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Cassandra is an artist bringing a new perspective to the pop music scene. As an opera singer and pop singer-songwriter, this John Lennon Award-winning songwriter has strong vocals and a range that spans over four octaves. She is determined to stretch the limits of pop music and bring classical music back to the mainstream.

Cassandra is currently creating a new genre she likes to call “Popera”. Blending her backgrounds of opera and pop music, she has created a new sound that even the top industry executives say they’ve never heard before.

Throughout Cassandra’s life, she has been involved in many genres of music and recently graduated with a Bachelors of Music in classical vocal performance at New England Conservatory in Boston, MA and graduated with a Masters of Arts in Music Business from Berklee College of Music Online while living and creating music in Nashville, TN.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background, including how you got started in music and as well as how you became an influencer?

Absolutely. So I am a professional opera singer and also a singer songwriter, which is very different worlds of music. I got into music when I was really young. My mom sang when she was a young girl and then never really had an opportunity to follow it.

Photo courtesy of Cassandra Pinataro

When she saw that I loved music and could carry a melody, she thought, I don’t want to ever hold me back from that. So she’s always been my biggest advocate, and she and my dad really pushed me first word, classical, just so that I would train my technique that way first. Then kind of under the understanding of learn this, learn the technique and then whatever you want to do, go for it. Go sing, go sing pop, go sing jazz, rock, whatever. First, learn how to sing classically.

Related: What is influencer marketing?

But I fell in love with it, and so I ended up going competing during high school years and went off to school for opera.

And then during the pandemic actually, I kind of had that moment of a, oh my gosh, there are no performances for opera houses because they’re all closed, but also, what do I want out music and what will make that most fulfilling? And so I started down this journey of I want to talk about my story. It’s great to repurpose what Mozart wrote when he was seven years old, but after a while you’re saying, what about me? What about my life? And I really dove in.

So I started going and recording. I started writing. I use Zoom a lot, and then would travel into Nashville to do that recording and writing process. And through that, at the same time, I started up my social media channels for more than just my personal blog. It became more of a business at that point, and I was really pushing ideas of self-love and authenticity and how to find healthy relationships. And that was a lot of what my music centered around particularly at that time. And it’s become this great hand in hand resource to have the social media community that’s also vibing with my music. It’s been really, yeah, and it’s an exciting community to create, but that’s a very short version of how I came to be.

When was that “aha moment” – that moment that you realized that “I am, in fact, an influencer”?

Oh, that’s tricky. I think it’s honestly when you start getting comments from followers from, I prefer the term community members because I don’t think these people are just following. I’m taking in their input as well. And I think when I realized one day that I had a follower who was part of my community and she reached out and was like, listen, I love your music, but you also made this video and it really spoke to me and I showed it to my daughter, and my daughter loved this. It’s like, whoa, I actually have an opportunity to make an impact. And so that again, kind of broadened the scope of what does it mean to be online? What does it mean to influence others and have a very powerful platform. You don’t realize how impactful you can be until you hear stuff like that. And so I kind of took it upon myself to push that even further.

Photo courtesy of Cassandra Pinataro

I actually started down a whole journey of being a Miss America local title holder. I was Miss Boston, I was Miss Music City, and all my initiatives surrounded around healthy eating and authenticity, loving yourself just as you are and putting that out full force into the world. And so seeing that and growing that and growing that in my music, but also on my social media, it was amazing to see how I was able to build a community of people that fed off those same ideas. And yeah, I don’t know if it was one particular moment that in Exchange over direct message certainly was a big whoa for me, but it was a lot of those two that really made me go, okay, it’s not just one person. I’m really doing something here.

Let’s talk brand collaborations. What have been some of your favorite to-date?

These are fun. Okay, so I have a few had the opportunity to partner with L’Oreal, and most recently with Just Meats, which is a cool company that does, they just shipped me 12 pounds of already pre-marinated proteins, and we’re like, yep, you just heat it up for two minutes and your life is easier. So that was pretty great. My favorite one that I’ve booked, and I actually booked it through in Intellifluence, was with a company called Hibi Youth, and they have all natural, completely organic products, and it’s all skincare, very holistic, health oriented, and I really love their products. Oh my gosh, it’s been a game changer. I’ve always struggled with acne and with my skin and opening up about that with my audience and also having a company that sometimes these brand deals are like a one-time thing, and that’s fine, but I would rather have something that I’ve been consistently using and and want to keep promoting and keep sharing with my audience. And that collaboration actually has turned into that, which is pretty great. So yeah, I think Hibi is absolutely one of my favorites so far.

We always hope that brands do their due diligence when sending a pitch, especially on our platform. We just want good transactions. Sometimes the brand doesn’t do their due diligence, and so I’m wondering, what’s the weirdest pitch you’ve ever received?

I got one this morning for a men’s clothing wear campaign, and I’m like, what? I’m not going to wear a dad’s golf polo. I don’t know what you want from me out of this, but no is the answer. I’ve gotten that. I’ve also gotten a lot of scam ones, things that are like, oh, we’ll send you $2,000 to post.

Related: How do I get started as an Influencer?

I just got one recently for a liquor brand, which was really exciting. Like, well, this is great. I do a lot of pop music.

Photo courtesy of Cassandra Pinataro

It would be great to have something behind me, especially as I go to shows, have a drink sponsor, but it’s like, and we’ll pay you $2,000 and just quickly fill out this form with your social security at the same time, which I immediately thought was weird. It was a lot of money upfront. They did one of the dear and then my username instead of my name, like, okay, got it. Yeah, so did not do that one. I followed up with the actual company. They’re like, so sorry. No, but here’s our collaborations department.

Lastly, what are some of your goals for the remainder of the year as it pertains to your music, as it pertains to influencer marketing? Do you have any new music coming out?

Yeah, so lots of new music on the way. Most recently, I created a new genre of sorts, let’s say. So I actually am taking Opera Aria and I sample them with my own vocal, and then I put them into a pop track and I create a pop song over the top of it. And I’ll either do something like the title of the song and the title of the aria will have some similarity, or we’ll take the theme, the aria, which for anybody watching that doesn’t know what an aria is. An aria is a solo piece from specifically an opera. They’re just different than what you would call a solo in a musical theater thing. So anyway, so that aria, maybe we’ll take the theme and flip it or we’ll do something similar. There’s a lot of inspiration taken from both sides. So with this new genre, new music’s coming out.

I actually just wrapped up the master for one yesterday, so that’s exciting. Hoping by the end of July, that one can drop. But lots of music on the way in terms of brand deals just still, I think goal-wise, I would love to find more collaborations that are a little bit more closely aligned to my music career. I think there’s so much for health and beauty out there, and you can kind of skew your content like this is the eyeliner pen I’m using for my concert. Right, okay, it’s fine, but find something that is a bit more on the nose with my career would be pretty great. So I’ve been on the hunt. I’m looking out. So if anybody hears this and would like to collaborate with an opera singer, pop singer, songwriter, I’m your girl.

Note: Influencer Spotlight interviews are edited for time and clarity.