gatti of the band JoGaBot invited me to play a show with him at Public Assembly on 12.26.09. I was excited to be invited, but I don’t think I thought the show would be as important to me as it ended up being. This show was a really important moment for me.

1. I put a bunch of time before the show into cleaning and flat ironing my wig, which meant that instead of it looking like the cheap, everyday costume store plastic hair that it is, it looked stylized and slick, and really completed my outfit nicely (that rug really tied the room together, man!). I really felt great about how I looked at this show, and it paid off because it got a lot of people taking pictures and video of my show, which I don’t think they’d do if I didn’t look unusual and interesting and capture their attention. Attracting attention of a nice photographer at the venue, by the way, is what got me the gorgeous photo you see above. And I love that photo!!!!!!

2. It was a full on solo show in a venue with beautiful sound, and I got a great quality video of the whole show, courtesy of my wonderful friend Elijah. This allowed me to really see that my show really sounds excellent with tracks on a great sound system and live vocals, and there’s nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to performing with tracks. What I bring to the table as an artist is the ability to write and record songs in my home studio and sing them live, not play them live, and my show needs to consist of me doing what I do best to best showcase the music and my performing abilities. I think performing with tracks does that, and now I have fantastic video evidence of that to show to any promoter/booker who thinks a show performed with tracks wouldn’t work or be enjoyable or sound awesome, because it is awesome and enjoyable. Finally, I have good video of what I can do live as a solo act! I am SO relieved and excited about that and I think it will be a great help as I go about trying to book a lot of shows this year.

3. I had a great time with this show and was very happy with how it turned out, and there were a lot of random people in the room who heard and watched the show and signed up for my email list afterwards. As I went around the room collecting email addresses, a lot of people kept saying to me “I really hope you do well with this, because you really deserve to. You had such great energy up there and your voice is amazing!” and things like that, which was awesome. People seemed surprised that I was able to put on a high-energy show in a low-attendance room, but my feeling was, a) you have to do your best at every single show because you never know who’s watching, even if it’s only one person (and I proved this with this show, since if I hadn’t given a great show, I wouldn’t have won over any of those new fans) and b) I knew I needed a great video of me doing a great performance, and dammit, I was going to get it come hell or no audience! (And I did!)

Workin' it!
Workin' it!
Singin' with LS
Singin' with LS

Above: shots from the 9/9 ITPalooza show at The Tank, NYC

So September has been and will continue to be a very busy month for me, with a total of 6 shows!!! If I’m not mistaken, I think that’s an all-time high, and it’s a lot to deal with, because of course every show is a very important opportunity to do my best and make new fans and book new shows. Here’s the rundown for this month:

9/7 Guest spot in the Legs Malone Show at Public Assembly (www.myspace.com/thelegsmaloneshow). This show was a lot of fun. I did two songs, met some great people, and booked another guest spot at another burlesque show for later in the month! Score! Pictures coming soon I hope…

9/9 Half hour set with LS Huang of Hepnova (who did my “Can’t Stop” remix) as part of the ITPalooza, a showcase of bands containing members of the ITP Grad program at NYU. This was so great and so much fun. The Tank is the perfect music venue in my opinion. It’s small and intimate, has standing room and seating, a great stage, full lighting and sound equipment, etc. My outfit was great and I learned an important makeup tip: painting white around your eyes looks weird, not pretty, and makes your eyes look smaller. You simply have to line your eyes in a dark color to make them stand out more. Note taken! But the cool thing was that my outfit and makeup were eye catching enough that people walking down the street kept noticing and talking to me, asking if I was part of a dance troupe, and what show I was going to, etc etc. The audience at this gig was small (I really gotta start insisting on only playing Fridays and Saturdays asap–it worked for Lady Gaga! :), and I had a whole stage to play with, so I really let loose with this show, singing my balls off and rolling around the stage and being over the top with the dance moves. It was all caught on tape so hopefully I can post some clips soon. Met some great contacts at this show, too. Hopefully that means some new collabos coming up soon!

9/15 One hour show at 12:30 outdoors at 345 Park Avenue, then rehearsing all afternoon with my ex-accompanist the fabulous Socrates Cruz of Moniker for our set of Mexican songs at my friend’s Mexican Independence Day Party at Stay at 7pm. This is going to hurt, but it will be fun and it will be worth it. Ojala que pueda recordar todas las palabras!

9/19 Guest spot at Sugar Shack Burlesque at Jalopy, 315 Columbia Street, Brooklyn, 9pm. (www.sugarshackburlesque.com)

9/24 My MEANY Fest show, 8:30pm, Crash Mansion, 199 Bowery. Followed by an all-night bike ride through the five boroughs! Is there any end to the insanity??