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!

The cover of my album, Four on the Floor!

So I don’t think I ever got a moment to blog about it, but a few weeks ago (um, 2010 is passing by way too fast!!!) I did a superfun photo shoot with the amazing and wonderful (and Australian!) Alex Green at his glamorous SoHo apartment, where I did the 12/19 show. We shot three different looks for about 4 hours and got some amazing shots out of it. I have many favorites, but one of the overall best shots is definitely the one you see above, which I ended up using as the cover of my album. I posted it on facebook (friend me here) a couple days ago and people have been loving it. I’m so glad!

Which brings me to my next exciting bit of news, which is that the cover art, and all the art for the hard copy CD and booklet of my album, are now done!!! Once I have a moment to do a final listen-through of all the tracks and final proof of the artwork, it will be time to order HARD COPIES of my album to sell at shows and pass around to industry folk, and put the CD on iTunes, FINALLY. It’s been a year-long journey (woulda been much shorter without a day job, but what can you do), and I am so excited to finally have a finished product to show for all my hard work and banging my head against the wall trying to write great songs (which I TOTALLY have).

I will be continuing to release the album track by track through my website over the next many weeks, and by the time I’m finished, the whole album will be available for purchase on iTunes, which will be so great. I’ll finally have a proper presence there again, and I can’t wait to see the sales and reviews from fans. 🙂

I recently performed for the third time at my alma mater, the Spence School, where I went to Kindergarten-12th grade, and as usual, it was so awesome and was my best audience of the year. Each performance there has been better than the last, because the girls keep up with me online in between performances and know my music before I come perform it, so they’re really excited to hear it and I’m really excited to perform it for them.

I was a bit nervous about this performance because it was the first one consisting of my new dance-pop music and none of my old stuff, and I wasn’t sure how much they would like it, but a few weeks before the performances I spoke to some of the girls on facebook and they said they were keeping up with my new music and loved it, so that made me feel more confident.

The performance was not only tons of fun but also really boosted my confidence in the quality of my new music. It is really fuckin’ good. I worked hard on it and made it the best I could and it really paid off because people really enjoy it. Also, performing with tracks is a totally legit way to perform because people still really enjoy what they hear and they get to hear everything as I wrote it, with the same sounds and all the back up vocals, and I think that is really important. Every time I played a song the girls were dancing along and having a great time listening, and they really cheered loudly at the end of each one. I still get totally exhausted singing and doing minimal dancing when I perform a song, and I don’t quite know what to do about that. Run and sing on the treadmill like Fergie?

The only drawback of the show was that somehow the camera didn’t end up taping the show at all. Not one second. Which REALLY sucks because I was hoping to get SIX AWESOME youtube videos out of this performance that really could have helped my exposure and been an EXCELLENT resource to use for bookings. It is the PERFECT gig because it’s great sound, great lighting, and a REALLY large and enthusiastic audience who knows and really enjoys me and my stuff. It is SO LAME that the taping didn’t work OH MY GOD. Not to mention that it was a really special 35 minutes of my life that I REALLY would have liked to have on tape. GODDAMMIT! Oh well, next time. Barf. Will try to get some great video from the Dec 19th show, where of course the lighting will suck and therefore probably so will the video. Goddammit goddammit goddammmiiiiiiiiitttttt!

Whew. Anyway. Focus on the fuckin’ positive, right? I AM SO ANGRY. Ok. Here are the wonderful moments from the performance:

1. I didn’t chicken out about wearing weird stuff. I did the show in my bright pink wig, my new silver sequin jacket, my black sequin tank, my pink tights, and silver boots, and dramatic makeup. I was considering toning down my look for the audience and then realized–wait a minute, this is what I do, this is who I am, and my fans expect me to do it. So I did it up! And everyone was saying how much they liked my wig and outfit and asking where I got my clothes and shoes. Right decision made!

2. Had the fascinating realization that when 12 year old girls in middle school don’t know you and you’re an adult wearing weird things, the experience of them asking you about it is totally different than when you’re their 12 year old classmate wearing weird things. When I was 12 I would get really upset when people at school questioned what I was doing or wearing and didn’t get it. Today, I just told them I was dressed like that because I think it looks pretty and it makes me happy, and that was that. Realized I probably should have done that in middle school, too. Probably wouldn’t have worked though. That’s middle school for ya.

3. Before the performance I sat down on the floor with the girls in the front, joking like I was a student waiting for the assembly to start, and ended up chatting with a lot of them before the show. It was a nice way to break some ice and was also cool because I went on to blow them away with my show and they were all so excited to tell me how much they liked it afterwards.

4. I did a lot of new songs in the show, including “Friday Night Forever” and “Hold For Your Lovin'” which the girls really loved. Was great to hear that people are really liking my new stuff because I think it’s pretty great, too. The girls also insisted on singing Texas Boys a capella with me, which was really fun. Can’t believe I remembered all the words off the top of my head when I haven’t sang or listened to that song in at least 8 months. Was of course great to hear the girls singing along and knowing all the words.

5. When I performed “Dance Dance Dance” the girls sang along, and it was quite a funny thing to see these tiny 11 year olds singing “I don’t care what you think, gonna flip my hair and sip my drink!” I inserted the words “of juice!” after that phrase the first time I sang it. Very funny. One of the girls said that was her favorite song, which I love.

6. The girls chatted during my songs and at first I thought it was because they weren’t listening but when I asked what they were talking about, they said they were talking about how awesome I was. I told them to keep talking. Heeeeeeey!

7. Got the girls to do a big “Heeeeeeeeeeeey!” with me, which was funny. The girls also made a big banner with my name on it to hold up which was sweet.

8. At the end of the show the girls asked where Socrates was, to which I replied, “Well you know that’s funny, I mean, it’s funny that you ask, because the thing about Socrates is, well, he’s…he’s dead, haha,” quoting the line from Annie Hall when she says that about her grandma when Alvy asks about her. I then explained that that was a joke from Annie Hall which no one in that room has ever heard of BECAUSE THEY WERE ALL BORN IN THE MID TO LATE 90’s.

9. After the show the girls all took my business card and then ran over to me to have me autograph each one. I gotta say, I LOVE signing autographs! It is SO FUN! Hope to do a lot more of it in the future. Plus the nice thing is, hopefully since I signed all those cards they hung on to them and used them to look me up on the web! (A lot of them did–I’ve got a LOT of pending facebook friend requests from the girls and the song plays on my page are way up today. Yay!)

10. A couple of the girls asked if I would come and watch their choir rehearsal, which I did, and they sang the song they were working on for me there. I could tell it meant a lot to them and I was really happy to watch.

11. A lot of the girls were really excited to see me and were telling me that they were my biggest fans and they wanted hugs and to keep in touch and everything. Love that! It’s so cool to be on the other end of the fan love, cuz I know how I feel about the people I’m a big fan of, so it’s really cool to think I have people who feel that way about me. Hooray!

All in all it was a great success and a great experience and next time I will do everything in my power to capture it on film NO MATTER WHAT and share it here! The teacher who books the assemblies said she’d definitely like to have me back, so I’m already looking forward to next year’s performance! Gotta get in on the upper school assembly too, and should look into other school performance opportunities out there in case they exist! 🙂

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!

So the other night, I was trying and trying to write the track behind a lyric and melody I’d written and it was just not happening. The song I’d written sounded a LOT like another song by someone else that I really like, so that song was in my head when I was trying to make my song sound different, and it seemed really impossible to make my song significantly different and still really good. So I decided to write a new, totally different song to be the 12th song on my upcoming album, Four on the Floor (listen to the songs on it so far here), and man was that a good idea, because I came up with a really catchy, really personal song that was very easy to come up with instrumental ideas for. Now I’m really excited to finish it, because once I have, all the instrumental tracks for the album will finally be done, and I can start putting down all the vocals, and once that’s done, I can put the music out for you to hear! It’s way past my self-imposed deadline of the end of September, but better to have an album of 12 tracks I’m really proud of than a couple of great songs and a few I was hesitant to put out. So in short, I’m very excited about getting these songs out.

In other news, I finally signed up for Jango.com, an internet radio station that claims to have 7 million monthly users, and which will play my music alongside major label artists who have fans that would probably like my music as well, so I really hope that will be another boost to my exposure and fanbase. Now I’ve really got to sign up for Sound Exchange, which distributes royalties to artists and songwriters for internet airplay. My listens on Last.fm are starting to pick up, and with Last.fm, TheSixtyOne.com, facebook, myspace, youtube, Jango, jccassis.bandcamp.com and all the other places I’ll be putting my music to be played online, I have a significant amount of plays to get paid for. Hopefully it will provide a nice little chunk of pocket change. 🙂

I’m also really excited because I have my first rehearsal in 3 MONTHS with my live band tomorrow. I love them all so much and playing with them is SO much fun, so it’s sure to be a laughter-and-music-filled two hours. We’re getting ready for our next show, on November 5th, 10pm at R Bar, 218 Bowery, NYC. See you there!