Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Feature

DJ Cassidy: DJ by design

DJ Cassidy @bluesandsoul.com
DJ Cassidy @bluesandsoul.com DJ Cassidy @bluesandsoul.com DJ Cassidy @bluesandsoul.com DJ Cassidy @bluesandsoul.com

One of the worldâs most sough-after DJs, native New Yorker DJ Cassidy, is this summer set to release his highly-anticipated debut album âParadise Royaleâ. Which, influenced by his passion for the danceable soul music of the late-Seventies/early-Eighties, is currently being pioneered by the punchy groove and catchy hooks of its irresistibly-uplifting offshoot single âCalling All Heartsâ featuring lead vocals from both chart-topping US blue-eyed soul don Robin Thicke and globally-successful British urban pop songstress Jessie J.

Born and raised on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where he still lives today, a teenage Cassidy first began his DJ'ing career at local nightclubs around the city before eventually going on to attract a bona fide celebrity/VIP clientele including such modern-day cultural icons as Sean âDiddyâ Combs, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Naomi Campbell, Kim Kardashian and even Oprah Winfrey. All of which ultimately led to him in 2009 seeing his career reach stratospheric new heights after groundbreakingly being called on to deejay at President Barack Obamaâs Inauguration. Since which time he has also performed at several further highly-prestigious Presidential events including Obamaâs fiftieth birthday and second Inauguration at The White House, in addition to last year playing to his biggest audience yet - 70,000 to 90,000 people per night - opening for Justin Timberlake and long-time client JAY Z on their mega-successful âLegends of Summerâ North American tour.

⦠Which in turn brings us back to today and the forthcoming release of the aforementioned âParadise Royaleâ Which - the culmination of a lifetime of deejaying around the world, observing people react and making people move - represents Cassidyâs own personal mission to âbring the greatest and most universal dance music of all time back to the airwaves and the dancefloorâ by uniting the architects of the worldwide hits of the late-Seventies and early-Eighties with an eclectic list of todayâs most revered recording artists.

All of which results in an album composed entirely of original feel-good songs (featuring the co-writing input of renowned tunesmith Claude Kelly) which impressively boasts 12 world-renowned singers, 22 legendary musicians and a fourteen-piece string section, where such classic names as Chicâs Nile Rodgers, three key members of Earth, Wind & Fire (Philip Bailey/Verdine White/Larry Dunn) and horn arranger Jerry Hey (of Michael Jacksonâs âOff The Wallâ and âThrillerâ notoriety) rub shoulders with chart-topping contemporary vocalists like Usher, Mary J. Blige, CeeLo Green and Ne-Yo. Highlights of which include the irresistibly-soulful, R. Kelly-featuring âMake The World Go Roundâ; the engagingly-infectious John Legend & Estelle-featuring âThe Starsâ; and the brightânâbreezy push of âSo Long Babyâ featuring Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit.

⦠Cue an eloquent, charismatic and flamboyant DJ Cassidy meeting up with âBlues & Soulâ Assistant Editor Pete Lewis at Sony Music UKâs buzzing Kensington HQ. As, rocking a striking red velvet suit and cream fedora, the globally-in-demand DJ-to-the-stars passionately discusses his ambitious new album project.

PETE: Can you explain the background behind you coming up with a concept like âParadise Royaleâ - which you describe as âinspired by the golden era of dance musicâ - as your debut album?

CASSIDY: âWhile I physically started working on this album four years ago, the actual JOURNEY of âParadise Royaleâ really started when I was 10 years OLD! In that when I was nine years old I asked my parents for two turntables and a mixer for my tenth birthday and, with me getting what I asked for, it was actually on the day I turned 10 that DJ Cassidy was BORN! And what happened was, because I was a hip hop kid back then who looked up to the founders of hip hop like Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash, I basically thought that in order to BE like my heroes I had to PLAY like them. So when I looked into what they were playing and I discovered they were actually playing ALL kinds of music - you know, they were basically creating a new sound by playing funk, soul, disco, rock & roll, reggae and everything else under the sun - I became completely FASCINATED by that! It was like my mind totally opened up and I made it my mission as a DJ to be completely UNDEFINED, and to become the DJ that people would call on to play all music for all people all over the WORLD. And so by the time I was 18 Iâd started to LIVE that motto - Iâd started to travel around the world and play some of the hottest nightclubs and events of my TIME! Which in turn eventually led to me having the privilege of playing to some amazing people Iâd always admired and looked UP to - like Puffy, JAY Z, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Russell Simmons, Oprah Winfrey, right up to President OBAMA! You know, I became not only the first DJ to play at an inauguration, but also the first DJ to ever play at The White House, PERIOD! But then what resulted from all that was that no matter where I was or who I was DJing to - whether it was to the leaders of hip hop, leaders of the fashion world or leaders of the FREE world - I began to view the soul music of the late-Seventies and early1980âs as the greatest and most universal dance music of all TIME. Because no matter who was in front of me and no matter what music they came to hear - whether they be old/young/black/white/rich/poor - the classic records of that era not only worked but they KILLED! They put a spirit, an emotion and an energy in the air like no other kinda music COULD⦠Which is why four years ago I set out on a mission to bring back what I consider the greatest dance music of all time to the airwaves, to nightlife and to the DANCEFLOOR!⦠So yeah, to answer your question, thatâs basically how this album all STARTED!â

DJ Cassidy will perform at Wireless Festival, which takes place over the weekend of July 4, 5 and 6 at London (Finsbury Park) and Birmingham (Perry Park)

The single âCalling All Hearts feat. Robin Thicke, Jessie Jâ is released April 21 through Columbia/Sony Music

Time to get Tweeting: If you are 'Favourited' by us, we'll add your comments to our print issue @DjCassidy / @BluesandSoul

Read more from our interview with DjCassidy, click below to get your copy of the new Blues & Soul magazine delivered to your door - or check out your local magazine retailer, including; WH Smith, Menzies + selected Euro Foods, Cost Cutters and selected independents everywhere.
Words PETE LEWIS

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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