The pop star is part Filipino

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil () - October 9, 2006 - 12:00am
The summer has ended and Christmas is fast approaching. By yearend, we will look back at all that happened in 2006 and along with the events recall the music that played in the background. Then we will discover that these past few months had as its main theme a seductive tune oozing with sass called Me & U. The performer is a 19-year-old newcomer named Cassie and Me & U is the first hit out of her debut album, which is simply titled Cassie.

There should be a great deal of interest in Cassie hereabouts. I mean, much, much more than what we would usually give new R&B artists. For all you know, you might be related to her. Although she grew up in Connecticut in the US, Cassie is actually part Filipino. Her full name is Cassandra Ventura. Her father is a Filipino who plays the trumpet while her mother is a mix of African-American and Mexican who is a pianist.

This unique combination must be the reason why she turned out to be a stunning beauty. Cassie started modeling at 14 and was already one of New York’s top models when she was recruited to become an R&B singer. Check her out in Adidas layouts from a year or so ago. Of course, given her music background, it is really no surprise that she made the transition to pop star without much effort.

Of course, it also helped that Cassie has the right sort of powerful people behind her. I do not know if it was a first but her rumored boyfriend, hot new producer Ryan Leslie who had worked with the New Edition and Beyoncé had this brilliant idea that made Cassie’s name a byword even before she has recorded a song. Leslie created a bidding war among record labels for Carrie’s services as a singer on the internet.

The first winner was Tommy Mottola, the same guy who made stars out of then unknowns Mariah Carey, Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Lopez. He signed Cassie to a management contract. Then she got a label deal with Bad Boy Records, owned by Sean Combs who is also known as Diddy, who was formerly P. Diddy, who was once Puff Daddy, who was once J. Lo’s boyfriend or whatever. He has changed his showbiz name so many times that I have totally lost track of them.

But back to the exciting Cassie. Although she is now getting massive support from the best names in the music business, it remains a fact that having the right genes and the right people behind you do not always add up to success. I still believe stars are born, not made and the fact that Cassie made it to the top on her first time at bat, makes her one of those rare beings born for stardom. Let us see how she holds up with her next single. I’d pick Kiss Me, which comes across as young and innocent with just a hint of sexiness or the mercilessly teasing Long Way 2 Go.

The CD Cassie is a smooth ride laden with commercial hooks. Her mellow, breathy vocals combine with pounding beats to create an infectious mix. She will never win a singing contest. being more hypnotic than powerful. But with so much creativity around her, she is certainly a great bet for the charts. Other cuts in the album are Go, About Time, Call U Out, Just One Nite, Hope You’re Behaving (Interlude), Not with You, Ditto, What Do You Want and Miss Your Touch.
Worth your while
Here now are the titles of more important album releases you might want to check out this Season. Visionary, an audio and DVD set featuring the hit singles and videos of Michael Jackson; 20 Y.O. by Michael’s little sister Janet who is now 40; Sam’s Town by The Killers; Oh My Nola, a collection of uptempo standards dedicated to New Orleans by Harry Connick, Jr.; The Open Door by Evanescence; The Information by Beck; Duets, An American Classic by the legendary Tony Bennett with other music legends like Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Celine Dion, Diana Krall, Bono, Elton John, Billy Joel and others. Bennett is 80 and remains the great crooning balladeer.

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