Monday, December 11, 2017

20 Questions with Cassandra Kubinski

Singer/songwriter Cassandra Kubinski has a rich resume as a musician, entertainer, and actor.  Her music has been featured on the Lifetime television series "Dance Moms" (of which I, with a currently 16 year-old dancer in the house, am way too familiar), "One Life To Live" and "RuPaul's Drag Race".  She has appeared on screen in the series "Spin City" and in the motion picture "Finding Forrester".  Cassandra has shared the stage with such greats as Lady Gaga, Goo Goo Dolls, 10,000 Maniacs, and Dickie Betts.  She has collaborated on a song with Billy Joel.  Pretty impressive stuff.

Even more impressive is Cassandra's commitment to giving, the artistry of music, and leadership and positive influences though such organizations as Women in Music (Cassandra is a board member), and Swish, the gay-straight alliance.  Cassandra has also been very active with Autism Speaks, and 100% of the proceeds from her inspirational anthem "Not So Different" are donated to The Institute for Autism Research.

Wow.  Talented.  Busy.  Inspirational.  Focused.  Good.  Kind.

And, now she has released a Christmas EP!

Cassandra Kubinski's six song EP "Holiday Magic" showcases her talents as a singer/songwriter with three original songs and three interpretations of traditional carols, including an excellent piece combining "I'll Be Home for Christmas" with "Homeward Bound".  Her originals "Christmas Is All About" and "It Doesn't Feel Like December" are upbeat, snappy, and very catchy, while "New Year Comin'" is more contemplative, looking back at the year gone by and looking forward to the hope in the coming year. "Holiday Magic" is available for digital download through iTunes and Google Play, as well as streaming through Spotify (details here).  Even better, through Cassandra's PledgeMusic site you can order CDs of "Holiday Magic" and also many other goodies, even meeting Cassandra for hot chocolate!

Cassandra kindly agreed to a "20 Questions with..." interview with Merry & Bright so that you can get to know her better as an artist, musician, and person.  Please check out the links to Cassandra's website and other information following the interview.  Without further ado, here are 20 Questions with Cassandra Kubinski.


1. Favorite Christmas Song: Charlie Brown Christmas - whole album

2. Fruitcake: Yes or No? No Thanks!

3. Musician Who Inspires You: Billy Joel, Rob Thomas, Sara Bareilles, Jason Mraz

4. Story behind your song “It Doesn’t Feel Like December”: I was out for a walk in December 2007 and kinda in a depressed mood. I think the song was a gift from the universe to cheer me up. It just started playing in my head, and basically wrote itself. I don't remember writing it down... Which is the case with many of my songs!

5. Favorite Family Christmas Tradition: Baking and decorating sugar cookies with mom, opening stockings Christmas morning, going to a movie all together the night of Christmas

6. Musician You Want to Record a Christmas Duet With: Michael Buble

7. Thoughts on the Importance of Giving Back: This is something I've always incorporated into my approach to music. From performing at Relay for Life events, mentoring younger songwriters, and donating portions of sales for marriage equality and animal rescues, to my song "Not So Different", which is a benefit for Autism and has raised tens of thousands of dollars through sales and the version I recorded with the Goo Goo dolls and 10,000 Maniacs

8. One Accomplishment in 2017:
I got married to an incredible, wonderful partner! There's nothing like being on a winning team, and with him, I am.

9. One Goal for 2018: Stay married! Just kidding. One goal would be to share our music more widely by being in regular rotation on radio across the world, especially Sirius XM!

10. Why You Made “Holiday Magic”: I loved all our holiday albums and movies growing up... WHITE CHRISTMAS, FROSTY, RUDOLPH etc and I know how many moments are created with music. I wanted to add new warmth, magic and memories to the mix and freshen up some old classics too!

11. Musician/Band That Everyone Should Listen To: I'm a big fan of my duet partner Matt Cusson... He mixes up pop, R&B, jazz, and works with some serious pop and theater artists too. I recommend his Christmas EP and all his records!

12. One Thing That Makes You Happy: Dark chocolate. And taking a leisurely coffee break for Mrs. London's almond croissants in Saratoga Springs.

13. Best Lady Gaga Story: Before she was super famous, I went out clubbing with her and my friend Esseri, now a radio DJ and personality in Nashville. Stephanie was a bit of a wild child but a lot of fun! I didn't last the whole evening, but there was definitely a lot of dancing on booths in VIP!

14. Favorite Thing about Christmas in New York City:
How all the stores light up! The lights are truly beautiful. I also love the skating rink at Bryant Park.

15. Favorite Food: I love a hearty salad with maybe roasted chicken, kale, butternut squash, cranberries... At this time of year, I crave hearty yet healthy foods that help keep the colds away... Especially even I don't have to cook! I also love a delicious thin crust artisan pizza!

16. Christmas Tree: Real or Artificial? Grew up with an artificial one and still have artificial as an adult.

17. Breads Bakery Chocolate Babka: Just How Scrumptious Is It? Never had it! It sounds like a NYC delicacy though.

18. Story of your song “Not So Different”: My friend has two sons on the Autism spectrum. She asked me to write an anthem for them. I interviewed her and other families with members on the spectrum and wrote the song from first person. It has been used at countless Autism walks, events and fundraisers, and I've been honored to perform it at Barclays Center for the NY Islanders, at Buffalo State university with the Goo Goo Dolls and Mary Ramsey of 10,000 Maniacs, and for Autism groups nationwide.

19. Why is Music Important: Music is healing. It's literally changing the vibration of your cells each time you are exposed to rhythm, melody, harmony. It has tremendous power to heal, inspire, relax, invigorate, spur action and change, and empower us. Those who make music wield that power and I believe we should use it responsibly.

20. Message to Your Fans:
Be kind. Be generous. Especially at the holidays, we have so, so much. It's cliche, but all we give returns to us tenfold.

Cassandra Kubinski website
Cassandra Kubinski PledgeMusic site for "Holiday Magic"

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