Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Listening to the Voice Inside; Cassandra Reed's Music Reflects Her Life

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Listening to the Voice Inside; Cassandra Reed's Music Reflects Her Life

Article excerpt

Byline: Eyder Peralta, Times-Union staff writer

On the phone, Cassandra Reed's voice is slightly raspy and much higher than on her albums.

"When I started writing it was more in the form of a diary," she said by phone from New York while ironing clothes for an upcoming tour that brings her to Jacksonville Beach Sunday for a free show at the SeaWalk Pavilion. "With time, you kinda learn to make things so that they could be more generally understood. But [songs] are based on my experiences."

Reed's self-titled debut album is an eclectic mix of sounds -- from hard, Alicia Keys-ish R&B rhythms to more smooth jazz serenades. But her voice, with its slight nasalness and low-end peaks, is really the thrill.

On the album, she covers Michael Jackson's The Man In the Mirror with only an upright bass and vocal harmonies as accompaniment. "I always loved the song," she said. "And I heard it lately, and I'm thinking what the song says is so really deep and the production is really pop, so I just felt like doing it in this totally stripped-down version. In the version that we have, you are more inclined to listen to the lyrics."

Reed, a native of Seville, Spain, said she had never really paid much attention to her voice. "It took me awhile to become aware of it. I just remember that in all the school choirs and everything, I had to sing the solo part," she said, with a delicate accent. It wasn't until she thought of her voice as an instrument that she discovered its potential. "That's why I picked up the saxophone, because it's very close to the human voice. And I've always been attracted to an instrument that can convey the passion of the human voice."

After leaving Seville at a very young age, Reed traveled around quite a bit, and ended up in New York City, where she said she has found musical kinship with the likes of Jason Miles, who has worked with a wide range of A-list names like Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Miles Davis. …

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