Yay!

I meant to write this chain of events down right when it happened, and then four days passed. Oops! But check this out:

1. Many weeks ago, I went to see my friend Anna Haas play a show at an event called Drinking for a Change.

2. At that show, I met one of the D4AC organizers, Peter Dunn.

3. I went to a Songwriters Hall of Fame networking meeting where I met a singer/songwriter/producer.

4. This singer/songwriter/producer was also in the Songwriters Hall of Fame New Writers Showcase at the Bitter End.

5. Peter Dunn hosts karaoke on Tuesday nights at Barracuda sometimes.

6. Peter invited me to do karaoke at Barracuda with him.

7. I went to Barracuda to do karaoke with Peter.

8. At Barracuda, I ran into the singer/songwriter/producer.

9. He introduced me to the owner of Barracuda, who had been to the Songwriters Hall of Fame show and loved my set.

10. THE OWNER OF BARRACUDA ASKED ME TO PERFORM AT BARRACUDA AND ELMO LOUNGE!!! These are both totally awesome gay venues. Who else came up in gay venues, you ask? Madonna, Bette Midler, Lady Gaga, the list goes on. VERY exciting.

11. At Barracuda, I sang my favorite song ever, “Show Me Love” by Robin S.

12. Mimi Imfurst, the host of karaoke that night, loves that song and all the 90’s songs I sang there.

13. I won the karaoke contest  and $100.

14. Mimi Imfurst asked me to sing with her on a future project she’s concocting, as well as BE HER SPECIAL GUEST this Sunday at Posh, where she wants me to sing “Show Me Love” and an original song of mine.

15. Posh is another fun gay club in Hell’s Kitchen, and I think this show is going to be REALLY fun and effective for expanding my fan base and proving that I can be a great entertainer for a gay club crowd, which will hopefully lead to more gigs and more fanbase expansion!

I’ve been wondering how and wanting to break into performing in gay clubs for a long time, and assuming that it would be really hard, when really, it’s just like anything else: once you’ve done the work to get good, it’s who you know. I did the Songwriters Hall of Fame showcase because I knew Peter Bliss. At the networking event and showcase, I met the singer/songwriter/producer. At Barracuda, he introduced me to the owner and I got to know Mimi Imfurst, who hooked me up with the show on Sunday. It’s also the old adage: 90% of life is showing up. If I hadn’t gone to Anna’s show or the networking event, I wouldn’t know Peter or the singer/songwriter/producer. If I hadn’t gone to karaoke, I wouldn’t have met the owner of Barracuda or Mimi Imfurst. Once I was there, all I had to do was be friendly and sing well, and from that I booked three gigs. Makes me wonder what the hell would happen if I went out to these kinds of things every single night! Maybe I should!

Also, I am VERY excited about the fact that the following chain of events also happened recently:

1. I went out with my dear friend Elijah to Sugarland in Brooklyn.

2. Sugarland is an AWESOME little gay club that is the perfect size, has a great crowd, plays great music, and has live performances on a little stage on the dancefloor that are very similar to what I do.

3. I asked someone how I get to perform there. He told me to talk to the bartender.

4. I talked to the bartender about what I do and asked how to perform there.

5. He booked me into the once-monthly showcase, Street Smart, on April 25th, from which he often culls acts for the dancefloor performances. If I impress him there, I’ll get to perform again at Sugarland!

So, the awesome news is that it seems if I just get out there and do what I do best (singing, performing, talking to people, chasing the opportunities I want), the results can be really amazing, easy and quick. Hoo. Ray.

Whoa, such busy times these are! Here’s what I’m working on:

1. Switching PRO’s. SESAC will actually help further my career with actual support and connections and opportunities. ASCAP is better for people who are already connected and making gobs of money than for people who need all the help they can get from all possible sources. Hoping this will lead to some great doors opening. It sure helped the woman who wrote “Womanizer!”

2. Trying to finish another new song by this weekend so I can give it to the band to learn before Wednesday’s rehearsal. Lyrics and melody are done but making the backing track takes mad time and thought.

3. Prepping for tomorrow’s show at the 2009 Dance Parade in Tompkins Square Park (on at 5:55pm tomorrow at the Main Stage). Just had a dance rehearsal with my childhood friend Yvonne, whom I’ve known since I was 7 and who’s now a pro dancer, and her fab friend Shyrelle. They are both amazing dancers. Was great to dance and learn choreography again. You know, I can really move. 🙂 Made me want to get in way better shape, because there’s nothing more demanding of stamina than dancing and singing and entertaining all at once.

4. Collabing. Gotta write songs for two tracks from a fab woman I met at the ASCAP conference, had a remix made of “Everybody’s Crazy In New York” by DJ Identity and am waiting for two more remixes of my songs, one coming from Germany and the other from England. That happened from Myspace friending. It really does work! Also writing with the producer I sang for for the AIMP song pitching event.

5. Still myspace friending as much as possible every day I can, up to over 9,000 friends now. Almost at the original goal of 10,000 set both to get new listeners and create the impression that my stuff is worth listening to because a lot of other people are listening to it, which is true. People are really loving the music and I’m getting about 150 plays a day. 50 times what I got when I wasn’t using myspace often.

6. Studying music internet marketing and going to revamp my operations to be more effective.

7. Made a music video for “Can’t Stop (Remix)” which people have been loving. So proud of it. Check it at youtube.com/jccassis

8. Gotta record vocals for “Obsessed” and “Hands Off,” the two totally kick ass new songs I finished about a week ago. Time flies.

On the horizon:

1. New music videos, especially for “Everybody’s Crazy in New York”

2. New songs. I’m in a writing frenzy and having monthly shows is making me want to have new material at every single show.

3. Street performances, hopefully in Union Square, during the summer. Hopefully both full band and me with tracks and dancers. Can’t wait for that. Will be such a challenge, will improve my live show, grow my audience, and make some change. So so so exciting.

4. Almost ready for seeking out gay dance club gigs. Got a connection at Webster Hall, but not sure if that’s the right place to start off, rather than go when I’ve got a bigger following. But they have a small basement space that could be perfect. Still, I know that Therapy in Hell’s Kitchen has live shows, and that is a medium sized gay bar, so I should prolly see if I can start there and at similar small gay venues to have more intimate shows and get out there and meet/make fans. My music seems to strike a chord with gay men, which is exactly what I wanted, so I need to go to them and show them what I’m doing and see if they like it enough to start helping to build me up to where I want to go. If you can get a strong gay following, it can really grow from there. See Bette Midler, Madonna, Lady Gaga, etc etc etc.

Non-music:

Am looking into getting Invisalign to straighten out my teeth. Sick of taking pics that are ruined because the angle makes me look like I’ve been punched in the mouth one too many times. Need teeth that can be photographed from any angle and look good.

1000 business cards arrived today. Went through 500 really fast last time, wonder how long it will take to run out of these guys. Prepared to hand out a LOT of them tomorrow. 🙂