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Surfacing

Turning the spotlight on musicians making a commercial breakthrough.

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“Cassie”

Cassie

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Bad Boy/Atlantic

Artist info: With a successful video, and many remixes, pushing her first single “Me & U” into the top five of the CHR/Pop chart for several weeks and the third most-purchased tune on iTunes, Cassie is turning into Diddy’s Delight. Her debut album is showing signs of more than 100,000 in sales. Her Myspace page has received more than 3 million hits and shows no signs of slowing. Under the guidance of producer Ryan Leslie, she has fashioned an album that slots easily into the new hybrid stream of R&B; with nods toward hip-hop and pop. Her distinguishing vocal delivery is soft and languid, unlike almost every other singer out there who shouts you into submission. The album deftly flirts with adult themes but in a youthful way.

Back story: Cassie was born to a Filipino father and African American mother, lending her an exotic, video-friendly look. At age 16, she met with record producer Rockwilder (Redman, Janet Jackson, Busta Rhymes), who encouraged her to take vocal lessons. It was a good foundation for a music career, although she started modeling in New York soon after graduating high school. Leslie provided more encouragement by recording a track that reached the ears of record mogul Tommy Mottola, the man behind the careers of such singers as Jennifer Lopez and his ex-wife, Mariah Carey. Mottola was impressed enough to sign her to a management deal and this year she cut a deal with Diddy’s Bad Boy label.

Influences: Aaliyah, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey.

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Trivia: She was a model for the highly regarded Wilhelmina agency with whom she found work for Abercrombie & Fitch and Adidas.

-- CASEY DOLAN


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