Cassie Steele breaks into music industry

Cassie Steele breaks into music industry

By SHERRI WOOD — Toronto Sun

The teen girl pop star pool just got a little more crowded.

15-year-old Cassie Steele, best known for her portrayal of Manny Santos on the hit TV series Degrassi: The Next Generation, is throwing a CD release party this week for her new album, How Much For Happy.

Surprisingly more rock than pop, the album was written, produced and recorded in her hometown Scarborough, with all lyrics written by Steele.

But brace yourself: It’s not your typical teen queen stuff. From drugs (“Candy coated death / Lined with crystal meth / How it takes my breath away”) to sex with another woman’s husband (“Maybe if you weren’t a pain / Just the wife and I’m his whore”) to death (“Six feet underground / How d’you like me now?”), it’s anything but what you’d expect from a 15-year-old girl.

“I’ve been in the Degrassi mould and this is my way of letting loose and breaking free from that,” Steele says. “This isn’t acting — this is me … I think people will be surprised, but those who know me will say it’s totally Cassie.”

Steele says although she had to tell her parents her lyrics are “all metaphors” and not real-life, she firmly believes hers are the typical stories of today’s teens.

“I think these are the normal thoughts of 15- and 16-year-olds,” she says. “I just had the opportunity to write them down.”

Steele admits that being a child actor put the pressure on her to “grow up quickly” but she says she’s comfortable with it and even wanted to take a more mature route with her album.

“I wanted to go even harder but I had to still connect with my younger Degrassi fans, as well as the people I wanted to speak to, which was older teens and the early 20s crowd,” Steele says. “With this album, I’m trying to tell my story and say that people aren’t always what they seem — everyone has a good and bad side.”

It’s clear from her lengthy list of young artist awards that Steele’s good side includes her acting career. As for her bad side — well, the young star breezily offers up a few vices.

“I’m not regular with school, I don’t have the best grades, terrible attendance, I like to party — I do what average teenagers do,” she says without skipping a beat. “People say you miss out when you’re a child actor, but the reason I missed my semi-formal was because I got suspended from school for possession and for giving alcohol to a minor.”

According to Steele, life outside the classroom is where she thrives best.

“I don’t really care about school,” she says. “I learn more every day that I’m singing and acting as opposed to when I’m cooped up in a little room all day.”

Steele is sure to add that she thinks it’s important to know when to draw the line.

“You have to know your limits and how far you can push yourself,” she says. “I’m a rock star! I push myself all the way. Whatever it takes, I’ll do it if it means I’ll get what I want.”

Cassie Steele CD release party: Tuesday March 15, Mod Club, 722 College St. W.

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