Rising country star Cassie Correlle looks to begin work on a debut album
Years of bloody and aching finger tips and swollen knuckles, years of pushing herself past the pain, has led Cassie Correlle to this night..
In front of 200 stood the 24-year-old Correlle at the Hard Rock Café in Seattle, Wash.
Strumming her Martin guitar—Shania, she calls it—Correlle tells the story about a back stabbing boy with another girl’s lipstick on his collar. “Tell the boys I say goodbye,” she sings, as if the whole situation was happening all over again. Correlle, the girl who carries a bottle of John Freida hair spray in her purse, tilts her head down, focusing on each string, as the stage lights hit her big, sparkling Texas hair.
Tonight, her fingers move as if they’ve never felt any pain.
“At first, I fought learning to play the guitar and complained about it hurting my fingers,” Correlle said. “But after my dad taught me a couple chords, I became obsessed and haven’t put it down since. It’s been a long process teaching myself to play, but so worth it.”
Country music tends to have the story line of those no-good-sons-of-bitches boys, but Correlle tells the story in a way that all genders can relate to. She’s written over 150 songs, but her first album is finally in the works. It’s been a long time coming.
“College definitely gave me a lot of material for songs,” Correlle said. “I met a lot of interesting people, got my heart broken, was angered by a couple boys, and met a lot of great friends. College is all about independence, and gaining perspective on who you are as a person.”
Before ever hitting the stage, her college dorm is where she practiced without any audience, until one afternoon when something changed that.
“I was playing guitar every day in my dorm room and singing,” Correlle said, “and one day, I opened my door and realized half the girls on my floor were outside my door listening.”
After that push of confidence, she started singing at open mic nights at WSU, where she earned her degree in advertising and got the chance she needed to be heard through her music.
“That [open mic night] was my first actual show, I believe, and after that I got in touch with the Student Entertainment Board at Washington State University, and they had me playing shows every few months throughout the rest of my college career,” Correlle said.
From there, Correlle jumped at any opportunity to play in front of eager listeners.
Last September, Correlle got to sing in Club Live at the Key Arena for the Keith Urban concert. She explains that any show is a stepping stone for her, and every experience has taught her something new.
“I love meeting new people and getting to share my music, even if there is only a crowd of 15 out in the audience,” Correlle said. “It’s all about connecting with people and sharing my music.”
Writing her way up
With her upbeat and teen-related songs, her music made it on radio stations across the country and reached the ears of Viamount Inc., the label Correlle signed with about two years ago. It operates as an independent label but is a smaller division of Sony. Correlle has been extremely happy with this company and will continue to work with them.
Her song writing expertise comes from years of writing, experiences, and the heart-aching break ups.
“After I taught myself how to play the guitar in eighth grade, it became easier to write songs and lyrics along with guitar chords,” Correlle said. “I think if you have a good imagination and the patience to capture a situation with words, you will be successful in song writing.”
Correlle found her passion for country music through the stories and emotions that the songs can bring. Just like her idol, Miranda Lambert, Correlle turns every bad relationship, feeling of sadness or anger into a song.
“It doesn’t even have to be my own situation to write a song about it. I like to draw experiences and stories from people around me and my friends,” Correlle said. “Usually, it is easiest to write under extreme emotions, but you also write the happy song occasionally. I find that when you’re happy, the last thing you want to do is sit down and write a song about it. You’re usually out with whoever is making you happy.”
Her most popular song, “Jim, Jack, and the 12-pack,” about a frat boy taking his charm a little too far, has made it big—radio big. The song aired on local stations in Washington, as well as a station in Idaho. “ I think that fans like ‘Jim, Jack, and the 12-pack’ because it tells a good story that is witty and relatable,” Correlle said.
A work in progress
Correlle’s support system is full of family members and friends, but one in particular sticks out. Emily Rice has been Correlle’s biggest fan since day one.
“I have never met a more positive and happy person who finds joy in every situation,” Rice said. “She simply sparkles. Some of our favorite memories are going to small town rodeos, getting matching tattoos, and having ‘Cassie concerts,’ which are the nights I make her play guitar and sing to me all night long.”
Rice plans to be there for Correlle every step of the way while she works her way to the forefront of country music. And by work—it’s not all singing and guitar. Correlle has two other jobs as well.
She works full time for a company called Solavei and part-time for LivingSocial as an experience coordinator for their adventures team. She acts as a guide for customers, she said, checking out anything from sushi making and saki tasting to rivertubing, bratwursts, and beer.
“One show at a time,” said Correlle. “It’s a slow process, but if you stay true to yourself and your music, people can’t ignore it,” Correlle said. “I plan on playing more shows across the U.S. eventually—that’s a goal of mine. I have fans all over the U.S. who I definitely want to meet and connect with.”