DJ Cassidy recently visited The Recording Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., to participate in an exclusive GRAMMY.com interview. The New York native discussed the trio of pioneer DJs that influenced him as a child, the making of his upcoming debut album, Paradise Royale, and collaborating with GRAMMY-nominated songwriter Claude Kelly on his new single, "Calling All Hearts," among other topics.
"The soul music of the late '70s and early '80s stuck out to me to be the most universal dance music of all time," said Cassidy. "So, over the past four years I reunited 22 of the most legendary and renowned musicians of [that era] in one room for the first time in over 30 years to channel their definitive sound."
Cassidy received his first turntable from his parents at age 10 and was subsequently influenced by fellow New York natives and DJs Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash. He worked as a DJ in nightclubs throughout New York before being hired by GRAMMY winner P. Diddy to DJ at a MTV Video Music Awards party in 2001. Soon Cassidy began spinning records for GRAMMY winners such as Beyoncé, Jay Z, Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, and President Barack Obama, the latter of whom enlisted Cassidy to perform at his 50th birthday party at the White House in 2011. This year first lady Michelle Obama invited Cassidy to hit the decks at her own 50th birthday bash.
Cassidy enlisted 13 singers, 22 musicians and a 14-piece string section to record Paradise Royale, which is scheduled for release in May. The 10-track album features GRAMMY winners Mary J. Blige, Estelle, Cee Lo Green, John Legend, Ne-Yo, Ray Parker Jr., R. Kelly, Nile Rodgers, and Kelly Rowland, among others. The album's lead single "Calling All Hearts" was released March 4 and pairs the vocals of recent GRAMMY nominee Robin Thicke and British singer/songwriter Jessie J with music by GRAMMY winners Philip Bailey, Larry Dunn and Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire.
Cassidy is currently in the midst of a U.S. tour with Thicke, with dates scheduled through March 29.