'Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming,' This 22-Year-Old Will Sing At Detroit Parade

Cassaundra Fitch: "As I wrote music, my singing voice also developed."


(Reposted from Nov. 19 as a Thanksgiving Parade profile.)

When you hear about new musicians arriving on the Detroit scene, they typically have a music background from a very young age.

For Cassaundra Fitch, a 22-year-old Southfield singer, the story is different.

A longtime fan of poetry, Fitch got involved in songwriting and music as a student at Michigan State University, where she graduated this year.

What started as a pastime turned into a career goal that she decided to pursue post-graduation.

Fitch, who grew up in Lathrup Village, makes her performance debut by kicking off America’s Thanksgiving Parade at 10 a.m. tomorrow. She'll sing “Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming,” written by local producer Dan Yessian. Live broadcasts will be on WDIV and on WJR-AM. (Her promo video is below.)

DD: The song is by Dan Yessian, your producer. How did you start working with him?

CF: When I started writing music, I wrote a song called “Freefall” and recorded it at a local recording studio. My friend who is a film major then helped me film a music video which we posted on YouTube. Dan saw the video and got in touch with me. We went into the studio and he showed me some things he was working on, I showed him some of my songs, and he signed me to a developmental contract.

DD: How did that lead to performing at the parade?

CF: Dan has been writing songs for the parade for some time, but this will be the first time he is featuring an artist performing the song live. This is also the first time Dan is developing an artist for the worldwide stage and he chose me for this experience.

DD: What is the song you’ll be performing about?

CF: It's about the resurgence of Detroit, so it is happy and exciting.  Dan wrote the song, but I have my own take on the performance aspect.

DD: Since this is your first real show, how have you been preparing?

Cassaundra Fitch: "Passion to write music has been inside of me for a long time and it’s finally come out."

CF: I’m basically just rehearsing the song every day. I’m focusing on being as comfortable with the song as I can be. I’m more excited than nervous because I feel like if you really prepare for something, once you’re out there it will come naturally. It’ll be exciting to perform for that many people and get myself out there.

DD: You got a much later start in songwriting and music than most others. Why did you decide to get involved in music?

CF: Well, in college I would sit down every night and instead of journaling I would write poetry about my day or what I was feeling. I spent a lot of time by myself in my dorm because I was self-conscious about my bad acne. Since I had so much free time, I had to do something with it so I ended up picking up a guitar and writing music! As I wrote music, my singing voice also developed. I think the passion to write music has been inside of me for a long time and it’s finally come out.

DD: How have other artists influenced your music?

CF: Right now, I’m looking into more soulful music, like Sam Smith and Adele. They aren’t just pop artists. I feel like they have a soulful vibe and they explore different R&B Progressions. As far as older styles of music, I really like Tracy Chapman.

The Thanksgiving Parade is definitely my first big performance but I am working towards doing more live performances.

DD: What’s on the agenda for your music career once Thursday’s performance is over?

CF: I’m going to keep working on my music, progressing my songwriting as an artist. In January, I plan on starting to perform live, and will be developing more music sets.  I definitely want to increase my fan base in the next year too and become more well-known. Basically, I want to continue on this path in all aspects of my music.

DD: What will be people be able to expect from your live performances once January hits?

CF: Right now, I’m rehearsing with my guitarist Ohad Wilner, who is a fantastic musician, but I think it will depend on what venue I’m performing at. For certain venues, I might add a couple more instruments and for some songs I’ll just have a couple tracks. But, I’m sure that it will develop as we go forward.

To find our more, visit her website: www.cassaundra.com.

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