I’m not even sure how this happened, but apparently everyone and their mother wants me to perform at their May event. SEVEN shows this month so far! Check out the schedule and come see me do my thing! You can always find my full show schedule on myspace.com/jccassis or facebook.com/jccassis (scroll down on the left) as well.
Wednesday May 5, 8pm (I’ll go on about 10pm): half hour set at Gaby Gala, an upscale party at the fabulous Hudson Terrace, 621 West 46th Street. Tickets: http://gabriellefink.com/gaby-gala/
Saturday May 8, 6pm: one hour set at Sugarland during their Shopaholic event, featuring indie clothing and accessories vendors from Brooklyn. 221 North 9th Street, FREE.
Friday May 14, 7:30pm: half hour set opening for Comandante Zero (my favorite band and great friends of mine) and the amazing Soulfege at Santos Party House, 96 Lafayette Street, $10 at the door.
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!
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).
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!!!!!
So the show at the Dance Parade After Party in Tompkins Square Park really kicked ass. It was my first one with just me, backing tracks, and backup dancers and was so much fun. Also it was the first show in a long time that I didn’t have to bring the damn crowd, which was so great. There were about 200 people crowded right around the stage watching and more standing around the park listening, so that was awesome. The sound system was great and the dancing went great and I really held it down. Through it, I met a few DJ’s who all said they’d like to work/perform with me and/or spin my stuff in clubs, so that is totally awesome. I’ll finally get the club play I’ve been dreaming of!!
1. It definitely helps to have an identifiable genre/sound that you belong to. Though I’m specifically going for dance-pop since I want mainstream success, my music is similar to some House music, and people kept coming up to me after the Dance Parade show saying “So you’re a house artist, right? I love house music. I’m a house DJ, you should come play at this club…” etc etc. When I was doing other types of music and trying to figure out what direction to go, no one ever said, “So you’re a country/pop/comedy/dance artist? You should come play at my country/pop/comedy/dance show…” because no one has multi-genre shows and opportunities for the most part. Each genre has its own world and its own path to success. Singer-songwriters have the coffeehouses, college circuit, songwriter groups, rock clubs, etc, dance artists have djs, producers, club performances, etc, rap artists have battles, mixtapes, etc etc. So picking your genre will make it much easier to see the path you have to travel. Now that I know I’m doing dance-pop/house, I know I need to pursue DJs and producers who will play and improve upon my tracks and spread them around, and I need to perform in straight and gay dance clubs, not coffeehouses etc. Makes things a lot clearer and when you know what you have to do, it’s a lot easier to get it done.
2. At an AIMP song pitching event, one of the record label A&R guys explained that a hit song is really just a series of hooks. A great hook for the verse, a great hook for the prechorus, and then a series of a great hook, an even better hook, and the biggest and best hook comprising the chorus. Then, the bridge should be even better than the rest of the song. This is so true. Think of a hit song on top 40 radio right now, and it’s likely it will fit into that mold. Now that I know that, I think it will help me make sure my songs are hit material.
P.S. I’m getting a wee bit sick of doing all this self promotion, which is a hazard of this job that I never thought of before. It gets sort of boring and annoying to have your life be about you you you all the time. That makes me laugh though. And the simple fact is, if I don’t do it, no one else will, and it’s required for getting anywhere in music, and I am determined to be successful at this, so that’s life I guess. And now, back to twitter/myspace/facebook/thesixtyone/gmail. Barf.
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.
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. 🙂