Recording artist Cassandra Kubinski returns for hometown show
By Jennifer Holloway - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Thu., Jun. 9, 2011
Though talented and passionate about singing from childhood, Enfield native Cassandra Kubinski had no thoughts of becoming a singer/songwriter until college. She and fellow artist Annie Fitzgerald returned to Kubinski’s hometown to play at Falcetti Music on June 3.
“I discovered music through music my parents exposed me to,” said Kubinski, now 27. One of those artists was Billy Joel, who is now a friend of Kubinski’s, after Joel discovered her music on MySpace and reached out to her.
Disney musicals were also important in influencing Kubinski’s current path. “They could take you to different places,” she said. “I never truly acknowledged the impact they had on me.”
Those movies, coupled with her musical theater experience, which began at age 10, heavily influenced her songwriting style. “My songs have to go somewhere for me,” Kubinski said. The idea of transporting the listener and telling a story are important to her.
Following graduation from Enfield High School in 2001, Kubinski attended Florida State University to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater. It was there she had a distinct visualization that led her to where she is today.
“9/11 had happened, and I was alone in my dorm writing in my journal,” Kubinski said. She was writing about being on stage, imagining lights and fog surrounding her. “That vision became a calling,” she said. From there, Kubinski became fascinated with songwriting and learning more about the business side of the music industry, reading every available book in her college library.
From Florida, she moved to New York City to start a career that involves both writing and performing, as well as other endeavors, including voiceovers, jingles and writing commission pieces for weddings or other occasions.
Back in high school, Kubinski said her image was probably more “Broadway Girl” than “Future Recording Artist,” or even “Prospective CEO,” as she was valedictorian of her senior class. She played Annie at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam when she was 12, which she says was definitely a celebrity moment, and one that might have branded her.
Though she no longer performs on a theater stage, in a cast or even in an ensemble, Kubinski values the collaborative aspect those experiences provided and even misses it in some ways. “I’ve made a commitment to be in more community and collaborate with other artists,” she said.
One collaboration that Kubinski recognizes is not for her right now is the group songwriting style that operates heavily in Nashville. She most often writes songs alone, and while living in Nashville, she found writing in a room with several people to be tough. Looking back, Kubinski said it was a good experience, and if nothing else, she learned how to best process her talent.
Something else that did not work was being a jazz crooner, described by Kubinski as finger-snapping in a black dress. “I was playing a role I wasn’t suited to play,” she said.
Once she realized what not to be, Kubinski found her place. She has recorded three albums - “Live at Camp Nashville” (2010), “Hold the Sun” (2007) and “Hiding Underneath” (2005). She is working on a new album now with Edd Kalehoff and will also soon release two music videos for “Just Being Myself” and “Windblown Girl.”
Both Kubinski and Fitzgerald agree it is difficult to label their music in a type or genre. Fitzgerald pointed out that listeners tend to classify music based on their own history with artists, so it can often be fruitless to categorize yourself. Still, Kubinski uses words like “dramatic” and “theatrical” to describe her sound.
Kubinski’s songs vary from soulful and deep to witty and humorous. Her song “Literally” was written as a commission piece and shows a love she has for working with words and their meanings. The song strings together examples of how many people incorrectly use the word “literally.” The Falcetti Music audience was rolling with laughter over the examples Kubinski passionately delivered, which included a “Star Wars” reference.
Annie Fitzgerald, originally from Minnesota, opened for Kubinski at Falcetti Music. She has a similar background to Kubinski that involves musical theater and dancing. After working in the Minnesota theater scene, Fitzgerald decided it was now or never, and moved to New York City. “I wanted to be me, not another character,” she said.
Fitzgerald met Kubinski in 2005 at the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame New Writers Showcase, and the two have remained friends, performing together in the city and traveling for a few gigs.
Fitzgerald’s first full-length album, “In Good Time,” was released in 2010, and she is currently working on her second.