Today our Spotlight – Andrew Cassara. In light of all that’s happening right now with the current lockdown, it’s great to see new music coming out to keep everyone just a little more entertained. Andrew is an up and coming artist from right here in Ottawa and we got a chance to chat with him (from a distance) about his music and new single Bad Bad. Check it out!
How did you get into music?
When I was a little a kid, I was a huge fan of the Backstreet Boys. I remember how excited I was every single time their music videos appeared on television. I’d watch them and listen to their songs, and I knew all the words and dance moves, so I’d put on little shows in my living room for my family and sing and dance to their songs. Watching their concert videos and seeing all the bright lights and the fans screaming, it really inspired me. It started this dream about becoming an artist. That’s pretty much how I started becoming curious about music!
Who are your musical inspirations?
My inspirations have always been the Backstreet Boys as I grew up but as I started writing more and more songs, I started really getting into music from Maroon 5, Jamiroquai, Charlie Puth and lately Harry Styles. I’ve also opened my mind to learning about a lot of disco and funk bands from the 70’s and that really inspired me to add some retro flavours to some of the songs on my upcoming album.
You’re incredibly popular on socials, and are super engaging with your fans, I was quickly scrolling through some of your followers, and you don’t follow very many folks. Who’s someone you follow that you wish followed you back?
Man, that’s a really tough question! I’d say that a follow from Shawn Mendes would be pretty cool. I’ve been following him online for the past couple years and I’ve seen him live a couple times, so his career has been a good inspiration for me for quite some time. Plus, he’s Canadian too haha!!
You’ve been making quite a name for yourself here in Ottawa, playing at Bluesfest, Glowfair. What’s it like for someone from here to be playing on stage where you grew up seeing the artists that inspired you?
It’s quite a surreal feeling! I actually made myself a promise that I wouldn’t go to Bluesfest until I got the chance to be a part of the lineup. When I got the chance to perform on the main stage, because of the promise I made myself, I’ve never actually been to a music festival in my life so the whole experience meant so much to me. It’s one thing to see your favorite artists on the music festival poster, but to see your name on the same page with them, is a feeling that’s hard to explain. I felt really proud that day.
You also recently played at the Live at Heart Festival in Sweden, the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants), and in South Korea. Anywhere you want to hit up next?
There are so many places that I’d like to perform but for quite some time I’ve had my eye on the Summer Sonic music festival in Japan. I think that would be a wicked time! I’m also really curious about performing in more countries around Asia! I often get messages from fans asking when I’ll be coming to the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and China to name a few; so, I’m really looking forward to making that happen soon!
You were signed with Steve Gardiner when you were 17/18? What was that like?
One day I received a message in my inbox from Steve inviting me to record a song with him in his studio and the next thing you know, he’s my manager/producer. We’ve been working together ever since, and I think we make a really good team. He’s probably the person with the biggest heart that I know and I’m really glad that life has brought us together on this journey. I owe a lot to him for believing so much in me to this very day.
If you could have a dream collab who would it be and why?
Recently, I listened to the new Dua Lipa album that just came out. It’s very disco influenced and it’s probably one of my favorite albums this year. Since our styles a pretty similar now, I think that would make a really fun collaboration!
You’ve been very vocal in trying to open up better dialogue for mental health awareness, would you like to expand more on that?
Of course! A couple years ago I took part in the YouthXCanada Music Tour. We visited Youth Centres in many communities around Canada to perform shows for the kids and we spent a lot of time having open discussions about mental health and the stigma that revolves around it. Hearing all the stories from the kids in these communities and seeing how music can bring out smiles got me thinking.
While all of this was happening, I later realized that I was experiencing my own issues with Mental Health and I started pushing it off to the side because I didn’t really understand what was happening to me. It came to me that there are probably millions of cases around the world that are similar to mine. It wasn’t until things got much worse that I started speaking out about it and made efforts to try and solve the issues. So, I think it’s really important that I try my best to show that our mental health should be cared for like any other wound and that it isn’t a sign of weakness.
With your new single is dropping, any other big projects in the work?
Yeah! On May 1st, I’ll be dropping my debut album Freak on Repeat and then I’ll be working on bringing the album to the stage!
What was your creative process like for Bad Bad?
With “Bad Bad” the creative process set the pace for the rest of the album in my opinion. We worked so hard making sure that the song could be the best it could. It was definitely one of the songs that took the longest because we fine-tuned the all the elements in the track so meticulously until we decided that it was good enough to master. “Bad Bad” was also one of the first songs that I actually co-produced in my song-writing career. It was some of the most fun I’ve had in the studio. I really got to express myself creatively in a new way and in turn it motivated me to push myself to be more open-minded and take more risks by experimenting in various ways with the music style I’m moving towards.
What is the story you are trying to tell with your music?
I write a lot of different stories throughout my songs but the story that I’m trying to tell throughout all of them is to enjoy the moment and have fun!
What is the best music advice you have been given so far and what would your advice be to someone coming into the industry?
Probably the best piece of advice that I’ve gotten is from my manager. He often tells me that I should think of my career as a marathon, not a sprint. So, it’s really important to look at the big picture and focus on moving forward steadily. There will be lots of up and downs and you always get 1000 no’s before you get that one yes that matters. So, if you feel like nothing is happening in that moment, take a step back and look at how far you’ve come since this day last year. It’ll give you a better perspective on your situation and what you need to do to keep moving and doing what you love.
What do you want to tell your fans?
I’m so excited to release my debut album Freak on Repeat. I’ve been working on the album for 2 years and the time is finally near. I can’t wait to meet you all and perform the songs live for you!
With the current state of the world in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, I’d like to say that I hope you are all being safe and careful out there. I hope to see you all soon once all of this passes.
Sending lots of love – Andrew.
Check out the new single Bad Bad available now!
Make sure to follow Andrew for upcoming releases and new.
Spotlight – Andrew Cassara
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