Big news. BIG news.

For the past many weeks, I’ve been involved in a new girl group project with a female singer named Rony Goffer, and a drag queen named Mimi Imfurst, both of whom are friends of mine. It’s a very exciting and fun project with a huge amount of potential, but I just assumed from the beginning that each of us would continue to do our solo work and then also do this group together. Last night we had a meeting, and it seems that won’t be the case. Apparently, as soon as we sign an exclusive recording contract in a few weeks, I will no longer be able to release new music under the JC Cassis solo project. This feels like a huge sacrifice, but given the potential I see for the group and where I think it could lead us, I think it’s worth it. Still, it’s pretty tough to deal with at the moment. I feel bad for my fans and most of all I just feel like I can no longer do the thing that’s been most important to me for the last few years: working on my solo project. I totally get why this is the way it is, but it doesn’t make it any less jarring.

Although the decision was easy to make because of how much I believe in this group’s ability to be the next Spice Girls, what I’m losing through this choice feels like a lot to lose. Business-wise, I understand that it makes more sense to go with the project with more immediate potential for grand scale success, more connections, a more professional product, and a professional team. Heart-wise, it’s going to be tough to be known as a member of a group before I’m known as an individual. I just have to keep reminding myself that my goal was always to be hugely successful in music and to make my living solely and richly from only performing, writing, and developing business ventures related to my music. I also have to remember that, as Simon Cowell said in his book about the music industry, it’s much easier to be successful if you launch yourself as a solo artist after having huge success with a group. Many of my favorite solo artists have come from groups, including Bjork, Beyonce, Sting, Justin Timberlake, etc etc. Having been in a hugely successful group enabled rather than inhibited their success, and in some of their cases, people generally don’t even think of them as having come from a group, even though they did.

I believe in this group and I certainly don’t intend to use it as a stepping stone and then forget about it. I hope and expect that we will have great success together and build a huge fan base that cares about us as a unit, not just as individuals. When that does happen, it’s going to be immensely fun and lucrative to continue to be active as a group, and I look forward to that. It’s just that I also love the idea of being a solo success, and I hope to have both happen before too long.

So, I just wanted to alert you, my fans, to what is going on. Just so you know, the only reason I won’t be releasing new music as a solo artist for the time being is that I will be contractually unable to while I work on this girl group project. The group project, however, will be hugely active in the New York scene and around the world, though, so in a way, you’ll probably be seeing more content from me now than you have before, and it will be higher quality and even more exciting. It’s just that now, it will be in the context of this new project, and you’ll get to know Mimi and Rony along with me. And please know that, once I’m able to, I will absolutely come out with new solo material that will be even better than what I’ve put out so far.

By the way, the name of the girl group is XELLE (pronounced “excel”), and you can follow us on Twitter as @XELLEmusic. We’re also on www.xellemusic.com and on facebook as XELLE. Our vibe is fierce and fun dance/pop music, so if you like what I’ve been doing thus far, I think you’ll love XELLE’s stuff, and please know that I will be co-writing plenty of our material with the rest of the group, so you’ll still be hearing my musical voice as well as my regular voice.

I also want to thank you all for supporting me thus far and sharing this journey with me. I strongly believe that it’s the work I’ve done and the success I’ve had as a solo artist that led me to this group opportunity, which in turn will lead to great pop music success, which was the whole point from the beginning, and which couldn’t have happened without you. So thank you so much, and please stick around for all the exciting new developments to come! I can’t wait to see you on stage with XELLE, and I can’t wait to see you again as a solo JC Cassis further down the road!

I just had to answer all these questions for a possible blog feature and I had a lot of fun doing it, so I thought y’all might be interested in checking it out:

What is your first musical memory? My first musical memory is starting to watch MTV as a six-year-old back in 1989 and continuing to watch it through the early 90’s. Seeing videos like “Rock the Cradle of Love” by Billy Idol, “Epic” by Faith No More, “November Rain” by Guns and Roses and “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul had a huge effect on me. Now, music from that time period makes me happier than any other music. I’m so glad that some of the club music from that time STILL gets played in the club whenever I go out, 20 years later. “Show Me Love” by Robin S., the best song of all time in my opinion (which is NOT the same song as “Show Me Love” by Robyn from 1997), will apparently never die as long as there are clubs in New York City. Thank God for that!

What was the first concert you ever went to? It was probably some boring crap at Carnegie Hall, since that was right in my neighborhood, but the first real concert I ever got excited about going to was Jamiroquai at the Theater at Madison Square Garden with Busta Rhymes opening, in 1997, when I was 14, right after “Virtual Insanity” had just blown up in America. Jason Kay, the lead singer and songwriter of Jamiroquai, was an excellent showman, and I think he’s definitely written some of the best groovy/funky songs I’ve ever heard. Busta Rhymes was riding the success of “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” at the time, and he was adorable. It was nice to see Busta putting effort into his show then, because when he came and did a show at Harvard, where I went to college, 8 years later, he half-assed it worse than an amateur and I was really disappointed. The best concert I ever went to was the Spice Girls farewell tour, and if you don’t like that, you can kiss my @$$. 🙂

What or whom do you go to for musical inspiration? There is some really incredible, soul-stirring electro-pop coming out these days, and most of it comes from my favorite artist, the UK’s Frankmusik. He is a total genius. There are also some amazing remixes of stuff like his floating around out there, including one of his song “Confusion Girl” remixed by Russ Chimes. That is the best, most beautiful electronic song I’ve ever heard. The use of strings in that song is just heavenly. Then of course I always draw inspiration from early 90’s club pop, like stuff from Black Box, C&C Music Factory, Robin S., etc, because they were the masters of perfectly danceable pop that makes you happy, and I just think that sound needs to come back in a big way. I’m always happy when someone tells me my songs remind them of early 90’s club music. That is the highest compliment I can get.

Without using the words “alternative,” “pop,” or “rock,” describe your sound. Early 90’s club music-inspired electro dance amazingness.

Stones or Beatles? Neither. Sorry! I like synthesizers. I respect and am in awe of both groups, it’s just that I don’t really listen to anything they’ve put out.

What’s your dream collaboration? Frankmusik, Robin S, Britney Spears.

Do you find the song or does the song find you? Mostly, the idea for the song and the melody pop into my head as a response to me thinking about something in my life that usually has to do with love, relationships and dealing with emotionally retarded boys.

How do you discover new music? I check Frankmusik’s twitter over and over to see if he’s put out anything new. Also, I listen to terrestrial radio (sorry!), internet radio (everybody happy now?) and occasionally check the odd blog about electro/dance music.

So there you have it. Whaddaya think? Leave a comment below. 🙂