Childhood & Early Life
Casandra Elizabeth Ventura was born on August 26, 1986, in New London, Connecticut, US. Her father is a Filipino while her mother is of African-American, West Indian and Mexican descent. She has a brother, Rod. She studied at the Williams School, Connecticut College campus.
She ventured into modelling at age 14, and began modelling for local department stores, Seventeen (magazine) and fashion catalogue of Delia's.
She briefly featured in the music video of ‘Just a Friend 2002’ by American singer Mario. She took lessons in vocals and modern ballet and also attended performing arts program of the school.
She completed her high school education in 2004. Thereafter, she relocated to New York City and made a comeback in modelling. She attended classes at the ‘Broadway Dance Center’ and also started booking print and commercial modelling gigs.
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She was discovered by record producer Ryan Leslie, who spotted her frequently at clubs and parties during the late 2002. He helped her in recording demo tapes. They co-wrote the duet, ‘Kiss Me,’ and Leslie recorded and played the song for music executive Tommy Mottola, who, in turn, offered a management deal to Cassie.
In 2005, Leslie signed Cassie as the first artist of his music-media company, NextSelection Lifestyle Group,’ that he founded with Rasheed Richmond. Guided by Leslie, Cassie emerged among the fastest rising R&B acts of that year.
Her debut single, ‘Me & U’, written and produced by Leslie, was released on April 25, 2006, as the lead single of her eponymous first album, ‘Cassie’ (2006). The track peaked at #3 on the ‘U.S. Billboard Hot 100’ in 2006 and stayed in top forty for around 20 weeks. It became a club hit in Germany and emerged among the biggest records in Atlantic Records’ history.
Her self-titled debut album, ‘Cassie,’ was released by Leslie’s ‘NextSelection,’ ‘Diddy’s Bad Boy Records,’ and ‘Atlantic Records’ on August 8, 2006. It was an experimental R&B and pop album with influences of hip hop, and was produced by Leslie.
The album, ‘Cassie,’ debuted at #4 on the ‘US Billboard 200’ and remained on the chart for 13 weeks. It received critical acclaim and garnered comparisons to Janet Jackson. She performed at the MTV television series ‘Total Request Live’ and on BET’s popular hip hop and R&B music video show ‘106 & Park: BET's Top 10 Live’ to promote the album.
She garnered a lot of fame with ‘Cassie,’ which eventually developed a cult following and received credit as a pioneer of "experimental R&B.” An LP of the album was released by English record label ‘Be With Records’ on July 10, 2015.
Cassie debuted in films with the American dance flick, ‘Step Up 2: The Streets,’ where she played Sophie Donovan. The film released on February 14, 2008, and became a huge box-office hit.
The lead single, ‘Is It You,’ of soundtrack album of ‘Step Up 2: The Streets’ was sung by her. It was earlier made available for digital download on November 13, 2007. It charted in several major international territories, including peaking at #10 on the UK R&B (Official Charts Company).
She announced ‘Electro Love’ as her second album in July 2009. She spawned three singles but they failed to perform well in the US. These include the ‘Official Girl,’ ‘Must Be Love,’ and ‘Let's Get Crazy.’
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In December 2009, it was announced that she had signed a new record deal with American major record label, ‘Interscope Records.’
On February 14, 2012, she released the single, ‘King of Hearts,’ and its official music video. She performed the critically acclaimed uptempo electronic dance song, featuring escalating synths and jungle beats live for the first time, on April 24 at the BET aired popular American hip hop and R&B music video show ‘106 & Park.’
She collaborated with Nicki Minaj for the single, ‘The Boys,’ released through Universal Republic, Cash Money, and Young Money. It became the lead single of Minaj’s re-released album, ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded – The Re-Up.’
She released her first mixtape, ‘RockaByeBaby,’ through Bad Boy Records on April 11, 2013. The concept of the mixtape is based on the American action gangster film, ‘New Jack City’ (1991). The mixtape received critical acclaim and was named as the ‘best mixtape of the year’ by bi-monthly British style magazine, ‘Dazed & Confused.’ She collaborated with Too $hort, Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, French Montana and Meek Mill, and James Fauntleroy on this project.
Cassie has also released singles like ‘Radio’ (2011), ‘Balcony’ (2012), and ‘Love a Loser’ (2017). She appeared in tracks like ‘Addiction’ (2008), ‘Babygirl’ (2012) and ‘#Wheresthelove’ (2016).
She has made guest appearances in tracks of several artists, including Jay-Z and Didy.
She made a comeback in films with the starring role of Eva in the Bille Woodruff-directed romantic comedy film, ‘The Perfect Match,’ which released on March 11, 2016. She also starred as Melea Martin in yet another Woodruff film ‘Honey 3: Dare to Dance’. The film was made available on Netflix on September 6, 2016 as also released on Blu-Ray and DVD on that day in the US. Its soundtrack album included an original track titled ‘Joint (No Sleep)’ by her.
She has modelled for Victoria's Secret, Seventeen Magazine, Walmart, Target and Abercrombie among others.