Casandra Ventura (born August 26, 1986), known simply as Cassie, is an American recording artist, dancer, actress and model. Born in New London, Connecticut, she began her career as a result of meeting record producer Ryan Leslie in late 2002, who later signed her to NextSelection Lifestyle Group. During this time, Diddy heard « Me & U » in a club, and Leslie convinced him to partner his Bad Boy Records with Leslie’s NextSelection imprint for the release of Cassie’s debut album
Cassie’s self titled debut studio album was released in August 2006, peaking at number four on the Billboard 200 chart and features the Billboard Hot 100 top three hit « Me & U », which became a major hit in 2006. She began work on her second studio album in 2007 releasing three singles; « Official Girl » featuring Lil Wayne in August 2008, « Must Be Love » featuring Diddy in April 2009, and « Lets Get Crazy » featuring Akon in August 2009, which all failed to chart in the USA, in late 2009 Cassie signed a record deal with Interscope Records. On April 11, 2013 Cassie released her debut mixtape RockaByeBaby, the mixtape was promoted with the release of « Numb » featuring Rick Ross and « Paradise » featuring Wiz Khalifa.
Apart from music, Cassie is signed to modeling agency Wilhelmina Models and One Management. Cassie has modeled for Calvin Klein one and has featured in magazines including GQ and Bust and becoming the face of ASOS 2013 spring collection, Cassie has appeared in adverts for Delia’s, Adidas, Abercrombie & Fitch, Seventeen, and a commercial for Clean and Clear. Cassie is known for being a style icon due to her « edgy style » and « feminine » and « sophisticated » fashion. Cassie is known for setting the trend among women of shaving their hair, after Cassie shaved hers in 2009 influenced by punk. Cassie cites Kate Moss as her style influence. Cassie has also ventured into acting, she made her film debut in Step Up 2: The Streets (2008).
Cassie Ventura was born on August 26, 1986 in New London, Connecticut; the daughter of a Filipino father and a mother of African-American and Mexican ethnicity, Stacey Hobson. She attended the Williams School, a preparatory school, located on the Connecticut College campus in her hometown of New London. At the age of fourteen Cassie began modeling, and when she was sixteen, she was modeling for local department stores, Delia’s fashion catalog, and Seventeen. Cassie also briefly appeared in R&B singer Mario « Just a Friend 2002 » music video. Encouraged by producer Rockwilder, Cassie took vocal lessons as well as using her schools performing arts program, taking modern ballet.Cassie finished high school in 2004, instead of going to college like her peers she moved to New York city, where she returned to modeling and classes at the Broadway Dance Center. Whilst Cassie was in New York Cassie began booking print and commercial modeling gigs and being represented by Wilhelmina Models.
2004–06: Musical beginnings and Cassie
Ryan Leslie spotted Cassie at clubs and parties in late 2002 frequently. The two wrote a duet called « Kiss Me », and after recording the track, Leslie played the song for music executive Tommy Mottola. Mottola offered Cassie a management deal, and Leslie signed her to NextSelection Lifestyle Group, his music-media company he founded with online marketing partner Rasheed Richmond. Leslie wrote and produced Cassie’s first single, « Me & U », in 2005. The song became a club hit in Germany. During this time, Diddy heard « Me & U » in a club, and Leslie convinced him to partner his Bad Boy Records with Leslie’s NextSelection imprint for the release of Cassie’s debut album.
Ryan Leslie produced most of the album, which is a mix of R&B/hip hop/pop. Ventura said in an interview, « I rap, I sing, I do my R&B, I do my slow songs and stuff that the girls will love, I have a down South joint, I have a rock song that I did with my girls this band called Pretty Boys. » She paid tribute to her Filipino culture by incorporating OPM sounds into some of the ballads. The album, Cassie, was released on August 8, 2006 and sold 321,000 copies in the US. The album,s lead single « Me & U » peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, selling more than 1 million digital downloads. To promote her album, Cassie performed on Total Request Live and 106 & Park: BET’s Top 10 Live. Her performances were described as « rocky » and « less-than-stellar », but Diddy said that it was due to her inexperience. He said that he would be « with her through her development », and that he has no « question on her ability [to sing] ». Cassie addressed the events on her MySpace page, saying that she is aware that her performances were « pretty bad », and that she was « still getting over stage fright ».
2007–12: Film debut and Interscope records
MTV News reported in June 2007 that contrary to rumors, Cassie had not been dropped from Bad Boy Records after releasing two singles from her self-titled debut album. Diddy said that she was in the studio working with producers Kanye West and Pharrell Williams on her second album. It was also reported that Cassie was no longer collaborating with Ryan Leslie, who had produced the majority of her debut album. However, the singer later stated that she was open to collaborating with Leslie again. According to Bad Boy A&R Daniel ‘Skid’ Mitchell, rather than largely relying on the one songwriter-producer, the new album’s mix of writers and producers, as well as her own co-write input, makes it a more personal record for her. Additional production on the album came from Seven and LV, as well as Diddy himself. Cassie said that she had also collaborated with Akon, The Neptunes, Danja, Eric Hudson, The Surf Club and Rob Holiday, although she was not sure which tracks were going to be included on the album. Commenting on the number of producers on the album, Cassie said that she « collaborated with a lot of different producers and a lot of different writers, which was an amazing opportunity for me, because on my first album, one producer [Ryan Leslie] straight through…which was fun, but it was nice to experience other people. »
In 2008 Cassie made her film debut as Sophie Donovan in the dance film Step Up 2: The Streets, Cassie also sang the lead single Is It You to the Step Up soundtrack. The song was released on November 13, 2007 and peaked at eighty-five on the Canadian Hot 100 and fifty-two in the United Kingdom.
After several delays, it was announced in December 2009 that Cassie had signed a new record deal with Interscope Records. She is featured in a spread in the August/September issue of Bust in which she said a new single will be released in the fall. She has recently told her Twitter followers that she is still in the studio recording for her album. At the time of an October 2010 interview with HitQuarters, A&R Daniel ‘Skid’ Mitchell said that Cassie had already recorded around fifty songs for the album. Mitchell said that she was taking her time over the album because she is keen for « it to be something that people are going to respect. » She also appeared in rapper Wiz Khalifa’s « Roll Up » music video as his love interest.
2013–present: RockaByeBaby and second studio album
In July 2009, Cassie announced that the album’s title would be Electro Love. The idea was given to her by DJ Cassidy; Cassie explained by saying that « it’s basically the sound of the album. It’s not supposed to be taken so literal. ‘Electro’ could be like house and techno, but that’s not what it is, but it’s definitely a dance album. I just wanted it to be a reflection of that and the vibe of the music. It has that love song feel to it, but accompanied by that specific beat. » Cassie said that her new album will demonstrate more « independence »; there will be a « difference in vocals, a little bit more personality. And it’s definitely a sensual album. » Three singles have been released from the album; « Official Girl » featuring Lil Wayne in August 2008, « Must Be Love » featuring Diddy in April 2009, and « Lets Get Crazy » featuring Akon in August 2009. All three singles failed to chart in the USA.
Cassie released single, « King of Hearts », which was released in the United States on February 14, 2012, along with the official music video. The single, « Balcony », featuring Young Jeezy, was then sent to US urban radio stations on September 18, 2012. On September 13, 2012, Nicki Minaj released the debut single off her re-release album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded – The Re-Up, titled « The Boys », featuring Cassie. The song was then sent to urban radios on September 25 and a music video was released on October 18.
In July 2012, Cassie announced in a letter to her fans that she has been working simultaneously on her album and a new mixtape titled RockaByeBaby. Cassie has been working with producers will.i.am, Da Internz, and Toby Gad, and is hoping to release the album by the end of the year. Cassie revealed that Da Internz had produced two songs for the album that are ready, she continued to say that the mixtape would set the « tone » for the albums sound.
RockaByeBaby was released on April 11, 2013 the mixtape featured production from Rob Holladay, Da Internz, Young Chop, Mike WiLL Made It as well as guest features from Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Wiz Khalifa, Pusha T, French Montana, Too $hort, Fabolous, and Ester Dean. The mixtape saw the release of « Numb » featuring American rapper Rick Ross on April 2, along with the songs accompanying music video and « Paradise » featuring rapper Wiz Khalifa premiered on April 9, 2013 alongside the video on BET 106 & Park.
In April 2013 it was announced that Cassie was the face of the Summer 2013 Forever 21 collection.
Cassie’s musical sound is R&B, pop, and Hip hop soul. Vocally, Cassie has a « icy, almost robotic tone » which has « character and ability ». Cassie cites the late Aaliyah,Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Nine Inch Nails and La Lupe as musical influences. Cassie also cites Janet Jackson as a major influence, referring to herself as a “die-hard Janet Jackson fan” continuing to say “I’d love to emulate Janet Jackson’s career—totally, Janet Jackson is an incredible and fantastic, from her moves to her voice.” Cassie debut album was R&B and pop rock with urban and contemporary R&B styles, the album contained « looming synthesizer patterns » and « ice-cream-truck melody to give it a slightly twisted and threatening edge », as well as containing « flippant playfulness ». RockaByeBaby (2013) is an R&B and Hip hop mix tape that featured « dark » and a « raw, laid back vibe. »