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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Bohème’s Got A Brand New Bag - Soulful Pop Singer Blazes Her Own Path
Monday, June 04, 2012

What’s in a name? For Bohème (pronounced bo-em), a heck of a lot.

The former lead singer for the band Antigone Rising can’t go by her real name, Cassidy, because a certain “I’m a Hustla” rapper has already made it famous, so when she decided to leave her band in 2008 she had to come up with something new. It’s actually kind of appropriate being that she entered a new stage in her career, has a new soulful musical vision, and a fresh outlook on life.

So Bohème it was, and still is, and big things are happening for her. The video for her new single, “Blind Spot,” hit VH1.com, and throughout June she has a Tuesday night residency at The Mint in LA. Before she hit the stage there, however, she sat down with me and revealed some of the craziness sharing her name with a rapper brought on, how her solo effort, Follow The Freedom, differs from the music she made as a member of Antigone Rising, and the unique aspect of old school rock n roll she misses the most.

Adam Bernard: Your real name is Cassidy, but you’re going by Bohème because the rapper Cassidy had already branded your real name. Please tell me, at some point, you had a conversation with Cassidy about your name.
Bohème: You know, I never did, but even if he was willing to give up the trademark, or I could afford to buy it from him, once something is branded to that point it’s pretty tough to undo it. (As an example) The Gap hired me for a while as a spokesperson. I had done a series of commercials for them and they scheduled me to come and do an appearance at their flagship store in Manhattan. All the president of the company saw was that Cassidy was coming to do an appearance at the flagship store, and he immediately called the head of marketing. Not because he didn’t think Cassidy’s talented, he just wasn’t sure if having this sort of gangster rapper was the right fit for The Gap at the moment. They were like “no no no no no. It’s a different Cassidy.” So on a major level it was really starting to become a problem. I had also been called, at one point, to do a show in Vegas and we got all the way down to negotiations before the people realized it was me and not Cassidy the rapper, and they wanted Cassidy the rapper. It just got to be confusing, so I realized at that point, before I even finished this album, that we had to come up with something.

Adam Bernard: I’m laughing at the idea of Cassidy as the face of The Gap. Moving from your name to your music, what do you consider the biggest differences between you as a solo artist, and your work with your former group, Antigone Rising?
Bohème: If you’re just taking this record it’s definitely a little more pop leaning, it’s definitely a little more soul leaning, and there are no influences from any of the other girls in the band, so there’s gonna naturally be that difference. I was in a band in the truest sense of the word where even though I wrote the majority of that music everybody always was collaborative in regards to how it was going to sound. In that case, it always ended up sounding like a cross between Southern rock, and stadium rock from the 70s, which is awesome, but (my solo work) definitely has a little bit more of a soul thing, and I think the soul element of Antigone Rising was definitely mine. That was my contribution, and it’s probably more concentrated in Follow The Freedom.

Adam Bernard: What kind of freedoms are you following with Follow The Freedom?
Bohème: I am following the path of least resistance to the best of my ability. I’m trying to get the heck out of my own way and know the difference between the right path and the proverbial wrong path. I think that I had a real talent for making bad decisions for a really long time and not even realizing I was doing it. By the time I was done with my last project I had just felt so devastated by what went on, whether it was real or imagined, whether it was by my own hand or by multiple forces that came in and turned that thing the way that it did, I needed to take responsibility for my part in it or else I wasn’t going to be able to really move on. I think I had to start seeing patterns for myself and start really enjoying my life and the things that happen to me, and for me, and see it all as positive. Following all of that really made me feel much more free. The idea of Follow The Freedom came from that mindset.

Adam Bernard: You were a little vague there when it came to the bad decisions and the end of the last project. What was going on?
Bohème: When I left the band, and in that intervening time between when I left the band and made the album, I was feeling like I made bad decisions. I think being on the other side of it now I don’t see things as being good or bad, however, I will elaborate and say I made decisions based on being broke, or being desperate, or wanting fame as opposed to long term success. I think I was young and I was immature. I signed a record deal with one person and not another person because I thought the one person would make me more famous, and I stayed in my band because of loyalties that were really kind of imagined, that had nothing to do with business. I should have left much sooner because we were starting to turn on each other and it was starting to become a really contentious situation and it wasn’t healthy for anybody. That's not blaming them or blaming myself, that was just the nature of what was going on. I just think because I was immature I stayed longer than I should have, and I worked with people that I wish I kinda hadn’t. I wish I’d had a more mature view of how to run a business because I had a lot of unbelievable opportunities and I sort of let them go away because I didn’t understand that you have to continue working and be focused and be humble and be an active part of your own life in order to keep your career going. I was kind of always placing it in the hands of others, so there were a lot of regrets about that. I’ve changed my tune big time from the last time around.

Adam Bernard: You’ve changed your tune, and you’ve changed a little bit about who you are, so when someone listens to this album what do you think they’re going to learn about you that they don’t know already?
Bohème: The one thing that people are starting to hear is what my influence was in my former band. I think that’s become very clear. I also think people are seeing I’m a soulful R&B and pop minded performer and songwriter and singer. I think that people are hearing a maturity, maybe, from me, and a peace from me that I didn’t have in Antigone Rising. I was definitely young, there was a lot of angst, there was a lot of unfinished emotional business, and a lot of it came out in my songs and performances. This is certainly a more thoughtful and peaceful and optimistic Cassidy.

Adam Bernard: You tweeted about watching the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and wrote that era in music is “sorely missed.” What about that era do you wish was in this era?
Bohème: I miss the mystery of a rock star. Not having to know every single thing there is to know about our artists. This full disclosure thing that’s going on right now... obviously I’m a part of it, I have to be a part of it because it’s a sign of the times, but I kind of liked not knowing everything about Eddie Vedder. I kind of love not knowing everything about Slash, that he’s got a private life and I’m not a part of it, and what I get from him is what he shares with me and it’s his music. I’m grateful that Slash shares his joy with me in that way, but I don’t need to know his sign, and I don’t need to know his wife’s name, or where he lives, or what he ate for breakfast. I come from a different headspace where rock n roll stars were a little more mysterious, they were a little more untouchable, it was a little less saturated, there were less bands, less people trying to do this for a living, and the people who emerged... cream absolutely rose to the top because it really was about being great.

Adam Bernard: From a journalist’s perspective, the lack of mystery regarding musicians certainly makes the job of finding an interesting story people can’t wait to read more difficult.
Bohème: That’s what I’m saying. It used to be so great. You’d get your Rolling Stone magazine and whoever was being interviewed, you couldn't wait to see the photos and read the interview and just get that little piece of information you didn’t have before. You were so hungry for it. You were patient and you sat with it and you waited for that album. I still think people still get excited and can’t wait for the next album to come out and follow artists and fall madly in love with the artist. I think that still exists. I just really long for the mystery of all of it.

Adam Bernard: Speaking of mysteries, as someone who has toured with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, DMB, and Rob Thomas, what’s been the wildest thing you’ve seen, or experienced, while on the road?
Bohème: {laughs} Honestly, the most surprising thing that I discovered was how cool and real most of them were, how absolutely embracing and generous and lovely they all were; Steven Tyler, Keith Richards, Rob (Thomas), Greg Allman. I hate to sound boring, I would love to tell you there were prostitutes and we were all doing lines off of someone’s ass, but it wasn’t like that. The one thing I always like to talk about is the Rolling Stones used to roll in a small city for every show. If they were somewhere for two or three days it was fine, but sometimes they’d just be in a place for one night and they had themed rooms and different cuisines and a snooker room for playing snooker. For me that was an unbelievable thing, how huge and expensive their backstage area was.

Adam Bernard: It sounds like you’ve had some amazing encounters with bands. Why don’t you close this interview by telling me about your greatest fan encounter?
Bohème: I’ve had fans name their children after me. I still get pictures and updates from one fan in particular. Her little Cassidy is probably three and she’s beautiful and amazing. I think that’s one of the greatest honors of my life.

Related Links

Website: bohemeartist.com
Twitter: twitter.com/IamBoheme


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:25 AM  
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