So last night I rehearsed with my band, with the lovely and fabulous Dan Freeman of Comandante Zero on keys. It was soooooo fun and funny and I really want to take some rehearsal footage soon so you can see all the fun we have. Most of the songs were in really great shape on the first run through, which was awesome. The new ones are coming along too, which is exciting cuz I love them and I think you all will, too. There’s a song I wrote called “I Just Wanna Hold You,” that we’ve started putting together that I LOVE so much and every time John plays the bass line live I go nuts, it sounds SO good. Can’t wait for you to hear it, and you will if you come to the show on Dec 19th, where we’re performing it.

I now have 9 of 12 songs totally in the can, ready to go, and just have to record vocals on the last three as soon as I’ve rested my voice a bit, practiced the songs, and have a few hours free with a quiet house. I’m thinking that now I should just release the album in 2010, since I don’t want to be pushing it to bloggers in 2010 if it’s a 2009 record, since that will make it seem older. Ayayay it’s so much later than I’d hoped, but what can I say? Life has a way of intervening.

A wonderful British pop star/writer/producer in my songwriting class named Darren Ockert wants to collab with me, and I really want to work with him too, so we should be getting together soon to come up with some poptastic magic. Cannot WAIT for that cuz he is so talented and such a total sweetheart. Can you believe I’m the first one in his life to ever point out to him that the letters in his last name can be rearranged to spell “Rocket?” Neither can I!

So you’re aware of how great Comandante Zero are, please check out this video that proves that EVEN PARROTS CAN’T RESIST DANCING TO THEM!!!

I had the day off today, and boy did I put it to great use! Here’s what I got done today:

1. FINISHED THE TRACK FOR MY SONG “SAY IT,” FINALLY AFTER SO MANY WEEKS OF TRYING! This track was driving me nuts because I’d listen to it and think it was good the way it was, then listen to it again and have a nagging feeling it needed to be tweaked and filled out more, but I never knew what to do with it until today when I fixed the beat to be a little different than the same old dance beat and added a string part that really gives the chorus some more urgency and meat. Whether it’s the absolute best it could be remains to be seen, but I think people will really like it and it will be great once I put vocals on it and play with those vocals in the studio. This might be a very auto-tuned song, but it will be on purpose.

2. Finally made the facebook event page for our big house party concert coming up on December 19th and invited all 1400-something of my facebook friends. I had been meaning to do that for a couple weeks and now it’s finally done. It prompted someone I met at a networking event to get back in touch with me, which is awesome. I think since the show’s free and on a Saturday night we’ll get a much better turnout than usual, and I’m looking forward to that.

3. Rescheduled the band rehearsal to a different space and notified the band.

4. Caught up on allllllll the emails I hadn’t answered from last Wednesday to now (fan mail and personal). Everyone wants a piece of me this week. Oyoyoy. But fun stuff ahead! I LOVE that my fans are really starting to keep in touch with me regularly and on an ongoing basis, and are writing back to my fan emails. That was the idea all along!

5. Added new fans to my email list, yay! I’m getting better at getting people on my list, which is great because that’s the most important place for them to be if they really want to stay up to date on what I’m up to!

6. Finished writing my parody song that I’ll upload to YouTube soon. Glad it’s still in the iTunes top ten! Got to tape and upload it quickly though…

7. Got the final details ironed out for my private show coming up. This one will be a lot of fun and will generate some great YouTube videos for me to upload! And hopefully they’ll also be good for using to book more private shows like this one!

8. Worked out my look for the private show. It looks great. Includes a new silver sparkle hoodie I found over the weekend (at the same shopping complex where I found my other one!), which has way more sparkles on it than the other one. I’m so excited to debut the look!

9. Pre-purchased distribution for my forthcoming album (now 75% DONE!) from TuneCore to get the 25% savings on it. Can’t believe it will finally be time to put it out there soon! Also can’t believe how late it is given the deadline I gave myself of late September, hehe.

So it was a great day and I feel great for having accomplished so much. I still have SO many things I want to do tomorrow, like practice for my show, upload a lot of YouTube vlog/rants on various topics, upload the new music I have to share, and on and on. But for now, what I got done today will have to do. See you at my show on December 19th!

 

There, did that get your attention? Just wanted to make sure you’re getting as hyped up as I am about my free house party show with my band and Comandante Zero on Saturday December 19th, 9pm at a secret location that you must email me at talktojccassis AT gmail DOT com to receive, or you can just check out the facebook invite I’ll send out.

This show is going to be really great, and I’m hoping for a great turnout. It’s free, it’s fun, there’ll be music and beer and snacks and a great NYC apartment–what more could you ask for?? Plus, finally finally finally, it’s on a SATURDAY NIGHT! No more of this Wednesday/Thursday BS. We are playing real nights now!

Check out my music here as always, and Comandante Zero’s amazing electro-funk here.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

crazy dude

The Classic American Nuclear Family

This past week was a busy one with two big shows. The first, at R Bar, was my first show with my live band in four months, so it was great to get everyone back together and rock the house. Problem was, the house was pretty small. I was glad to have a few new faces there, and everyone enjoyed the show, but the problem is, when your show is late on a weeknight with a $10 cover charge and your friends are either broke and available or have some money because they’re working past 10pm on a weeknight, that doesn’t make for a big audience. That will be my last weeknight, high-cover-charge gig for the forseeable future. I wish these small venues and bookers would be more flexible about door charges because they really hurt draws for small bands/artists just starting out. Thank god there are some venues that will do shows with no cover where you can pass a tip jar so the musicians still get paid. That makes more sense to me since the venue makes more money off the bar than anything else, and more people in the venue means more money for the bar! Oh well, at least some venue owners understand that. The other option we have is to do gigs at house parties and other spaces where we can control the audience’s experience. So, to that end, our next show will be Saturday, December 19th at a friend’s loft in SoHo, which means no door charge, prime timeslot, free drinks, food, relaxed atmosphere, and good times. Plus we’ll be playing with the amazing Comandante Zero, an excellent electro-funk band out of Brooklyn who are friends of mine, so there’ll be not one but two awesome shows in one spot! I’m really looking forward to that show. If it’s still hard to get a good crowd at a free show on a weekend night with six weeks advance notice, then, to be honest, I’m not really sure what I need to do, haha.

Dance Dance Dance
"I don't care what you think, gonna flip my hair and sip my drink!"
Everybody's Crazy in New York
Everybody's Crazy in New York
JC Cassis
Me post-show

The show on Saturday in Central Park had a much better draw because it was Central Park on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with a mammoth sound system. I had so much fun! I’ve always wanted to perform at the Bandshell and indeed it was a great time. I had a guest spot between house music DJ’s as part of Art for Progress’ Sunset Jam in Central Park, and sang “Anything You Want,” “Dance Dance Dance,” and “Everybody’s Crazy in New York.” Now, if you frequent the Bandshell area of the park, you know the regular crazy people who are always there, and they were there in full force! There’s the guy with the green ‘fro wearing brightly colored women’s clothes with a poodle and a parrot that he dyes crazy colors who skips around as people frantically take his photograph, and then there’s the old guy who either leaps and spins in circles continuously for about ten minutes at a time and never gets tired, or he stands in one spot and shakes his chest up and down as if he were an old, male, crazy Shakira in sweatpants. It’s a sight to see. I go to that area of Central Park all the time and I’ve seen those guys a lot, so it was pretty surreal to have them dancing to my music as I performed it. And it went absolutely perfectly with “Everybody’s Crazy in New York,” LOLOLOLOL. I wrote that song because it’s true, and they’re the perfect evidence of it!

me with crazy guy
Posin' with a parrot on my head
Dancing with crazy guy
Breakin' it down NYC style. That parrot has a great sense of balance.

The show was also great because a lot of little kids were there who really liked my music, and it always makes me happy when kids like my music. One little girl came right up to the stage and watched my set and would wave back to me and smile when I waved to her. Then later, she was like “I really liked your songs,” and SANG “Everybody’s Crazy in New York” BACK TO ME! SO CUTE AND AMAZING! Then this tween boy asked me for a hug and to have a dance-off, and this group of tween girls really liked my stuff as well. And another tween girl came up to me and was like “Did you go to Spence?” I swear, I cannot go anywhere or do anything outside without a Spence girl coming up to me! They’re everywhere! And I’d never know it if I weren’t always doing weird things outside! One lady asked if I’d come sing at her Christmas party. Not Christmas songs, my music. Everybody’s crazy in New York…

Me and little girl
Me and my new favorite little fan! (in the pink jacket)
from little girl's perspective
...and from her perspective!

One thing that drives me crazy is that no matter how much people like your music and want to take your info to look you up online after a show, people are SO hesitant to sign up for the mailing list, which everyone in the indie music world says is the one thing you HAVE to get people to do. I totally get it because even when I’ve gotten on people’s email lists, I often don’t have time or desire to read the emails, I’ve never bought their music, and I’ve never been to their shows, and I often don’t get on the email list in the first place because of all that. But it’s just hard to have people say they love your music or your show and then decline to ever hear about your shows in the future. You just have to hope they’ll remember to look you up later, which is where getting a song stuck in their heads comes in. But that’s why it’s ALL about getting publicity. If I were getting publicity and people were seeing my name over and over again, they’d start looking me up and having a context in which to think of me. When I hear of something once, I forget about it, but if I keep hearing about it, eventually I check it out. So I’m excited to start pushing for publicity once the album’s done so I can see if it helps the way I hope/think it will.

Dancing
In New York City we dance to house music.
more dancing
In New York City we dance to house music with babies and crazy people.

See you at that show on December 19th!

Follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/jccassis

All photos by Berette Macaulay except the fourth, ninth and tenth, which are by Kenny Bae. Thank you Berette and Kenny and Art for Progress!