Raised on classic hard rock and metal and inspired by female rockers such as Lzzy Hale, Joan Jett, Pink, Pat Benatar & Avril Lavigne, Cassidy Paris is on a mission to inspire a new generation of younger fans not only to listen to Rock ’n’ Roll, but pick up a guitar instead of a phone.
Hailing from a musical family – that includes her father Steve Janevski (Wicked Smile, The Radio Sun) – has certainly put Cassidy on the right path. As the old saying goes ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ and that’s certainly the case with this Melbourne based singer/songwriter.
The Aussie teenager recently released her latest single ‘Like I Never Loved You’, and for her latest offering, Paris worked with her mentor, songwriter and producer Paul Laine (The Defiants, Danger Danger).
During lockdown Cassidy Paris also featured on the New Wave of Classic Rock Webfest 2, gaining her even more exposure in the UK market. Of course, Paris is eager to follow in the footsteps of her dad and perform at HRH. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for that one.
Here at HRH Mag, we caught up with Cassidy at home in Melbourne to talk about her latest single, the music scene back home in Australia and her plans going forward.
AK: You’ve just released your new single “Like I Never Loved You”. Can you tell us a little bit about that song and how it came to fruition and maybe a little bit of the background about the song?
CP: The musical direction was something that I’ve been wanting to write for a while now. So, when Paul (Laine) and I sat down together, we knew kind of where we wanted to go with it. Kind of a more angsty type of song crossing pathways between pop and rock. It has a lot of different eighties and seventies rock influences that I tried to incorporate into it. And it has a bit of a modern spin on it as well, which is really cool. And I think that the outcome is fun and I love singing it. I’m a writer who bases my songs on personal experience. So this one was a combination of a couple of people. So yeah, it was really fun to write and I’m happy with the outcome.
AK: You mentioned there about working with Paul Laine (Danger Danger). He’s a bit of a heavyweight in the industry – what was it like working with Paul and what did he bring to the table?
CP: With Paul, it’s always a fun time. And I always reiterate that I am so blessed to have such a fantastic support system behind me. And Paul is no exception to that. I’m lucky to have worked with him on multiple occasions. I always refer to him as the rock and roll Mozart. He’s just the best at what he does. He’s such a killer songwriter and performer and I’m just really, really excited about working with him more in the future.
AK: I’ve seen that you’ve been doing bits of stuff over here as well with the NWOCR webcast and things like that. Have you been overwhelmed by the reception that you’ve received on this side of the pond?
CP: Yeah, absolutely. I’d love to play in the UK, particularly at HRH. My dad’s gigged at that festival on multiple occasions so it’d be a dream to come over. Hopefully very soon once the coronavirus thing resolves. I think that it’s cool to see so many people enjoying the music that I’ve produced worldwide and it always blows my mind when I have people saying, ‘Hey, I love your new song “Like I Never Loved You”’ from the UK. And I’m like, that’s so cool to me. And that’s why I do this. I just want to make people happy. And I think that it’s been a cool response.
AK: So in terms of the pandemic, I know Melbourne’s been a bit up and down. You’ve gone in and out of lockdown. How are things right now?
CP: As you said, it’s been a little bit of a funny ride in Melbourne, well in Australia in general, but particularly Melbourne with the coronavirus. We haven’t had it hit as hard as some other countries so I’m very thankful for that. However, there was a stage in Melbourne where it was getting pretty bad, so the lockdown restrictions came in and it looks to have resolved a little bit, but again, we don’t know how long we’re going to be in lockdown. I’m looking forward to getting out there and playing some of my new material. I think that’s one thing that I’m missing. I’m missing performing, but as you said, the New Wave of Classic Rock and the outlets that I’ve been able to perform on streaming sites has been a cool experience. So, I’m very lucky that we have social media outlets at a time like this.
AK: Have you found that you’ve wanted to be creative during this period of lockdown?
CP: I think this time has been awesome for me in a way because it has allowed me to write a lot of new material and it has allowed me to rehearse some material. But as you said, the main thing for me that I’m missing is getting out on that stage and rocking that stage with the audience and having a bit of fun. So there are some downsides and some negatives, but I think the positive of it all is being able to do different things in terms of music from my home. And also, I’m in year 12 this year, so it’s been a bit of a jolty ride in that way as well. So, I think that the balance between music and school, as it’s been all online with me this year, has been something that has allowed me to escape from this whole pandemic.
AK: You come from a musical family. Your dad (Steve Janevski), obviously we know him very well over here. He’s played in the UK many times. Have you always wanted to be a musician? Have you always wanted to follow in your dad’s footsteps or was there ever any doubt that that’s what you were going to do?
CP: Yeah, I think growing up with my dad, always being involved in the music industry had an effect on me – one hundred per cent wanting to pursue it. I think that I had this memory when I was little, Dad gave me a little pink guitar with my name Cassidy written on it – I always call it one of my turning points. He exposed me to a wide variety of music, which was cool, but predominantly and mostly rock music. So I think that had something to do with me wanting to pursue it. And again, I think watching Dad play as a youngster, it was just very inspirational to me. And I was like, wow, I want to get up on that stage and do that one day too. So I’m very, very lucky to have had that.
AK: And obviously, your dad plays the guitar with you as well. So that must be fun having him along for the ride as well.
CP: Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s cool to be able to travel and do what I do with my dad. It’s been an awesome bonding experience and most of the time I travel with my family. So it’s always been a pretty cool experience to be able to do that. And I’m very thankful and lucky that I was able to do that playing with Dad and gigging with him on and off stage is always a lot of fun.
AK: How do you find the rock music scene back home in Australia? Whenever I speak to artists in Australia they always tell me the same thing – that it’s quite challenging because there are only three or four cities you can kind of perform in. How do you find the rock scene back home?
CP: Yeah, absolutely. I think Melbourne, in particular, is a great city that you can perform in. I think that also Australia in some aspects does have its downsides. Like it’s a bit of a thing of Tall Poppy Syndrome here. You can’t get your music out to a wider audience before it takes off somewhere else, which is a little bit difficult for artists like me who are trying to build an image and (position) themselves in the music industry. But I think countries like the UK and America, it’s been helpful to get that support and to have it out somewhere else. And I’m just really lucky that I was able to have that. So, I think in terms of Australia, I think several people have helped me here. I think Wicked Smile, my dad’s new band, and even people from Black Majesty and The Radio Sun have always been supportive of myself. And the community around that has always really helped guide me. So I’m thankful for that aspect of it.
AK: So, in terms of your musical style, which artists would you say have shaped or influenced your musical direction, obviously besides your dad and his projects?
CP: I think that there are many different artists. I love bands like Def Leppard. The Hysteria album has always been a really big inspiration on my music and where I want to take it. And I always love current stuff as well. Like I love the band H.E.A.T. I love Erik Grönwall, he’s just a legend. And I think even women in rock like Lzzy Hale from Halestorm has also been a big inspiration for my music. So, it does vary as I always say, it’s a combination of eighties rock, seventies rock as well and modern rock. So I’m excited to see where I can take it.
AK: From a personal point of view, besides music, I would say Netflix has been a bit of a saviour during the lockdown. Which shows have you been watching recently? Is there anything that you can recommend our readers?
CP: I have been watching Cobra Kai – I don’t know if you’ve seen that, but it has elements of eighties rock music that makes its way into the show, which has been cool. I’m an eighties person, so I love watching all those eighties inspired shows. I love Stranger Things as well. So, there was a point, I think it was at the beginning of the year, probably before lockdown. But I have rewatched it since because I love it so much. I showed my dad Stranger Things, so that was a cool experience because my dad only really watches AFL – Aussie Rules Football. That’s probably the number one thing that’s just on repeat in our household in terms of television, especially now that the Brisbane Lions are back up there, on the ladder. I think it was cool to be able to sit down and watch an eighties inspired TV show with him. So, we’ve been watching Cobra Kai and Stranger Things.
AK: You’ve got your new single out now, where do you go from here?
CP: I think performing is always something that I’m looking forward to, and I know I keep going back to that, but it is something that I’m missing at this time. So I look forward to getting out there and getting over to countries like the UK. I’m looking forward to interacting with fans in person worldwide. And I think that’s the big next step as well is just doing a variety of new things that I’ve got lined up. I’ve got a music TV show at the moment in the works as well. So I’m excited about that. So, there are several things that I’m looking forward to in the future.
“Like I Never Loved You” by Cassidy Paris is out now.