Former Antigone Rising frontwoman Cassidy is unveiling her new identity, Boheme, along with her first solo record, “Follow the Freedom” — with a completely unexpected assist by Journey’s Steve Perry.
“I grew up in Northwestern New Jersey in an area that had only one one radio station — a classic rock station — so I grew up listening to Journey and Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Nicks…Steve Perry was a HUGE influence,” she recalls.
She was busy mixing tracks on “Follow the Freedom” at L.A.’s Capitol Records building with producer/engineer Niko Bolas, when Bolas suddenly announced, “I have a big fan of yours in here who wants to meet you.’ I was thinking someone who was a fan of my former band. I walked into the room and who turns around but Steve Perry. I had to rub my eyes, because I thought I was seeing things. He said, ‘Hi, Darlin’!’
“I said, ‘I am a huge fan of yours! You taught me how to sing.’
“‘I did?’ he said. ‘No wonder you sound good.'”
Perry not only wound up collaborating on the album behind the scenes, he performed backup vocal work on “Follow the Freedom.”
Cassidy remembers Bolas telling her, “There’s some sort of spirit connection there. He recognized something in your voice that sounded familiar.’ It did feel a bit cosmic, a bit of a wink from the universe. If you’re doing the right thing, the road will rise up to meet you.”
That fortuitous turn of events came after years fraught with stress and disappointment for the singer-actress. Despite the success of female rockers Antigone Rising, she says she felt a sense of things going wrong after they signed a record deal. “We’d been on our own for five years and been really independent. As soon as we handed it over, there was a campaign to change the image, to change the sound. This is what Atlantic Records wants. This is better for Starbucks. The public had been responding to how different and unusual the band was, but once we got on a record label, they wanted to temper it. The hair got bigger, the makeup got darker and the clothes got more feminine…My regret was that I did not fight it more.”
After she and her band mates went separate ways, “I was shell-shocked, heartbroken. I lost some of that fight I was born with. It was a tough time.” She took time away, focused on acting and other pursuits.
Two years ago, she “picked up the guitar again” and found a new sound beginning to emerge. “Based on everything going on in the country,” she says, the album’s “message is going to be about starting over, about finding the positive in a negative.” And she has.