If you’re a fan of musical theatre, chances are you have seen the wonderful Cassidy Janson performing live on stage, or at least heard her name breathed in excited whispers amongst die-hard theatre fans. In recent months, if you have been in and around the city, you may have also seen her dazzling smile on the side of London buses, posters in the London tubes or even on paper cups (much to her amusement)!
This talented, flame-haired beauty has starred in multiple, popular, West-End shows, including Wicked, Avenue Q and, most recently, Beautiful, the Carole King Musical, but her talents don’t stop there! Recently, her fame has grown and she has appeared on ITV Weekend, as well as The Jive Aces’ latest album, and is currently working on new and exciting projects.
In her latest role, Cassidy portrayed Carole King, an incredibly strong woman who, despite all the hardships and obstacles, never stopped fighting to be herself, put her music out there and become an incredible success. Getting to know Cassidy, I can certainly see the parallels between her and the character she portrayed on stage; she has the same inner lioness, the passion, drive and prowess that are all key ingredients to success. I have absolutely no shadow of a doubt that this gorgeous girl is one to keep an eye on…
Lulu: Firstly, thank you, Cassidy, for agreeing to take part in an interview for Key Women in Business magazine. We appreciate that you are an exceptionally busy lady, so thank you for finding the time to talk to us.
Cassidy Janson, belle of Beautiful the Musical, the question on everybody’s lips: how did you get to where you are now?
Cassidy: Unfortunately, there is no short answer to this question and no quick fix – it has taken a lot of hard work to get to where I am now and there have been a lot of ups and downs along the way. It has meant never giving up, even when I have been on my knees emotionally, physically and spiritually, because giving up has never been an option; I love what I do, so, even when the journey was hard, there was nothing else I wanted to do, which means the journey wasn’t hard, if that makes sense?
Lulu: That makes perfect sense. When you are alight with passion, such as the love you have for your music, even the hardest moments seem worth it, to get to where you want to be. I’m sure there are many of our readers who have given their lives to their businesses, who will have been through their own struggles, who will relate to that sentiment.
For the past 20 months, since November 2015, you have dedicated your life to the West-End smash hit, Beautiful the Musical, portraying the infamous Carole King on-stage. What has been the most enjoyable and/or most memorable moment for you, in this role? Why?
Cassidy: That would have to be 2 things… The most enjoyable was probably singing on stage with Carole King, last July, in Hyde Park, that was a real #life moment… that was incredible.
The most memorable moment, similar thing, was when Carole just turned up and surprised us on stage in March this year. There is some lovely footage of me, and the rest of the cast, just in utter shock. We had no idea she was watching and she said incredible things to me that I will cherish for all time.
Lulu: I can really sense that meant a lot to you, and I have seen the video! You are completely surprised by her appearance, that is evident. What a Beautiful gift to remember your experience by (excuse the pun).
Speaking of gifts, what is the biggest thing you will take away from your role as Carole King, and how will you implement this into your future career as a singer/actress?
Cassidy: The biggest thing I will take away is a sense of responsibility that, you know, as undoubtedly you get a lot of glory being the lead there’s also a lot of responsibility that goes along with it. It means often going home feeling tired, not going out to see friends, a lot of missed lunches, not being available for things and a lot of discipline. But, it’s all worth it. It’s totally worth it, when the payoff is so fantastic. I think I will also be taking away a new-found level of looking after myself. I thought I knew how to look after myself, but I’m now taking it to a whole new level of looking after myself.
Lulu: I can imagine the responsibility, as well as the pressure, is quite immense when playing the lead, so I am glad to hear that you will be taking some time to look after yourself.
In contrast, how do you think this role has shaped you, on a personal level?
Cassidy: I think this role has shaped me in a really good way and, along with working with The Jive Aces, who are very strong influence in my life, both personally and professionally. I think this role has made me realise how fortunate I am and how I should use that fortuitousness to try and give back as much as I can. When you’re thriving, you feel like you want to help everyone else thrive too, which is really lovely.
Lulu: Beautiful on the inside as well as on the outside. What a lovely sentiment, and I can vouch that you certainly are giving back – I have had the pleasure of seeing people come to life when you perform. However, I hear that, sadly, Beautiful the Musical will no longer be showing on the West End, as of the 5th August 2017… can you dish the gossip on where we might spot you after then? Are you joining the tour, or are there other things on the horizon?
Cassidy: No, I’m not doing the tour. At the moment, I’m recording my own album and there’s another large project I’m working on, which is soon to be announced and is going to be really amazing, but I can’t tell anyone about it yet. So, there’s lots of things on the horizon and you will be seeing me around, don’t worry!
Lulu: That sounds very mysterious! (I did try to wangle a few more hints, but despite being known to The Jive Aces as “The Gobby One”, Cassidy sure knows how to keep a secret!)
So, what can you tell us about?
Cassidy: I’ve got lots of gigs going on with The Jive Aces (www.jiveaces.com/tour) but I also have a new website about to launch www.cassidyjanson.com . That’s about to go live and that will have my dates, projects, any announcements, links to my Facebook and twitter etc.
Lulu: You heard the pretty lady, readers! Go check out that new website and, if you haven’t already, catch Cassidy at one of her live events; I guarantee that you will not be disappointed. I get tingles down my spine whenever Cassidy belts out a number; she has such a rich tone and her stage presence is just captivating.
The Jive Aces kindly gave me a copy of their new album, which is absolutely fantastic by the way (especially if you like Rock ‘n’ Roll and Rhythm ‘n’ Blues), and I was thrilled to find that you feature on two songs! I know your fans would never forgive me if I didn’t ask this question… do you have any plans to record your own album?
Cassidy: Yes, I appear on The Jive Aces’ latest album, Diggin’ Roots (available at www.jiveaces.com/store) and I am currently recording my own album with my producer, Rupert Christie, which is really exciting! We have got some incredible songs, incredible songwriters, I’ve been co-writing stuff, too – I’ve been writing with a whole bunch of other people; so, there will be lots of stuff to listen to my voice on, soon. The Jive Aces’ album was a joy to do. That was cool and we did a nice little video with Swingin’ Soundie, “I Want You To Be My Baby” (you can watch it online at www.jiveaces.com/videos).
Lulu: At the time of this interview, that video has 33.5k views, already! It looks like you had so much fun making it, though I will never understand how you remember all those words, let alone how you get your tongue around them.
I’ve seen you’re recent Facebook and Instagram posts about your excitement.
at seeing your face on buses and paper cups…
What is it really like, seeing your face everywhere?
Cassidy: Amazing! I mean like, come on, the little kid in us has always wanted to have your face on a London bus, and it’s happened twice now which is really bloody lovely and bloody cool. How much fun is that?
Lulu: How do you cope with that level of fame? I’m sure lots of people recognise you; is it difficult to maintain a private life with so much of your daily life in the public eye?
Cassidy: I’m not really famous! If I do get recognised… it’s rare, people don’t come up to me often, but when they do, it’s really nice. It’s really nice when people come up after the show and say how much they’ve enjoyed the show, or my performance, it means a lot, you know, to get that feedback. I get tired and, sometimes, I find it a little hard-going, keeping my energy levels up and focus on stage. Sometimes, when you feel like “Oh, gosh, I don’t know how that performance was”, but then there are people at the stage door saying wonderful things, telling me how much they enjoyed the show, it really makes it all worth it, especially those shows when you are feeling a little “under-par”. So, it means a lot when you get feedback off people, and generally, everybody is really nice!
Lulu: I can imagine that your fans provide a nice support network, who will pick you up and share their energy with you when you need it. I bet that’s one of the better parts of your line of work, which leads me to ask: what are the best and worst things about working in the music industry?
Cassidy: One of the best things about working in the music industry is the creative people that you get to work with; meeting The Jive Aces has been an absolute life and game changer for me. They set a really great example, which I think the world really needs right now, of being ethical and fun, upbeat and hard-working. They are really good guys and I use them often, in that I ask myself “What would The Jive Aces do right now?” to keep myself on the straight and narrow. I don’t always manage to keep myself as on the straight and narrow as they always do, but they’ve been doing it a lot longer than I have. But I always try to set a good example!
Lulu: And the worst bits?
Cassidy: Apart from the times when you feel a little dip in the work, nothing! It’s great! For me, it beats working in a call centre or waiting tables. There’s nothing bad about working in the music industry! It’s incredible, I love it and I wouldn’t do anything else!
Lulu: You are a very busy lady, but you obviously enjoy every moment of what you do! When you aren’t performing in Beautiful, you perform alongside The Jive Aces, I’ve also seen you appear on ITV Weekend… how do you strike a good work/life balance?
Cassidy: I don’t really do my work/life balance, I just do my life. I don’t talk about it very much, but I had some personal stuff that happened a few years ago when I wasn’t working, so I had a lot of downtime and a lot of time off.
A lot of people often say to me “You work seven day weeks, when do you rest?” but I rest at night! As long as I get enough sleep, I’m good to go. I’m not in any way exhausted, or running myself into the ground, please don’t worry!
I felt like I had a lot of time off in those three or four years that I didn’t work much, and I missed it. I’m not “making up for it” now, but I am certainly taking every opportunity that is coming my way and if that means that I work on a Sunday, doing something fun and performing, then yay! Lucky me! Lucky me to have all those opportunities chucked my way!
I don’t really want to sit on my sofa, or lay on my back and do nothing on a Sunday. I’ve done that and it doesn’t really get me anywhere. Like I said, as long as I get enough sleep and have moments of downtime then I’m going for it! (laughter) I don’t really do the work/life balance thing. I just do my life.
What’s in Your Makeup Bag?
- This great facial scrub by Doctor Veronique Simon, called “Gold Acid-Free MicroPeel”. It’s amazing and smells amazing. It’s not cheap but it’s great!
- Dermatude moisturising creams are great.
- Aveda Beautifying Composition Oil, is lovely and I use it on my face!
Your Fave Food is… I like scrambled eggs! Scrambled eggs are good,
man! With loads of butter!!!
Your dream holiday… would be absolutely full-on. I would fly first-class, to the Maldives, have massages in this underwater spa where you can see the fishes in the ocean whilst you’re having a massage! With a very handsome man of my dreams to share it with, who is coming into my life (she says coyly).
If you were stuck on a desert island, what 3 things would you take with you?
- My vitamins, I love my vitamins.
- SPF so I don’t get my skin burnt.
- A really good book/audio book, probably by Grant Cardone (www.GrantCardone.com). I love his books!
You Fave Album is…There’s this woman called Lianne Carroll and her music is amazing and her voice is amazing! Any of her albums!