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K-Pop Crossover: Billy Joel Collaborator Cassandra Kubinski On Hallyu Artists' Love Affair With EDM [EXCLUSIVE]

By Tony Sokol | November 04, 2015 04:02 PM EST

Cassandra Kubinski
(Photo : Thomas Wilson)
Billy Joel
(Photo : en.wikipedia.org)

It's been quite the musical journey for vocalist Cassandra Kubinski since collaborating on the duet "No Hard Feelings" with Billy Joel.  

As a performer, Kubinski (who Joel has called "a rarity," according to the website Absolute Goo) fuses hip-hop, reggae, country and show tunes for a sound all her own. While also performing on collaborations with artists ranging from DJ Francis M on the dance track "Oceans Away" to pop trumpeter Chris Botti on the song "Je T'aime."

A staple of the New York stage, Kubinski's voice can be heard in commercials for Capitol One, Kohls, Homegoods, Maybelline and Snickers. The pianist's single "Swim" was one of nine of her songs to be featured on the Lifetime Network's hit show "Dance Moms." Kubinski also works with international artists like Janne Da Arc keyboardist Kiyo.

Back in July, Cassandra released her most recent single "Barcode" and she is currently working on a follow up recording project to be released later this year. Earlier this week, the prolific artist sat down with Kpopstarz to discuss her thoughts on Hallyu in an exclusive interview.

"I'm excited to be just getting into the K-pop world and discovering some really cool artists," Kubinski said.

"I am watching artists like Xia and Shannon make a name for themselves. I like the artists who sing and dance with passion, rather than just attitude."

Kubinski praised the excitement that K-pop artists are bringing to the international musical community.

"I think people internationally love the energy, spirit, and theatricality of K-pop," she said. "It is very earnest, driving and the videos are always an amazing spectacle...I just saw the Girls' Generation 'Lion Heart' video and I loved the retro style, colors and fun vibe of the music."

In her addition to her collaborations with The Piano Man, the Connecticut-born musician co-wrote the song "If You Wanna Make It" with Kiyo for his album "Reborn," and wrote "Dance With It" for Korean-American pop artist Gina Kim. According to Kubinski, there are no shortage of K-pop artists out ther that she would consider collaborating with.

"I'd be open to collaborating with anyone up and coming," she said. "I like writing for female voices, so groups like 2NE1 would be cool to work with."

Kubinski has noticed South Korean pop artists' growing affinity for electronic dance music (EDM), with songs like T-ara's "Sugar Free" or f(x)'s "4 Walls."

"Definitely, I think there's a worldwide trend towards EDM, it certainly already is a trend," she said. "Maybe the rhythms help create a meditative state in our hectic times. Maybe it's escapism, maybe people just like to move their bodies and EDM keeps the beat going."

She said the international EDM community is really beginning to take notice of their Eastern counterparts.

"I have seen acts like Diplo starting to collaborate with K-pop artists, so it seems like it is being embraced," she said.

Kubinski opened up about the story behind the composition she wrote for Gina Kim. It turned out to be a universal theme.

"Gina Kim wanted to write a song that would express how tired she was of trying to be the 'good girl' and do things the 'right way,'" Kubinski said.

"She was tired of running away from her passion and vitality, so we wrote 'Dance With It' to capture the rhythm of just dancing with your life, without needing to understand or follow the rules."

Kubinski thinks Hallyu fans might hear something familiar in her music.

"I use a lot of electronic influences in my music, like K-pop does. And also, my songs are often about love and heartbreak, which come up as themes in K-pop music a lot," she said.

And which of her own songs might K-poppers find the most appealing?

"I think K-pop fans will love the sick beat of 'Barcode,' and the sexy dance rhythm of 'Just Being Myself,'" Kubinski said.

Watch the music video for "Barcode" by Cassandra Kubinski RIGHT HERE:

 

Tagged :  cassandra kubinski, EDM, billy joel, K-Pop Crossover, Exclusive

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