Renee Cassar has lived the ultimate MySpace music fairytale. Jordana Borensztajn reports.
As a tech-savvy member of Generation Y, Cassar used the web as a porthole to attract fans across the nation. Clicking all the right buttons, Cassar soared to the top of MySpace’s unsigned artists list, secured a record deal with Island Records Australia, and has even made her way onto radio with her latest single “It’s Not You.”
“It feels amazing, really,” she says, smiling. “I don’t think it’s really sunk in. When I hear (my song) on radio, that’s when I spin out and think ‘how bizarre’ to hear myself on radio.
“It’s a lot of hard work and I think people underestimate that. People think it’s going to be easy. No matter which way you go about it – if you’re sending out press kits, or going on MySpace and Facebook and Twitter – it’s a lot of hard work.”
Cassar says because the music market is so competitive, she needed to reach fans in a different way, and the grassroots DIY approach is one that’s been tried and tested for years. “I really didn’t have any other way to get my music out there and I thought online marketing is everything these days. That’s all I could do. I couldn’t afford anything else,” she explains.
“I was waitressing at the time and so I would make a song, go and waitress a bit more, work up some money and then go make another song. I’d put it up on MySpace and then go abuse friends to put it up on their page. That was the only way I could do it. I just thought ‘I’m going to be a nerd for a year,’ and that was fine. I love geeks. Geeks are hot.”
The self-taught musician says her hard work certainly paid off, and that each day she feels like she’s living the dream. “When Island Universal rang it was huge for me because I knew The Killers and Bob Marley and some awesome artists were on that label. I had always secretly dreamed of being on there. I’m totally living the dream. Every morning I have to pinch myself and go ‘I can do this everyday.’ I get to meet cool people… It’s a cool thing, it’s a cool job.”
Cassar says developing relationships with her fans has been a fundamental step in her progress. Although she’s broken into the spotlight, Cassar hasn’t forgotten how she arrived at this point, and is still very web-obsessed and a dedicated blogger.
“I sat online and chatted to everybody for ages, like ‘ hey, can you listen to my songs, and check out my tunes. Put it up on your profile, be my friend’,” she laughs. “I live in the moment and I’m happy with what’s going on right now. I’m just trying to get as far as I can. I want to push the singles, push the album, write like crazy, go to America, go to different countries and just do everything.”