We’re thrilled that Cassa Jackson has joined our Young Ambassadors Board! Cassa is a twenty two year-old London based singer-songwriter signed to Marshall Arts booking agency (Pink, Elton John). In 2019 she supported Jocelyn Brown three nights running at the Camden Jazz Cafe and ‘The Jacksons’ on their 50th anniversary tour in Spain. We caught up with Cassa about how she got into songwriting, her advice for aspiring young songwriters and so much more.
What got you into music? Did you immediately start writing it or were you a fan for a bit first? I’ve always absolutely loved music and used to love the lyrics in songs and would write the lyrics to my favourite songs down in a little notebook! I got into writing music at school. I had a friend who wanted to be a DJ and we wrote lots of songs together for fun and then one day we decided to enter it into Songacademy and that’s when I realised people actually liked the songs I wrote and that I wanted to be a singer-songwriter.
What is your favourite part of the songwriting process? I love how a simple idea comes to life and how with each verse your initial vision comes together to create something amazing that people can sing along to!
How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark? I always start with the lyrics which is quite unusual I think but I always want my songs to really mean something. Normally I write songs for myself as a cathartic experience which helps me get things off my mind and gives me an outlet for what I’m feeling – free therapy, it’s brilliant!
What achievement are you most proud of? I’m most proud of supporting ‘The Jacksons’ on their 50th anniversary tour in Spain. They’re such legends of music and so supportive to young artists like myself. The best moment was when Tito Jackson told me I was a brilliant songwriter, I couldn’t believe it!
Which of your songs do you think is your best work and why? I think ‘Wild West’ is my best work in terms of lyrical songwriting – it’s a song about social media and the destructive effect it has on people. It’s a lament for the girl I used to be before I had the pressure of social media. However, my song ‘New Horizons’ is arguably one of my best because it’s so uplifting and makes people sing along instantly, which is a sign of a good song!
Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with? Julia Michaels, she’s incredible and ever since I heard her song ‘Issues’ and heard how honest and raw she is and how clever she is with her phrasing it’s always been a dream of mine to work with her.
Do you feel like you’ve mastered your craft or are you still learning? If you’re still learning, what’s your next milestone? Definitely not, I’m learning with every song I write and that’s the beauty of songwriting. I’ve come a very long way from my first song and yet I’m excited to keep perfecting my craft and find songs that will last the test of time.
What would you say to someone aged 8-18 who is thinking about writing songs but hasn’t started yet? Or do you have any tips for 8-18 year old songwriters who are already writing? It sometimes help to write a poem first as that gets to into the practice of expressing your thoughts onto paper and then just listen to as much music as you can and you’ll start to realise what type of music you like and what you want to make yourself.
Favourites round! Don’t think about it, just say what first comes to mind. Who/what is your favourite:
Artist? Dua Lipa
Songwriter? Julia Michaels
Song? If I ain’t got you
Album? Songs about Jane (Maroon 5)
Chord? B major
Gig you’ve been to? Adele at the 02
Lyric? It’s been a year now, think I’ve figured out how, how to live without you without it ripping my heart out
Catchphrase? Nobody puts baby in the corner.
Fruit? Banana or watermelon
What’s your instrument of choice? Is there an instrument you would like to learn?
Piano. I’d love to learn guitar or something more rogue like Trumpet maybe.
Do you have any hidden talents or party tricks? I can speak french and Spanish!
What are you non-musical hobbies? I love playing tennis, a sociable competitive sport.
What do you think matters most to 8-18 year olds? What matters most is probably friends at school and being loved. Having fun should be what matters most and enjoying everyday life.
What do you like about Song Academy? I am Song Academy’s biggest fan, genuinely, it gives young people the opportunity and confidence in themselves to showcase their talents. But the main thing I love is the focus on songwriting, there’s so many singing talent shows out there but songwriting is what really makes people stand out – lots of people can sing, but songwriting takes that extra bit thought and passion.
Aged 8-18? Written your own original songs?
Then enter The Young Songwriter 2020 competition before the 31st March 2020!