Hot New L.A. Artist Alert: Cassandra Violet

Cassandra Violet

Local singer-songwriter, Cassandra Violet leads a double life. By day, she’s a high school English/theater teacher in East L.A. — and a coaxing, songstress by night. Her newest release is the low-key, yet internally soul-wrenching, three-track EP, Beyond The Fray. While her students may not be privy to her music (their heads might explode!), we were smart enough to finally open her emails. Cassandra explained to me that the title track was about abandonment, and feelings of being afraid and angry about being alone, keystones of heartache.

Despite the vulnerable position dissipating relationships may put us in, at various times throughout our lives, it is possible to dive into our deep set emotions and come out the other side empowered, enriched and looking on the bright side of life again. For me, Cassandra Violet’s song “Beyond the Fray” poses as a short, yet powerful vehicle for taking a moment to do just that. Embrace a little heartache, it’s ok.

Best Songs: “Beyond the Fray” is instantly enchanting, sucking you into it’s off-kilter, eerily enthralling sound. “Sail the Ocean” driven by somber piano and strings is a passionate ballad that tugs at your heart strings and pokes fun at your tear ducts. This song should be immediately licensed for a Grey’s Anatomy montage. “Game of Pretend” is a light-hearted, vocally rich and layered song (with a video to match!) that transforms Cassandra into a one-woman, a cappella group with a little help from a looping pedal.

Interesting Tidbit:  After Cassandra wrote “Beyond the Fray” (in ten minutes, pissed off), she knew she wanted to record it. She enlisted the help of James Klopfleisch on upright bass and multi-instrumentalist Joe Berry.  When Cassandra told Joe she wanted to record the song with percussion he brought: a bag of Sobritos peanuts, a glass jar with a ball of tinfoil in it, and a prescription bottle full of uncooked rice. Add some stomping on a wooden board, and voila, the title track was born! “Beyond the Fray” serves as a reminder that you don’t always need high end production and over the top antics to make the most out of a song — sometimes it’s the little things.

Three Words to Describe Cassandra Violet: Vulnerable — Charming — Personal

Upcoming Shows: Cassandra Violet is currently planning a summer West Coast tour, as well as a Los Angeles show in mid-May, details TBA.  Stay tuned to her website for details!

Words: Emily Saex

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