Interview – Andrew Cassara

Andrew Cassara has dropped his latest single, “Bad Bad,” on all streaming services today, March 27, 2020.

The Ottawa-based pop artist is releasing the single as the first off his forthcoming debut album. The album will be the latest release since his 2018 album “The Big Bang.” In between new music, Cassara has been performing all over the world – through South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and North America. He’s shared the stage with notable acts like Shawn Mendes, Tyler Shaw, Chromeo, and New City.

We caught up with Andrew Cassara to find out more about his inspirations, his new music, and his ultimate career goals.

Tell us about the role music played for you growing up. Was the goal to always pursue it professionally?

Since I was 4 years old, I was a huge fan of the Backstreet Boys. They really planted the seed in my mind in terms of music and performance. I was literally hooked from day 1; I had all their CDs and was always watching MTV just in case their music videos came on. I even remember begging my mom to go to Burger King because I saw a commercial advertising that if you bought a kids meal you would get a VHS tape from their Millennium tour and action figures of the band members J Man, I wanted to be one of the Backstreet Boys so bad, I learned all their dance moves and I would put on little performances for my family in the living room and sing their songs.

At one point my mom entered me into a Backstreet Boys Karaoke Contest put on by one of the radio stations in my hometown. The grand prize was tickets to go see their show in Montreal and I wasn’t old enough to win but my mom submitted me for the contest anyway. The crazy part was that out of the hundreds of people that entered, the judges chose me as the winner and because I was under-age, I think my mom just bought me the tickets. I remember seeing that concert, it was one of the best moments of my life. The bright lights, seeing them dance and hearing them sing all my favorite songs. I’ll never forget seeing that show and the inspiration it gave me. It’s a big part of the reason I became a recording artist. I recently saw them live at a music festival for the second time in my life and it was just as awesome as the first time I saw them. It was a reminder that they inspired me to do what I’m doing today. I actually get emotional when I think about it.

As a young, up-and-coming artist who do you look to for inspiration in the industry?

For the past couple of years or so, I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from the artists that are a similar age to me. I loved watching artists grow from a relatively unknown status to global superstars. It fires me up! While discovering myself as an artist, I’ve watched Justin Bieber, One Direction and Shawn Mendes become the mega-stars they are today, and this has really inspired me. I really enjoy going online and watching their careers grow. The stories really inspired me to dream bigger than life and it gives me hope. I know that If I continue to work my hardest, stay loyal to my team and put everything I got into my career, maybe I could be up there with them one day.

More recently, one of the most amazing stories that I feel resonates with me as an independent artist is BTS. Based on what I’ve read and seen, they’ve been working day and night for several years side by side with their indie label to grow their career. I really respect that loyalty and work ethic. That’s a core value that I feel deeply about and seeing a group like BTS bridge cultures around the world and create such a powerful movement by being themselves is a true example that passion, honesty, hard work and loyalty are some of the key ingredients to realizing this dream.

You’ve had a lot of experience touring internationally. Tell us about the perspective that gives you as an artist. What do you take with you back home from those experiences?

Touring internationally has helped me understand that the world is a big place, but also very small at the same time. I’ve come to realize that people around the world are all very much the same, no matter where we come from. It’s truly amazing that music is such a universal language that can be understood by all people no matter what language they speak. Thinking back on my last trips I met so many amazing people, learned so much about so many new cultures and it’s influenced me and my music immensely.

One of the most marking moments for me was when I went to South Korea to perform at a music festival in Seoul. After the show, I got the chance to meet some of the fans and my mouth dropped when I learned that some of them travelled for hours and even from different countries like China to meet me. There was a bit of a language barrier, but it was a lot of fun to hang out with them after the show. One of the girls actually brought me a gift bag with Korean sweets, a teddy bear and a letter that she wrote in English. It was one of the most touching moments that I can remember, and I cherish those gifts to this very day. It actually inspired me to start studying Korean when I returned home. Learning the Korean language has allowed me to make great friends, learn a lot about the world and allowed me to open my mind to different cultures. Now I’m even more excited to return to Korea to perform and this time I’ll be practicing my Korean as much as I can!

Why was pop music the direction you took as an artist? What called you to this particular genre of music?

Initially, definitely my idols. I always loved pop music, there’s no doubt about that. The production and sounds are usually very engaging and that’s something that I want to deliver in my music. Growing up in the boyband era-inspired my love for Pop music. I always loved seeing how the genre had such a great impact on people around the world. Every time I’d turn on the tv and watch MTV I’d see all the screaming fans and it was just so surreal to me. I feel as if today we are seeing a resurgence of the boyband/girlband era and it makes me really happy to see that millions of people probably feel what I felt when I was a little kid. I think that’s the beauty in the genre, it’s a very “living in the moment” thing! There aren’t any specific constraints as well, almost anything goes. The genre gives you a lot of opportunity to fuse many elements together and make it unique to the artist. I recently discovered a passion for Disco, Funk & Rock. The great thing is that with pop music I can add flavors of each of these genres to reflect my personality through the songs.  Pop music changes often but somehow seems to stay fresh. The pop music of today will not be the pop music of tomorrow and that’s something that keeps it interesting.

Your new single “Bad Bad” is out now and it’s incredibly catchy. Tell us about creating this song and why it became the single.

Creating “Bad Bad” was lots of fun. It’s a song that I had a specific vision for and seeing it come to life in a way that surpassed my expectations puts a big smile on my face. I wanted to write a song that gets people going in the moment and allows them to lose themselves in the music. It started with a simple bass line similar to the one on the final mix, and the groove just made me move every time we played it. The words of the first line in the chorus “Dance Dance Dance” pretty much became the theme for the song and I had fun coming up with the story. In the studio, we had a feeling that this would be probably the first single from the album as we were writing it. My team and I worked extremely hard on this song to make it as good as it could possibly be. There was a lot of collaboration and so much exchanging of ideas that in the end, we ended up having over 40 mixes before we decided it was ready to master. I’m really proud of this track and I’m so happy that it’s out there for the world to enjoy now. Now it’s time to rock it live!!

What can you tell us about your upcoming album?

“Freak on Repeat” is my debut album. It’s been 2 years in the making so I’m really excited to be able to talk about it openly now! It’s a pop album with a lot of different flavors. I recorded this album with my longtime producer, a guy that I’ve been working with since I started this journey.  The studio sessions were always filled with jokes and ridiculousness when the band was around for recording. The amount of inside jokes that came out of the making of this album is an accomplishment in and of itself.

On the record, you’ll definitely notice some Disco, Funk, and Rock in the mix! The songs are pretty diverse but to me, they fit together nicely. I think the record is an experience that is fun because as you go through the album, the songs are all unique in their own ways. I got to learn a lot about myself during the creative process and I was involved hands-on, every step of the way. I co-produced every track on the record and in a couple of them, I wrote & produced the skeleton of the songs along with the initial sound design.

Actually, something that I realized when making the album, is that when you’re working on the songs every day, listening to them over and over, you kind of lose perspective. At that moment, you don’t hear them as songs anymore, more like a project. You pick out all the details in your head. But, when you sit back and listen to the tracks with someone else, you kind of hear them from their point of view. It’s a strange feeling but when I listened to the songs with my family and friends, it just felt really good. It was kind of a confirmation that I liked what It was becoming and that made me really happy. Listening to the album from front to back and seeing it all come to life is pretty strange when you’ve been working on it for so long and put so much work into it. It’s like seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel. I’m finally ready to say that the album is coming out on May 1st and now more than ever I can’t wait to hit the road and meet the fans!!

What would you consider one of your top career goals? What do you ultimately want to accomplish as an artist?

I’d say that one of my top career goals would be to continue traveling. In the last year and a half, I’ve seen some beautiful countries and it has been a thrill to be able to share my music with people across the world. As my fan base grows and as I connect with more and more people, both musically and through social media, I hope to be a positive influence and give people great music that they can enjoy!

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