Posted by: Roo Kailey
Bright, upbeat, and playful, Ottawa-based pop artist Andrew Cassara is spreading waves of positivity on his debut album “Freak On Repeat”. With sounds inspired by the infectious grooves of the disco era that leap from your speakers and straight to your feet, Andrew explores the positive influence of self-love through his electric dance tunes and inspiring authenticity.
We sat down with Andrew to discuss the power of music, what he hopes listeners take away from his new album, and how his mental health journey shaped “Freak on Repeat”.
Could you tell us a bit about how this all started?
I kind of got into music at an early age. When I was about four years old, that’s when I started getting this idea that I wanted to be a musician. Like when I was a little kid, I was just the biggest Backstreet Boys fan that you could find. Especially being that young, I would look up to them and watch all their concert videos, I even participated in a Backstreet Boys karaoke contest that I somehow managed to place second in. Here I was, I could barely talk- and I was singing their songs and doing all their dances. When I got into my teens, I looked up to all these great artists in the pop genre and they really inspired me to begin writing my own music.
Your music radiates this impossibly feel-good energy about it, which also seem integral to how you work. How do you integrate positivity into your music, even when touching on topics that can be more difficult to deal with?
With this album, I really wanted people to feel this burst of energy that just lifts them up when they listen to it. Even with tracks like “You Are” that are more sentimental, I had this idea in mind to incorporate positive affirmations into the lyrics that when listened to a number of times, would manifest into feelings of self-love. This is something very important for me and my journey, I want to spread a positive message and do so through my music.
What was the inspiration behind naming your debut album, “Freak on Repeat”, and what do you hope your listeners take away from it?
The title came from the chorus of the lead single “Bad Bad” and signifies what this album is all about: not being afraid of being yourself and taking time to have fun in the moment. With this new album, I wanted to promote positivity and make uplifting music to make people’s lives a little bit more fun the moment they listen to it. We’re all here for a temporary amount of time, and life can take us in so many different directions. We really have no control over it, so the best thing we can do is get our freak on repeat and enjoy life right now.
‘Stay Rocking’ is one of your new tracks off the album, what are some ways you stay rocking in tough times?
Stay rocking is my motto! I keep my spirits up by surrounding myself with good people, like my friends and family. Even in these tough times with the whole pandemic situation, I’m trying to keep my sanity in check by keeping in touch with my loved ones and exploring new hobbies, writing music, and just doing things that I enjoy so that I can keep my focus on what’s important in life.
What was the best part of putting together the new album?
One of the best parts of making an album is getting the chance to bond with everyone who works on it with you. My team is so tight-knit and very family-oriented, so getting together to work with some of your best friends in the world is the most fun you can have. A lot of laughs, a lot of memes. The process of writing and recording this album is a time in my life I’ll never forget, one of the greatest memories for sure.
What was the most challenging part?
When writing music, you really have to reflect on yourself. Self-discovery can be good, but it can also be sad, there are a lot of emotions involved. The most difficult part, which is something I’ve overcome in the process of writing this album, has been allowing myself to be vulnerable. It’s very rewarding in the end but can be tough in the initial stages because you’re really going outside of your comfort zone.
“You Are” introduces a softer, more vulnerable side of you. Could you unpack that track for us?
“You Are” was the last song we wrote for the album. It started with a guitar melody from my guitarist and it was just so beautiful. When I heard it, I knew it could be something amazing, so I began reflecting on myself and writing my story. Something that I’ve learned is that you should replace a negative with a positive, and doing that continuously overtime, can really create a long-lasting effect, which is why in the song, I repeat the lines “you are strong, you are loved”. I wish I had a song like this a couple of years ago when I had some issues with mental health that I didn’t understand as much as I do now.
What advice would you give to other up and coming artists about authenticity and staying true to your sense of self, while focusing on their careers as musicians?
It starts with believing in yourself, and as a musician, being authentic is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. In this business, it can be tough to find your place. The greatest justice you can do yourself is to trust your instinct and do what you think is best for you in the moment. Once you convince yourself truly that you love something and you do it because you want to, that will resonate in your music, and people will feel that. Do your best to do what you love, eventually the path will pave its way.
Listen to Andrew Cassara’s debut album “Freak On Repeat”: https://andrewcassara.ffm.to/freakonrepeat
The powerful story-telling nature of music can help you feel less alone, but sometimes it’s not enough. Unison is here for our music community in those dark times. If you need someone to talk to, register with Unison to receive help from licensed counsellors through our Counselling & Health Solutions program.
Call 1-855-9UNISON to receive free assistance today.