Casandra Ventura was born on August 26, 1986 in New London, Connecticut. Her father is of Filipino ancestry, and her mother is of African American, Mexican, and West Indian ancestry. She attended The Williams School, a preparatory school in New London. She trained as a singer and dancer, and took voice lessons. Cassie began modeling at the age of 14, and by the time she was 16, appeared in print ads for Seventeen and the catalog for popular teen line, Delia's,. When she graduated from high school in 2004, she decided to pursue her career in modeling and singing. After high school, Cassie moved to New York City, and continued modeling, as well as attending classes at the Broadway Dance Center. She is represented by Wilhelmina Models and One Model Management in New York City.
2004–06: Musical beginnings and Cassie
Ryan Leslie spotted her at clubs and parties in late 2004 frequently. The two wrote a duet called "Kiss Me", and after recording the track, Leslie played the song for music executive Tommy Mottola. Mottola offered Cassie a management deal, and Leslie signed her to his music-media company, NextSelection Lifestyle Group. Leslie wrote and produced Cassie's first single, "Me & U", in 2005. The song became a club hit in Germany. During this time, Diddy heard "Me & U" in a club, and Leslie convinced him to partner his Bad Boy Records with Leslie's NextSelection imprint for the release of Cassie's debut album.
The album, Cassie, was released on August 8, 2006 and sold 321,000 copies in the US. Lead single "Me & U" peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, selling more than 1 million digital downloads. To promote her album, Cassie performed on Total Request Live and 106 & Park: BET's Top 10 Live. Her performances were described as "rocky" and "less-than-stellar", but Diddy said that it was due to her inexperience. He said that he would be "with her through her development", and that he has no "question on her ability [to sing]". Cassie addressed the events on her MySpace page, saying that she is aware that her performances were "pretty bad", and that she was "still getting over stage fright".
2007–present: Second studio album
MTV News reported in June 2007 that contrary to rumors, Cassie had not been dropped from Bad Boy Records after releasing two singles from her self-titled debut album. Diddy said that she was in the studio working with producers Kanye West and Pharrell Williams on her second album. It was also reported that Cassie was no longer collaborating with Ryan Leslie, who had produced the majority of her debut album. However, the singer later stated that she was open to collaborating with Leslie again. According to Bad Boy A&R Daniel 'Skid' Mitchell, rather than largely relying on the one songwriter-producer, the new album's mix of writers and producers, as well as her own co-write input, makes it a more personal record for her.
Additional production on the album came from Seven and LV, as well as Diddy himself. Cassie said that she had also collaborated with Akon, The Neptunes, Danja, Eric Hudson, The Surf Club and Rob Holiday, although she was not sure which tracks were going to be included on the album. Commenting on the number of producers on the album, Cassie said that she "collaborated with a lot of different producers and a lot of different writers, which was an amazing opportunity for me, because on my first album, one producer [Ryan Leslie] straight through…which was fun, but it was nice to experience other people."
In July 2006, Cassie announced that the album's title would be Electro Love. The idea was given to her by DJ Cassidy; Cassie explained by saying that "it's basically the sound of the album. It's not supposed to be taken so literal. 'Electro' could be like house and techno, but that's not what it is, but it's definitely a dance album. I just wanted it to be a reflection of that and the vibe of the music. It has that love song feel to it, but accompanied by that specific beat." Cassie said that her new album will demonstrate more "independence"; there will be a "difference in vocals, a little bit more personality. And it's definitely a sensual album."
Three singles have been released from the album; "Official Girl" featuring Lil Wayne in August 2008, "Must Be Love" featuring Diddy in April 2009, and "Lets Get Crazy" featuring Akon in August 2009. All three singles failed to chart in the USA. After several delays, it was announced in December 2009 that Cassie had signed a new record deal with Interscope Records. She is featured in a spread in the August/September issue of Bust in which she said a new single will be released in the fall. She has recently told her Twitter followers that she is still in the studio recording for her album.
At the time of an October 2010 interview with HitQuarters, A&R Daniel 'Skid' Mitchell said that Cassie had already recorded around fifty songs for the album. Mitchell said that she was taking her time over the album because she is keen for "it to be something that people are going to respect."
Diddy announced that “King of Hearts” will be the first single off Cassie’s sophomore album, due in 2012.