In this interview, I had the privilege of speaking with upcoming songstress, Cassidy Shooster. At only 18 years old, this Coral Springs native has been described as “alluring” and “ethereal” since the release her debut song “Waste” back in October. Although she only has one song under her belt as of right now, the song was good enough to accumulate over 75,000 plays on Spotify, 14,000 plays on SoundCloud in 4 months, features on countless music sites, and even became Arcane’s Video of the Week. I got the chance to speak to her about her decision to become a musician, what it was like hearing “Waste” for the first time, and much more!
Read below for full interview:
Q: Before we begin, would you like to introduce yourself?
A: My name is Cassidy Shooster. I am 18 years of age and a senior in high school. I am from Coral Springs, FL and was born and raised here. I am a singer/songwriter and play piano and guitar.
Q: You’re relatively young – how long have you been interested in music, at least professionally?
A: I have been singing all my life, but I started writing seriously and making music professionally when I was 16, a junior in high school. I was writing since I was very little, but when I started to experience more ad had more to write about, that’s when it all became real for me.
Q: Is it true that besides singing, you are also pretty good at piano and guitar? Is it safe to say that music is something your family supports?
A: I have been playing piano since I was 6 years old and I started playing guitar when I was around 14 years old – so I’m a little stronger in piano than guitar. I’m interested in mastering both instruments and being able to incorporate both in my live performances. I love them both equally, but sometimes I like playing one more than the other depending on how I’m feeling. Music is surrounded in my family; my family is filled with musicians and artists. They support everything that has to do with music.
Q: Since you are a new artist, I must ask – did you have any fears/concerns about putting yourself out there?
A: I don’t have many fears about showing my artistry, but, still being in high school, it’s hard to have people accept the choices you make with being an independent artist. Since the stereotype of a high school teenager is to go to college after high school, not many understand why I don’t want to go to college right away and work only on my music until I decide to go to college (one day).
No matter what, someone isn’t going to agree with you in something and that goes with anything – not just music, so I just have to prepare myself to stay true to and humble, no matter what.
Q: Is there any advice you could give those who may want to become artists – but are too afraid of what others may say/how others will react to their music?
A: I advise people who are too afraid to show their music to go see locals perform live. Seeing others do i helps you get over the fear of saying you can’t. Also, engraving in your mind the mission you have behind your music will help you get through the fear. If you know why you want to do it, then nothing should get in your way.
Q: I know that you are inspired by artists like Banks and James Blake – what is it about these artists that influence you?
A: I mean, many artists inspire me (just like anyone else would say). I love Banks because of the dark vibes she presents to her audience. She also inspires me when it comes to clothing . . .
James Blake has a similar vibe to Banks because of the “dark” underground electronic sound, but he is someone who’s gotten me through periods of my life, so his music is what inspired me to write my own.
These artists don’t necessarily inspire me with their vocals, but their production does.
Artists like Lianne La Havas, Allen Stone, Etta Bond, etc. inspire my vocals.
Q: If you had a chance to do music with either (or both) of them would you? What do you think that collaboration would sound like?
A: If I had a chance to collaborate with James Blake and Banks that would be incredible. I think it’s important that you create a human connection with someone before being able to just create music with them. I can’t necessarily answer what it would sound it like, all I know is it will sound however it’s meant to sound.
Q: Are there any new artists that you want to collaborate with?
A: Billie Eilish is really dope and young, which is cool. Like I said before, the human connection is going to be really important when it comes to collaborating so if I create that type of relationship with an artist than the music will come out more authentic. Someone who is becoming big from an album that just came out this year is SiR with his album “November”. I would love to collaborate with him in the future. Also, FKJ is one of my favorites and I would like to collaborate.
Q: Speaking of music, you released your debut single “Waste” at the end of the year. For those who have yet to hear it, can you briefly explain what the song is about?
A: The song is about a difficult breakup I had experienced. It’s not really a typical break up song because throughout the tune I am contradicting myself and pointing out my flaws thinking it was my fault when in reality it wasn’t. I try to empathize the importance of women empowerment by stating, “I am a woman of love” and that it’s okay to love a lot . . . just like I did. Some people just don’t deserve the love you give.
Q: Because this was your debut, were you nervous about how people would react to it? Do you remember your reaction the first time you heard it in its final stage?
A: From the moment I came up with the lyrics to “Waste”, I fell in love with it. The next day, I was with the producer CrashTandy (we had already began working on the production for it) and I was really excited to share.
There was definitely a fight between which song we wanted to release as my debut single but after a couple listening sessions and showing a certain amount of people, we thought it was a great idea to have “Waste” as the first single.
I can’t say that I was nervous because this is the art I have created and as long as I’m happy with it, it shouldn’t matter what negative approaches I get from it. I can say I was nervous on how a select few would react. (only because it was my first time putting something out about someone)
Q: Since its release, it has accumulated over 100,000 plays between SoundCloud and Spotify. Did you ever imagine that it would get such feedback?
A: Not at all . . . I didn’t think it would have gotten that many plays, especially on Spotify, but we got a lot of hype and amazing feedback, so that was really cool. This just makes me more excited to release more now that people have a little taste on the type of music I’m getting into. (And I just learned I’m almost at 100,000 listens on Spotify!)
Q: You accompanied the song with a video (released in November). What was that experience like?
A: The experience with creating the video was amazing because I was surrounded by my family. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them there. This was my first time shooting a music video like this, but I had a clear vision and the creative directors know me so well that they took my vision and brought it to life. I loved shooting the video in general though.
Q: There is a saying that “your image is an extension of your music” – How important is image for you?
A: Image is not important to me at all. Unfortunately, social media makes you think that way, but I just want to set the example that the art will always be the more important aspect than image. No matter what, society will think whatever they want to think of me, but if I stay true my art then it doesn’t matter what people think. I plan to keep my image strictly relating to my music.
Q: From the content you’ve released thus far, it appears that you have at least an idea of the type of artist you want to be. What advice would you give aspiring artists when it comes to creating music and finding their sound?
A: My advice is going to live shows ALL THE TIME and listen to tons of different types of music to see what sticks with you, Don’t limit yourself and don’t just stick to one sound. Change things up to keep the music interesting.
Q: I know that you’ve performed a number of times. Is there any event you want to perform at in the future?
A: I want to perform at as many festivals as possible and especially ones out of the country.
Q: Is that something you look forward to (or dread) when it comes to being an entertainer?
A: I can’t wait to be able to perform my originals and have a showcase to share. I most definitely look forward to performing live.
Q: What are some of your goals (when it comes to your career) for the future?
A: I want to work with as many people as possible to gain knowledge from each human and see how they process things as a musician. Being in a self-absorbed generation, I want to set a goal to have people become more open minded to things and music.
Q: Do you have any plans to release new music / content throughout the year?
A: Yes!!! (: It’s a work in progress. I should be getting back into the studio very soon.
Q: Last but not least, is there anything you would like to tell your supporters?
A: I hope the people who support me understand my mission as to why I make music. Also, I want to thank everyone who has supported me thus far. Makes me excited for future occasions.
To listen to her debut single “Waste” click here.
To watch her video for “Waste” click here.