A Conversation With Cassie Henderson

December 8, 2020
Cassie Henderson

Recently releasing her empowering single ‘Burns Brighter’, Cassie Henderson is on the path to something special. ‘Burns Brighter’ is an anthem-like song seeing Cassie find clarity after a whirlwind few years.

We caught up with Cassie to chat about the release, songwriting, her creative hiatus and future plans.

Check out the interview below.

Hey Cassie! Thanks for taking the time for a Q+A. You’re about to release your second single ‘Burns Brighter’, can you tell me a little bit about the track?

Helloooo!! Yes, I can. Burns Brighter is my second single I have released this year, which has been crazy. I wrote the song mid last year on a drive home from Dunedin to Christchurch. I came up with the bones of the song and recorded them into voice memos and finished it off when I got home. I got to record and produce it with Ambien & Sleo in Auckland, who really helped bring the song to life.

For me, it’s the sort of song I needed when I was going through some rough times. Burns Brighter isn’t about romanticizing hardships or crediting them, it’s about the strength you find in spite of them and I think there is something really special in that. Musically the song incorporates some epic drums which make it feel like this great big anthem, as well as lots of acoustic guitar (which I love). Overall it’s just a feel-good, empowering song.

The track represents a real coming of age moment for you, can you tell me a little bit more about your experiences leading up to releasing the single?

The meaning of the song was something I had wanted to write about for a long time. And I feel like as this year has gone I have embodied the strength which the song celebrates more and more which is pretty cool because I genuinely believe in what I am saying – it’s all very real for me. That includes the strength which was found as well as the hardships that I went through. And I’m very proud of what has come out of them. 

It’s a very personal and introspective release, how did you find the recording process? Was it quite therapeutic or was it hard digging up these old memories?

I loved it. For me, the song is a celebration of empowerment, so the whole process was extremely satisfying hearing Ambien & Sleo bring that feeling to life. It was also crazy to hear how the song transformed from the acoustic version I had been playing for a year in my bedroom to its current state. Just so cool. 

You’re releasing this single after a bit of a creative hiatus, what is it like being back making and releasing music?

God it’s good. I think it was very beneficial for me to take the time I did to re-centre my life, because now everything makes sense to me. I’m not questioning myself, or my music, I’m writing and performing songs which I am extremely proud of, and am surrounded by an incredible support system which makes everything so much better. I also feel like, at that time, I was able to live life a bit more. Experience some of the good, the bad and the ugly and tell some of my stories about them. 

The track was written on a commute between Dunedin and your home in Christchurch, do you write a lot of your music on the road?

Haha I’ve had this question quite a bit, and I wouldn’t have said I did before now, but I actually do. It’s a good amount of time when I’m just alone with my thoughts. And if I’m listening to music and something triggers an idea (which is what happened with Burns Brighter) then I just record voice memos of any ideas I have until I get something good. It’s quite therapeutic. 

The release is co-produced by Ambien & Sleo. Can you tell me a bit more about the production process?

First of all, these two are legends and I couldn’t have done it without them. I’m quite early into how the production process works but I think we all just jelled instantly and bounced off one another. We did all of the recording and a solid portion of the production all in one day which was insane, they work so fast. We all came in with songs which we had as references for how we wanted the track to feel. We came in with two of the same reference songs without any prior discussion which was amazing for me because I felt like my song was in good hands. One of my favourite parts of the day was having the boys record the “let it burn” chants with me at the end of the song. 

You first had a taste of the Music Industry back in 2014 on the X-Factor, can you tell me a little bit about that experience?

Pretty damn cool. I was living my absolute dream, I got to perform live for a big crowd of people every week with the support of an amazing production team. It was all very surreal for me at the time. I wouldn’t change any element of it for the world. The show and being in the public eye had some amazing highs, but also entailed some difficult lows. I was 14 at the time and knew exactly what I was getting myself into, but when you’re that young you can’t wrap your head around why some people don’t like you. I was always trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. But in hindsight, that experience helped me grow the thick skin which I have today. I’m also ridiculously grateful for how it helped me when I started to get back into music. I had an audience of people who knew who I was and wanted to support me and see what I did next. Something that I will always be so grateful for to the show, and to those people. 

Tell me a little bit about what 2021 has in store for you?

Lots of live music (hopefully). Performing live is easily my favourite part of the whole picture. That has probably stemmed from my history with busking, but there is something about the connection with an audience that you can’t get anywhere else. It is such a high, and every time is different and special. But we are also planning on another release at some point which is freeeakin great because this was bloody fun. But keep a lookout on my social media because everything that I’m up to will be on there (and my shit chat – you’re welcome). Bring it on though! 

You can check out ‘Burns Brighter’ below.

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