Written by: Frank Iacono
Kassie K. is a Canadian-born singer-songwriter from a small city an hour outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Kassie who first gained music recognition for her fitness parody “All About Those Gains,” has since attracted fans from across the globe with her vast vocal variability as well as her exceptional lyrical talent. This pop music sensation, who recently signed with Mi5 Recordings, continues to record covers for her fans on social platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Facebook; but her main focus nowadays is working on her original work – something not unfamiliar to the young artist.
Since a young age, Kassie loved music. With the support of her parents, she began taking singing lessons and performing at local festivals in grade school. By the time she was 11 years old, Kassie was already writing and recording her own music. During high school she fronted the four-piece pop/rock band, Bell Tower Dreams, winning Band of the Month honors in 2009 for local prominent radio station 99.3 CFox. Citing musical differences, the band eventually went their separate ways leaving her with the necessary experience she needed to thrive as a songwriter and performer.
Since making her debut as a solo artist, Kassie has released a total of six original songs. Her first release under the Mi5 Recordings banner, “Out of Sight,” garnered high praise from those within the music industry. With its synthesized pop sounds and strong vocals, she introduced herself in bold fashion turning heads and making everyone take note.
Her latest single entitled “Let Go” is a great track that truly demonstrates her exceptional lyrical talent, powerful pop vocals and solid guitar work. Her vocal talent is obvious from the first verse of any of her songs; her voice dances through her ballads, reaching out to touch the heart of the listener. Even more moving are her vividly real lyrics that spell out her desires and emotions unfettered by what they “should” be. She is incredibly honest in her music and is not afraid to change aspects of her style between songs, which is to her benefit.
In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, we caught up with Kassie K. where we talked about her musical influences, her songwriting and recording process, her experience in the music business, her parody music videos as well as her short and long-term future plans.
The Creative Spotlight: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician and whom or what would you say inspired you?
Kassie K.: Ever since I can remember, I always knew I wanted to be a singer. When I was really little, I actually preferred singing over speaking during conversations. As a child, I was always profoundly infatuated with performing. I would often sing and dance for anyone who was willing to watch and listen. Even now, whether I am performing for just one person or a large crowd, that feeling of excitement, passion and genuine happiness that I feel while on stage is unmatched. I’m not sure if I could say any specific person or moment in my life inspired me to become a singer – it has always just been an innate part of me. Music has always been and always will be a huge part of my life.
TCS: What famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and describe for us how they impacted and/or shaped your musical style?
KK: Growing up, I was obsessed with the major pop icons of the time such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and the Spice Girls. However, due to my parent’s influences, I also grew up listening to and becoming enamored by artists like Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Whitney Houston and The Beatles. I definitely drew inspiration from those artists who had both a vocal and storytelling perspective. During my adolescence, I started to become more influenced by pop/rock bands like Paramore, Rise Against and Jimmy Eat World, which definitely helped shape my musical style at the time and led me to fronting 2 pop/rock bands.
Although these styles had a dominant focus during different times of my life, I have never boxed myself in with a particular genre. My playlists can be wildly unpredictable, playing everything from Hip Hop to Classical music. I feel that my love for diverse music has ultimately helped shape my style in such a way that I often don’t write a song with the intention of following a strict genre guideline, but instead simply create something that I enjoy, and hope that others will too. I think that’s why I have always been such a huge fan of the band Queen – they never let anyone box them into a straight-line genre, they just created music that they loved.
TCS: For the benefit of those who may not be too familiar with Kassie K. or your musical career, please share with us how you started out in Vancouver, BC, Canada and eventually became a solo recording artist and songwriter?
KK: I have always had a passion for music and songwriting and have been performing ever since I was very young. I started performing at the age of 5 performing in local festivals and showcases. By the age of 11, I started writing my own songs. When I was in high school, I started learning guitar and joined my first band – an all-female pop/rock trio. Unfortunately, we only played a few shows before separating. Later on, during my senior year I joined Bell Tower Dreams, a pop/rock band out of Vancouver, BC, Canada as their lead singer/songwriter. We released 2 physical albums and won a Band of the Month contest with a prominent local radio station, earning radio play and headlining a showcase.
Being so young, I remember having to get a fake ID just so that I could perform in the bars around town. After several years of success, we eventually decided to part ways due to musical differences. Although leaving the band was an extremely difficult decision, it was important for me at that time to follow my heart musically and go back to my roots as a pop artist. Being on my own has afforded me the opportunity to collaborate with so many artists and producers across the world. Equally, it has allowed me to create and release music I love while also being able to play shows around Vancouver. I am extremely excited for everything I am currently doing musically and cannot wait to share what I have been working on with everyone.
TPC: How would you describe your overall sound and musical genre?
KK: I feel like my style is always evolving so I always have such a hard time answering this question. In today’s age of music, artists don’t have the same pressure to stick so closely to one genre or style anymore. Current music is continuing to create new subgenres which I feel is amazing, as it creates more variance, moods and diversity within a specific genre. I’m definitely inspired by new things every day, so trying to fit myself into a box in which I have to stay the same all the time is just not me. Although my current music falls somewhere on the pop spectrum, I’ve created alternative rock, electro-pop, indie pop, country pop and electric dance music (EDM) tracks. I would definitely say that I am more focused on expressing the message behind my music rather than making music that fits within a certain genre.
TCS: Personally, one of my favorite tracks is your song called “Let Go,” could you describe the creative process behind the song as well as the in-studio music video concept?
KK: Thank you so much! This song was actually written several years ago but was never properly recorded until just recently. When I was writing the song, I had been going through a hard breakup and was experiencing a lot of mixed emotions. I was scared to let go of a relationship that I cared so deeply for, but at the same time it also caused so much pain and heartache. I think I was in love with something that “could” or “should” have been, and not what really was. Like all my music, my songs are an outlet for how I am feeling and what I am going through. It can be a bit personal, having my diary out on full display, but it’s always been how I’ve worked my way through things. This particular song was written on my couch with just a few simple chords on my guitar, which definitely kept the pop/rock vibes during production. The music video concept was simply a fun way to show my fans the creative process of being in studio. We actually filmed at the location where I primarily record and mix my songs so that place is like a second home to me.
TCS: What would you say is your motivation and muse when you write songs? Is there a specific formula that you follow?
KK: My muse for creating and writing new music is simply my life. All of my songs are very personal and have such a strong connection to either something I’ve gone through personally or witnessed from someone else. I’ve definitely had my share of heartbreaks and missteps, and like many people; I used to bottle up my emotions, which made it a lot harder to move forward. Writing music to me has always just been such a great way to express and put words to how I am feeling. It’s almost like finding comfort in some sort of musical closure. However, it’s important to note, that just because I write a sad song, it doesn’t mean that I’m still in that place currently. I am actually a pretty darn happy person! However, I don’t think anyone really forgets the feelings we once felt or the memories we’ve made in our past, and often those are the songs which are most raw and real, and yet therapeutic to create.
When it comes to writing a new song, I don’t really have a set formula. Sometimes I’ll just be driving in my car and a melody pops in my head, so I’ll use a recording app on my phone and just sing. I literally have THOUSANDS of voice notes on my phone and will listen back to them during a writing session and see if anything stands out and build off that. Sometimes I’ll create new music or melodies by just goofing around on my guitar or piano, while other times I’ll write lyrics over a pre-made beat or instrumental. Literally no song creation for me is the exact same. In fact, sometimes a song can take less than an hour to write completely, while others can take months and, in some cases, may never get finished.
TCS: Tell us about the background story behind “What Do You Want From Me”?
KK: This song is actually one of my own personal favorites because of how personal and honest it is. I’ve always been brutally honest in my lyrics, but I was never great at sharing this honesty – maybe for fear of judgement or unwanted sympathy, or maybe for people figuring out whom the song was about. This particular song was written about an ex right after we broke up. We had broken up and gotten back together a couple times – and there was always this hope that things would change. I wanted so badly for this person to come around and fix what was broken. The song for me was about the frustrations of being with someone I loved, but also feeling like I was in a state of delusive contentment, like I was stuck in a loop of being strung along, while also being deeply loved and relied upon. I had given so much of myself to the relationship, without getting the same in return. It was exhausting. The song itself, is about that longing for things to change, but when things finally do, it’s too late. The honesty behind the song, was that there actually was a change, but time had changed my point of view, and it didn’t matter anymore, it was too much to go back from and even though it hurt a lot at the time, I needed to let go, and I needed him to let me go too.
TCS: Could you describe for us one of the weirdest experiences you had during the course of your music career?
KK: I can’t say that I’ve had anything particularly weird happen, but my cats definitely start to freak the hell out whenever I start to sing – definitely hurts the feelings a little bit lol.
TCS: As a recording artist, how have you embraced social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube to market your songs, albums, merchandise and/or appearances?
KK: It’s honestly amazing how many social platforms we have now to connect with each other! Instagram has been a huge for reaching new fans and showcasing my music. With Facebook, people are only able to find you when they already know you, but with apps like Instagram and now Tik Tok, you are able to reach millions of people across the globe who can stumble across your content randomly, through related hashtags, or as a recommendation (or tag) from friends and content creators. You can interact with fans on a personal level and show them pieces of your everyday life and creative process through “IG Stories”, while also being introduced to so many other talented musicians. I actually recently released a song titled “Out of Sight” which was a collaboration project with Jameo, an EDM producer out of Los Angeles, California, who I originally connected with through Instagram.
YouTube has also been amazing so far for my career. Several years ago, I created fitness parody music video on YouTube, which I then simply shared to my own pages via Facebook. The video ended up going viral and was reposted on websites and other Facebook pages from Australia to Germany, acquiring over 12 million views worldwide. Due to the success of the parody, I released a follow up fitness parody the following year, which was also picked up and shared internationally, this time receiving notable media attention from websites like ESPN, People Magazine and Kiss Radio. It’s pretty cool that I still have fans who found me through my parodies and have continued to follow my musical journey and support me and my music. Aside from my parodies, YouTube has always been an amazing place to share and promote both cover songs and original music.
TCS: Can you describe for us the history behind your viral fitness parodies and the worldwide attention that they received with notable features by ESPN, People Magazine, CBC and Kiss Radio?
KK: The first fitness parody I created was honestly just the result of me wanting to put together a super simple and fun music video with my friends. I had been a gym rat for a while and when I heard Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” my mind instantly went to “All About Those Gains.” I was just messing around one day and ended up writing the entire song in one session and everything kind of just snowballed from there. I’ve always been really into comedy, and thanks to my dad I grew up listening to a lot of Weird Al Yankovic (he was actually my very first concert!) so writing and filming a fitness parody was totally up my alley.
I ended up releasing the music video for “All About Those Gains” on Reddit, Facebook and YouTube. Within about 2 weeks, the video went viral. Based on the success of the parody it led me to create another parody the following year. This time, I selected Mariah Carey’s classic holiday hit “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” changing the title to “All I Want For Christmas Is Gains,” which quickly gained international attention. It’s always funny how sometimes the simplest of videos can reap the biggest success. Both parodies were produced at no cost and were filmed primarily with an old iPhone using no tripods or fancy equipment and were edited on my computer through Windows Movie Maker.
TCS: If you weren’t in the music industry, what would you see yourself doing instead?
KK: Honestly, I am not really sure. Music has always been the one constant in my life. Currently, I am also working as a personal trainer and health coach, which I absolutely love. Gotta pay those bills! Fitness is so much more than just lifting weights and getting in shape, the biggest transformations come from within, and it’s amazing to get to be a part of someone else’s life journey. Moving into the health and fitness industry was a natural transition for me, not just because I was already active and had experience in psychology, but because it allowed me more freedom and time to pursue my music career. However, I would be lying if I didn’t say that my ultimate dream job is to work in an animal sanctuary petting lions all day.
TCS: What does the short and long-term future look like for Kassie K?
KK: Well I am really excited to announce my recent signing to Mi5 Recordings! Coming from Vancouver, BC this is such an amazing opportunity for me to work with some highly talented and experienced industry professionals – ultimately helping to take my music to the next level. In the short-term, I am looking forward to releasing a digital album and physical compilation of my previously released singles as well as some of my soon to be released tracks entitled Happy Never After. I have SO much going on right now, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been more excited and prouder of the music that I am creating. Long-term, I am really looking forward to working with Mi5 Recordings and enjoying the adventure.
To stay connected, please join me on the following:
About Frank Iacono
Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.
Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.