In times like these, who doesn't need a vacation? And though you may not be able to travel, Cassidy-Rae has delivered a holiday into your home with the release of her new single 'I'm On Vacation'. It follows her singles 'Throwback' and 'More', the latter of which not only debuted at #3 on the iTunes Country Singles Chart and in the Top 100 on the iTunes Overall Chart in its first week, but also featured in the CMC's Top 30 Countdown and clocked 100,000 views on YouTube and 41,000 streams on Spotify.
An upbeat, catchy tune, 'I'm On Vacation' will likely be on repeat for the rest of 2020, which could, at this rate, go on forever. It's sure to spread smiles and joys and give fans and new listeners an opportunity to step away from the stress of the pandemic and everyday life. It'll truly make you feel like you're on vacation. Or, at the very least, like you're out of the house.
In June, Cassidy-Rae was set to travel to California, where she would spend the USA summer months entertaining on the Carnival Inspiration. Then, it was a journey from Hawaii to Sydney aboard the Carnival Spirit. Instead, Cassidy-Rae has been sharing her "Sunday Sit-downs" with friends – what she calls fans – and live-streaming a weekly show on Fridays called "Quarantunes". In these events, she aims to spread music and joy instead of the virus, with her virtual audience sending in requests and singing along, just like they would at her cruiseship piano bar.
While the rest of the 2020 – including scheduled performances at the Ballina Country Music Festival – is uncertain for Cassidy-Rae, fans can be certain that she'll be back spreading music and joy at the first possible moment. Until then, perhaps it's time we all took a vacation.
Question: How would you describe your music?
Cassidy-Rae : I believe when words fail, music speaks. And that's what my music is. Little pieces of my heart. Stories, a moment in time, I've felt so emotionally or experienced personally that words alone simply didn't do them justice. My music is powerful and authentic. It's full of love, heartbreak, hope, joy and always trying to find a positive no matter the situation.
Question: Can you tell us about I'm On Vacation?
Cassidy-Rae : I'm on Vacation was written at TCMF 2019, after back-to-back days of performing on stages with friends that years ago I would've dreamt to be on, walking down the streets listening to music with the summer breeze, it felt like a vacation.. I wanted to share that feeling, that joy. Thus, I'm On Vacation was born.
Question: Is there a particular message you hope listeners take from your music?
Cassidy-Rae : With this latest song, "I'm On Vacation", I wanted to allow listeners to escape from this stressful reality we are calling 2020. I wanted to give them permission to smile, dance, sing and laugh with a joyful, upbeat catchy tune. I wanted to give them the opportunity to take a virtual vacation (even if they can't leave the house yet!).
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Cassidy-Rae : Live or Recording? That's a tough question because they are two very different aspects. Recording is so much fun with my very talented producer Michael Carpenter at Love Hz Studios who literally finishes my sentences. It's days of giving life to pieces of my heart. Cliché as it sounds, it lets my heart sing. But then there's live performing. With Piano Bar Entertaining on Carnival Cruise Lines, it's six nights a week performing to literally hundreds of new friends, creating these amazing memories for their vacation and sharing our favourite songs. It's moments that not only can everyone take away, but memories I'll cherish forever. Those moments performing when I'm surrounded by new friends (again, I don't like calling them fans) who love my songs so much and are touched by these little pieces of my heart that they go away during their time off and they learn my songs so they can stand around my stage and sing/shout the words back to me that I don't need to even sing cause I can't hear the sound of my voice over theirs. Performing is interacting and I love connecting with people. I love knowing that I brought a little joy.
Question: Can we expect an upcoming tour?
Cassidy-Rae : We can expect a lot of love and more of my heart - especially in this year, when we all deserve a little more joy. Due to the pandemic, I'm at home and streaming live weekly. One of those streams is Sunday Sitdown - a live stream that has been running for over a year. The other live stream is my version of a virtual Piano Bar - taking requests and singing along with my friends around the world.
I love travelling so once the boundaries are lifted and it is safe to do so, I will back on Carnival Cruise Lines travelling around Australia and internationally and heading back to Nashville soon. I'm so excited to finally be playing all of my released originals on piano and guitar and maybe even sharing and testing out some new songs with my audiences because I'm constantly writing and I love the feedback.
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Cassidy-Rae : Who am I not listening to?! In isolation, I've found a lot of times when I'm not playing music, learning music or doing something related to music, I'm listening to music - the latest and greatest to the classics, new songs people have requested for my virtual Piano Bar and, of course, my friends new releases! I just learnt a song on the guitar from Kelsea Ballerini's new album called "Homecoming Queen", I'm loving Taylor Swift's new album "Lover" but mix it up with her earlier releases like "Love Story", I love singing in the shower and dancing to Amber Lawrence's "Heart" and Dolly Parton's "9 to 5".
Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Cassidy-Rae : My family has a motto - do what you love and you never work a day in your life. I never actively decided to be in the music industry - I just kept following what I loved doing. I started in the school choir where my teacher encouraged me to audition for the Australia Girls Choir. I spent six years with the AGC where I got to perform nationally and internationally for and with incredible renowned people from around the world such as The Pope in Rome, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Keith Urban, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, former President Barack Obama and many more. In that time, I was performing with the school band and began writing my own songs. With my original songs, I worked with Oxygen Music Group in an Artist Development Program to produce my first album. I loved not only writing but performing so I was constantly finding reasons to perform - at shows, festivals, venues - even being asked to travel to Paris to perform at the launch of World Kindness France - while studying music at University. At the end of my studies, I was offered an opportunity to tour with Carnival Cruise Lines as a Piano Bar Entertainer, travelling internationally entertaining hundreds of guests every night sharing my original songs. I've been constantly following what I love. There was never a question of doing anything else. I surround myself with music because I love it. I love the way that it connects people - sharing love, joy, a smile. That's something that has always encouraged me to continue and fall more in love with this passion.
Question: Do you play any instruments?
Cassidy-Rae : I've played the piano since I was two. I followed in my brother's footsteps when I was young so when he started at 3, I was waddling along behind. When he went down a different path into sciences, I kept going. My family has videos of me singing before I could speak so I sing. I play the ukulele as I thought it was a good transition from piano into pressing fingers onto the strings. I was wrong - it was a hard transition but definitely worth it. I've been learning guitar since January this year and making the most of the time in quarantine to hone those skills - I wrote my first song on guitar, "No Better Place", and decided to share it with everyone - it's available for free download on my website www.cassidy-rae.com
Question: Did you have any pre-conceived ideas about the music industry?
Cassidy-Rae : I always thought that the country music industry was family - everyone knows everyone. That's one of the best parts about working in this industry. Family supports each other - especially in the country music industry. It doesn't matter where I am in the world. That idea was reinforced when I travelled to Nashville and performed at the Bluebird Cafe and saw that all the performers there were so welcoming and supportive. The music industry is unlike any other industry in the world because there is not a brightly lit path and constant directions of how to succeed - success is defined by the individual. But what I do know is that it's always about being authentic.
Question: What's a typical day like?
Cassidy-Rae : Before the pandemic, a typical day was different depending on my location - be it on a cruise ship or travelling regionally/nationally.
Currently, my days are spent at home (keeping my social distance), writing new songs, creating new content, learning the guitar, learning songs and spending quality time with my family and friends online. As a self-managed independent artist, I'm sharing my new single everywhere I can - being interviewed by radios and chatting to one of my favourite magazines (you!). Sundays and Fridays are days where I live stream and spread a little bit of joy and I'm making the most of the summer sun before it turns too cold, going to the beach or simply a walk.
I also believe in my statement that the country music industry is a family and we support each other - so I've not only been live streaming on others' pages, but also watching others live streams and singing along.
Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?
Cassidy-Rae : The people. When words fail, music speaks. For me, music is therapeutic. When I'm heartbroken or lost or so full of joy that my heart could burst, I turn to music. But sharing my songs, my stories, my words, I found that music connected me to people. Connected hearts - transcending boundaries of language and distance and time and age. And that connection - the feeling that we aren't alone - that someone has gone through exactly what we have, not only that but made it out the other side - that is powerful. Knowing that my music has made someone feel better or happier, or its simply brought a smile to their face - I can't cure someone like a doctor, but if I can make the world a more joyful place one person at a time, I'm doing something right.
Question: What's next, for you?
Cassidy-Rae : If you'd asked me right before the pandemic, I would've been excitedly blabbering about upcoming tours overseas with Carnival. Performing for hundreds of new friends every night, just returning from my tour in Hawaii and ready for the next couple of months on tour in California. Unfortunately, with the global pandemic, that's no longer the case as my tours away have been delayed. Hopefully they will resume soon, but in the meantime, I'm making the most of spending time with my family and chatting online with my friends from around the world - doing live shows every week (one of which, Sunday Sit-downs, have been going on for over a year), learning guitar and writing new songs. Growing.
What's next is more music - ALWAYS MORE MUSIC! I'm excited to go back on tour and I would say, if everything goes to plan, expect some very exciting news in the next couple of months, because, of course, it's been a while since I released an album
Question: Can you share your socials? (links please)
Cassidy-Rae : Website
Interview by Gwen van Montfort