Brace yourself for the fierceness in these photos. I warned you.

JC Cassis with bacKspace at the 2010 Dance Parade. Photo credit: Cyz Chen
JC Cassis with Charmin Ulltra of bacKspace at the 2010 Dance Parade. Photo credit: Cyz Chen
JC Cassis with bacKspace at the 2010 Dance Parade. Photo credit: Cyz Chen
JC Cassis with bacKspace at the 2010 Dance Parade. Photo credit: Cyz Chen
JC Cassis with bacKspace at the 2010 Dance Parade. Photo credit: Cyz Chen
Krystal Something-Something at the 2010 Dance Parade. Photo credit: Cyz Chen

So every once in a while I have a moment in my life that is just too good to believe. That moment was performing with bacKspace at the Dance Parade this past Saturday. Allow me to explain:

I love bacKspace. Love who they are, love what they do, love how they do it. If you don’t know about them, read about them now. I needed backup dancers for the Dance Parade show, and I needed them fast. I emailed Krystal Something-Something (one of my fave stage names ever) to ask if they’d dance with me for this show and she said yes. We scheduled four rehearsals over two weeks which were super fun and full o’ laughs and fierceness. Now, Krystal Something-Something, Charmin Ulltra and I all look VERY different out of costume than we do in costume, so even though we were doing the dance for real in rehearsal, it was a whole different animal when we did it on stage. One of my proudest moments thus far was when, at the dress rehearsal, I changed into most of my stage outfit from my rehearsal clothes, and Krystal smiled and said quietly but approvingly, “You look like a superhero.” Now in case you don’t know, both Krystal and Charmin are total geniuses when it comes to looking amazing, so that meant quite a lot to me.

Anyway, the experience of doing the show was awesome from start to finish. First, I came a runnin’ down East 10th street to find my two beautiful drag queens stretching and looking amazing, then we walked across the street to Tompkins Square Park, where the stage was, to see that there was an ENORMOUS crowd watching the stage. As soon as we got into the park, everyone was asking to take our picture. We felt like rock stars. So we took a bunch of pictures, then we warmed up in the backstage area, then before we knew it, it was time to go on. We took the stage and gave it all we had and it went amazingly well. People were freaking out over it. The host was like “Oh my god, that was so amazing, I think I just had some anal leakage,” after which I promptly pretended to faint at the outrageousness of that. What was funny about that besides the obvious was that I had mentioned to bacKspace that we shouldn’t be foul or vulgar on stage in any way because it’s a family event and I wanted to be invited back, but we ended up doing such a fierce job that the host had to talk about “anal leakage” anyway. HA HA HA. Anyway then as soon as we came off stage, there were like 4 pro photographers taking our picture at once who were all like “Over here, please! Over here!” like paparazzi! Then a lot of the people who saw the show ran over to the table to sign my mailing list and they all wanted autographed CD’s. I felt like a total rock star. So awesome! Can’t wait to do more shows with bacKspace cuz that’s how my shows are all meant to be! I’ll post video of it soon!

To see LOTS more incredible photographs of this performance, friend me on facebook!

JC Cassis, AFP Clash of the Artists, Drom, NYC, 3.27.10. Photo credit: DJ Ahomii

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.

Saturday May 15, 11pm: half hour set at Kostume Kult’s Black and Light ball, an insane party fundraiser for Burning Man. Tickets and info: http://www.kostumekult.com/events/blb2010/

Sunday May 16: short set, details tbd

Saturday May 22, time tba: 2-song set at the Dance Parade after party in Tompkins Square Park. Backup dancing involved! FREE.

Thursday May 27, 9pm (I’ll go on at 10pm): half hour set at the Women Who Rock show at the historic Stonewall Inn, 59 Christopher Street, NYC. Details tba.

I’m sure I’ll have lots of ridiculous stories to tell after each show! 🙂

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!!

Couple tips:
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.

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. 🙂