Cassa Jackson

Cassa Jackson

Cassa Jackson chats opening for JLS, goals for 2022, and more.

Having grabbed the opportunity to support JLS on their Beat Again comeback tour with both hands, Cassa Jackson cannot believe how the shows had gone. “I still have to pinch myself every time I’m on stage that this is really happening,” Jackson says with excitement when we caught up with her on tour. “There are so many people in the audience! At the end of my set, I always ask the audience to turn their phone torches on for the final song and the view still blows my mind every time! The JLS fans are awesome and really up for a good time!”

Ever wondered what life is like on tour? For Jackson, it starts out “pretty crazy.” Here’s what a day her life looks like. “I wake up and I have to travel from city to city and once I’m in the city we’re playing that night I arrive at the arena for soundcheck at around 4 p.m,” she says. “Then it’s straight into hair and makeup before the show (I’m on at 7 p.m.). Then after the show, I will do a little photo shoot backstage for Instagram and then I will watch some of JLS’s set (which are just sensational). Then it’s back to the hotel for a peppermint tea and bed!”

Of course, being on tour sounds like a lot of fun. Traveling to different cities, meeting fans, and getting to make memories that last a lifetime. As Jackson experiences life on the road, there are a few things that she has learned that she will be applying to shows in the future, like “being yourself on stage,” she says with pride. “I used to think it had to be this big ‘performance,’ but I’ve learned that the crowd loves it when I just talk openly and honestly about what my songs are about as it means they can relate to them more. Also just have fun and the audience will too!”

She adds, “All the O2 arena shows have been a massive highlight. It’s always been a dream of mine to perform at the O2 Arena, so the fact that I got to do it four times was seriously awesome! Aside from the shows, just being in the dressing room having a laugh with my hair and makeup girls and stylist has been so much fun and we’ve got so many hilarious memories I will cherish forever!”

Let’s take it back to the beginning. There are always moments in anyone’s career that bring them to the point of realizing a certain industry is where they want to make their mark. For Jackson, it wasn’t until she performed at a concert in school that she realized that music was for her. “I remember singing ‘Drops of Jupiter’ by Train in my school concert and I just loved the whole process so much that I knew I wanted to be a singer,” Jackson remembers fondly. “It wasn’t till I started writing songs though that really convinced me I could do it as a career. I love expressing my feelings through music and I love the fact that people can relate to my songs.”

Fast forward a few years of writing original material that allowed her to become the artist she has always wanted, and Jackson is proud of all the songs that she has released. Speaking of singles, “Wish I Didn’t Care,” the latest release, was inspired after a little pep talk with her mom. So many of us have been there. “I actually wrote the hook for ‘Wish I Didn’t Care’ whilst I was on a walk with my mum bizarrely,” she says. “I was having one of those pep talks with my mum about how I was struggling with jealousy in a relationship at the time. I just said, ‘ugh I just wish I didn’t care’ and she said ‘hey that’s quite a good lyric’! So then I started humming a tune and that was how the song was born!”

“But then the actual writing process was a few weeks after that and I co-wrote it with my producer over FaceTime,” she adds. “We then recorded it remotely because it was during COVID, so I had to record the vocals in my bedroom and send them over to him, which made things harder than being in the studio together but we made it work!”

When it comes to Jackson’s EP, I Don’t Like It When You Talk About Her, it’s “a lot of sassy breakup songs!” The title track, “I Don’t Like It When You Talk About Her” is “more about being stuck in the friend zone when you like them but they like someone else,” she says. “Never a good situation to be in, but I’ve got a sassy song out of it!”

“The rest are basically a journey through a breakup; so ‘Crossroad’ is the saddest and most vulnerable song on the EP, definitely one to cry to in the car. But then we move through to the moment you end the relationship ‘I Don’t Need this Right Now’ and the realization that the relationship isn’t good for you!”

Jackson mentions that the track “Love’s a Losing Battle” was one that she was the proudest of. “I actually wrote it a few years ago, but I decided to release it on this EP so that I could perform it on the JLS tour as it’s so upbeat,” she explains. “The lyrics were still as relevant as the day I wrote them. There’s also one lyric that makes me emotional on stage because it says, ‘Why can’t I let go? Why do I hold on? Where has this got me to?’ And every time I sing it at these huge arenas I just think to myself, wow it’s got me here! And I wish I could tell that heartbroken girl that going through all those emotions and writing her feelings down enabled her to sing in front of thousands of people!”

“I remember the first time I released my first single too,” Jackson recalls. “I was SO nervous! I’d just started at Bristol University and I remember meeting all these new people and telling them I’d just released a single and could they go listen!” But then it was this incredibly open and vulnerable song about heartbreak and I was nervous people would judge me. But now I’ve realized strength is born out of vulnerability and music gives people a place to be open about what they’re going through.”

As Jackson’s career continues to grow, being offered opportunities such as supporting the legends that are The Jacksons on their 50th Anniversary tour must be something that she will never forget. “Supporting the Jacksons was seriously awesome!” Jackson says with excitement. “They are such legends in music; I felt honored. I vividly remember when I was on stage and suddenly mid-set I looked up and Tito Jackson was watching me from the pit upstairs — I nearly forgot the words! It was also in Spain and I love the sun, so that was a real plus, but I also speak Spanish so being able to chat to the crowd in Spanish was cool!”

One way that Jackson has seen growth when it comes to her career is through social media. “Social media has been amazing, especially TikTok,” she says. “It really changed my life. I posted a video of me sitting in my car talking about my song ‘Parallel Universe’ and it went viral and the streams on Spotify just started climbing! If it’s used in a good way social media can be a great thing.”

Even before touring, releasing music and gaining a following, from friends, family, and people in the industry, the support that Jackson has received has been “the best support ever, they believe in me so much and I’m so lucky to have such a fab support network surrounding me on this journey. My friends have also been amazing, which I am incredibly grateful for!”

Music, for so many people, can help them escape from whatever they are going through. Whether it’s a certain artist or a song, this can have a big impact on so many lives. Plus, it’s a way for people to express their emotions. “No matter what I’m going through, I know I’ll be able to write it down into a song and it’ll get me through it,” Jackson shares. “It’s my form of therapy and songwriting is such a cathartic experience. But also just listening to other people’s music is so important to me. I always have music on whatever I’m doing and life experiences just wouldn’t be the same without it!”

With a new year comes brand new goals and new memories to be made. Jackson reflects on what 2021 was like for her. “I’m looking forward to getting back in the studio and writing new music,” she reveals. “I’m hoping to release my debut album next year and then tour it around all the cities I’ve just played on the JLS tour! I’m looking forward to being able to properly meet all the new fans I’ve gained and give them new music to listen to.”