Cassie: Breaking Bad

A lot of folks are saying that you signed with Drake’s OVO Sounds label. Is that true?
I honestly don’t know where that came from but I had heard about it. I went to the OVO Festival in Canada, which was really dope, but no, I’m currently signed to Bad Boy and Interscope. Drake and I talked at the festival about working together, so hopefully that comes into fruition.

How do you stand your ground as a woman in a male-dominated industry?
As a woman in the industry, there are so many things you’re up against. If you’re pretty, you’re too pretty. If you’re talented, you’re too talented to the point where people don’t want to listen to your music. And I’m not talking about Beyoncé, who is way up there. I’m just talking about people who are making the music that they love. It’s a confidence thing. It doesn’t matter what you bring out as long as you believe in it and back it up. That’s something that took time to learn. I would second guess myself a lot.

The first time I stepped out of the zone of standing behind somebody and being worried about giving my opinion was when I did “The Boys” video with Nicki Minaj. It was a trying experience, putting looks together with my team and being very, very involved and saying, “No, I’m not wearing that. This is not happening. This is how I want my hair and make-up.” That was the first time I really stood my ground and when everyone looked up, it was like “Girl, you really killed it.” It’s knowing what I want, being aware and sure of it. And not being phased by all the other bull that goes down.

There’s a saying, “You are the company that you keep” and you’ve been linked to super-talented musicians/businessmen. What’s the key to maintaining a relationship when both parties have established careers?
The key to maintaining any relationship—be it a romantic relationship or a friendship—is honesty and communication. I travel so much, host parties and I just signed a new deal with Skam Artist, who predominantly DJs in the same bookings that they do at different parties. It’s New York, Chicago, Vegas so I’m constantly going.

So you’re going to start mastering the turntables now?
I hope it gets to that. I’ve been slowly but surely learning how to DJ. I’m really interested in learning how to do the turntables and I really want to do both dance and hip-hop. Dance is easier actually to mix when you’re DJing, but old school hip-hop and finding the real beat in there is way more difficult.

Has Diddy inspired you to run your own empire? Was there an important business lesson you learned from him?
Absolutely. Just being around him is a completely inspiring experience. Starting my own empire would be great. I’m trying to figure that out. I’m still working with Cassie Enterprises right now but I think that would be something I would love to do.

Being a model for more than half your life, describe the moment you realized your looks are a means to getting what you want, whether it was attention from a certain guy or landing the dream job.
It’s so funny for you to even say “attention from a guy” because I had my funny-looking stage. I think everyone had it as a kid. I remember every star, every birthday wish blowing out a candle, I would always wish boys would like me because I used to get made fun of a little bit.

Did you ever blow out birthday candles or wish on a star to be with Diddy?
[Laughs] No, no, no it was always just for boys to like me. That was it. The other day I did. Have you ever been to the Joshua Tree in Palm Springs, just outside of Palm Springs?

No, but your Instagram videos made it look like an adventure.
It’s such an amazing experience. Me and my friends went rock climbing and went back up to the park late at night and saw a whole bunch of shooting stars, so I was wishing on those. I just hope it’s another great year. I’ve been really happy the way my life has been going and I just want it to continue.

Is there anything else that you feel like you need to conquer or do you feel like it’s time to settle down a bit and maybe have a couple mini Cassies?
Oh my god! Me and my friends are always talking about that. Maybe some mini Cassies or Cassiuses coming up. I’m not really sure. My new thing right now is I’m going to get back into some acting. I did Step Up 2 a while ago and I enjoyed being on set so I think I’m going to start taking classes, work with an agency and seeing where that goes as well. I’m working on a sophomore album currently so hopefully things start to move.

People have been waiting for that sophomore album for a minute now.
I would hope that by next spring it would be out. I still have a lot of leftover stuff actually from the mixtape that are really, really good.

Any other collaborations because you grabbed all the hottest people for the ‘tape, except Kendrick Lamar on “I Know What You Want” would have been dope.
Kendrick’s on the list. We definitely had spoken to his manager about trying to get him on it. I think I had reached out to Big Sean but it didn’t work out.

What about the ballads?
We definitely have ballads. I love slower records, like a good Sade record. Solange is putting out a new project that’s coming out really soon that I actually just worked on. She did a compilation of some of her favorite artists out right now and we did a really dope record together which I’m excited about. I think her deadline was like two weeks ago to finish everything, so it’s coming out really soon.

And you’re both singing on it together?
She’s in the background. What she did with each artist was let them just rock on a song. She produced. She actually played everything on the song she did with me. She’s so talented yet such a cool person, down to earth. We had such a great time working together. We worked together on like five songs a minute ago. She hit me back up and was like, ‘I love the mixtape. I would really love to get in with you,’ so we went for it.

Can’t wait to hear it. Now, let’s imagine many years from now, there’s a portrait of you in a museum. What would the piece look like?
If there was a piece of art in a museum of me, it would be no make-up, no hair. A bare portrait.

Would you have a happy expression?
[Pauses] Maybe a Mona Lisa smile. Actually no, I’d show teeth… I’ll give teeth.

Check out all the photos of CASSIE’S FULL COVER SHOOT HERE.

Production: Joseph Cinnante
Set Design: Eddie Inda
Styling: Kyle Blackmon
Makeup: Anthony Ngyuyen
Hair: Bobby Elliot
Nails: Sarah Nguyen