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Cassie Baker: Winner of Rockquest Coke Original Song Award National Finals 2004

CassieThere’s a lot been said about Rockquest so far … but not much about Cassie Baker from Rangi Ruru which strikes us as quite strange really coz we believe that down in the Antipodes we'll be hearing again … and again … from this dedicated & determined musician/songwriter

So, tell us about your winning song
It’s called Fallen. I guess you could describe it as kinda percussive/acoustic rock and it’s about a relationship. Most of the stuff I'm writing at the moment is around relationships. I had a vague idea in my head but it didn't get written until 2 nights before the competition on the Wednesday - and the heats were on the Friday! I played it to my friends and they told me what sounded okay and what didn't. It’s a bit different, I guess, coz the chorus and verse are in totally different keys.
What comes first for you - the music or the lyrics
Definitely the music. You have an idea and then start strummin' along and some of it sounds good, you know? I also play the drums and piano too which helps a lot.
And you performed as a soloist
Yeah, with my guitar. There were only another 3 solo acts in the heats. All the rest were bands.
How did it feel up there
Kinda scary but I'm into drama as well as music and love performing. I had a lot of friends in the front row so I just concentrated on them and the rest of the audience was pretty much in the dark! Plus, I've been in Rockquest a few times before so I had some idea of what to expect.
CassieWhy did you go solo
Coz I had no other choice! I've been in three previous bands but couldn't get one together for this contest, so just went for it. I'm still keen to get a band together though. I did a recording session with my music teacher and he’s set up a jammin' session with a drummer for the jazz school but I don't want to play jazz all the time.
How long have you been writing & playing music
About ten years I guess.
Anything else you're keen on
Music’s my thing, it really is. I'm hoping to do a contemporary music course down in Otago next year and I can't wait. Just to hang around with people who feel the same way as I do, you know? I'm also into sports - netball, snowboarding, tennis and we're rehearsing the school production of Les Mis* at the moment. I'm playing Fantine.
CassieFavourite albums
That’s hard. Um … Liquid Skin/Gomez and probably Brushfire Fairy Tales/Jack Johnson
Has any music particularly influenced you
A lot of the older stuff, especially the Beatles' Sgt Peppers.
Do you ever get time to relax
Not really! Can't remember the last time I read a book or watched a vid. When I do relax I like to listen to music.
What’s the best advice anyone’s ever given you?
My dad w'out a doubt. He’s always said that you've gotta do what you've gotta do. And it’s true.
And for the future
Well, I'd love to do something with my music of course and maybe use my drama too - music vidz would be fantastic but failing all that … I guess I can always be a snowboard instructor (and out comes that lovely ironic grin of hers) … it wouldn't be a bad way to earn a living either!

* Les Mis will run from 30 July to 5 August at Rangi Ruru High School. Tickets from $15 - $30