Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Musician Cassandra O'Neal: More Than Hollywood
by Cyrus Webb
Looking at the life of Cassandra O'Neal today it is remarkable to think of all that she has accomplished at this point in her life. Her musical resume includes working with artists such as Pink, 98 Degrees, Avant, Chante Moore, Mary J. Blige and Macy Gray, yet it is her recent work with Prince as part of the New Power Generation that has had people talking over the past couple of years.
Through it all, Cassandra has remained true to herself, allowing her deep sense of gratitude to guide her. In our phone conversation for the music issue of Conversations it was hard not to see that what she has been able to do has not changed who she credits for it all.
Growing up in the church as a preacher's daughter, Cassandra was always around music. At the age of five she was playing the piano, learning to imitate her mother. As she became more aware of what she was able to do, it was easy to decide where she wanted her gifts to take her.
"My goal was to play for a big name pop artist," she said to me. And that she has done and so much more, yet Cassandra is quick to let you know that she is not defined what what she does. "I will never be Hollywood," she says. "My focus is on the music I am creating. I want you to hear me. That's how I stay grounded. I am a person who just wants to make good music."
With the roller coaster ride that she finds herself on today moving from shows, rehearsals and public appearances, I was curious as to how she finds the time to take it all in. "You pick your moments to savor it," she explains. "Whether it's in the dressing room or after the night is over. I make sure I take that little moment and exhale."
Cassandra is also aware of how her music is affecting others. She refers to it as a "gift" that is "a blessing" to share. As in any other field there are pitfalls and haters to deal with, but her focus is making sure that she is doing all that is possible to let her light shine.
Since she was raised in the church I thought it was appropriate to ask her how faith has played a role in her life since being involved in the entertainment industry. She answered this way: "I have never gotten into drugs, drinking or any of the other traps out there. I'm not perfect, but I know that I would be nothing without my faith. I have made it this far by staying true to my beliefs and morals. My success is all God."
We ended the conversation by addressing another issue that we've been tacking recently in Conversations Magazine: the way that the internet has changed the way we listen to and get our music. "Everything has its pluses and its minuses," Cassandra says. "The internet has changed the game. No doubt about it. As artists we need to stand together and support each other. Our biggest investment should be in ourselves."
Confident, talented and aware of her inner strength and purpose, Cassandra O'Neal is more than just another part of a competitive industry. She represents the very best of all of us that strive to use our gifts to be of benefit to others.
Find out more about Cassandra by joining her Facebook fanpage at www.facebook.com/cassyqtkeys or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cassyqtkeys.