Growing up as an Irish ballerina was an experience I will never forget, says singer, songwriter and musician Joanne Cassidy.
“Growing up as a girl was like a big shock, like, you’re a girl.
You’re really not a girl, you don’t fit in,” she said.”
I never felt like an outsider, I never felt ‘what’s happening here’.”
You never felt that.
You were just a kid, you didn’t have to fit in at all.
You didn’t really have to talk to anybody, you were just going about your day, just playing the music.
“But for Cassidy, her growing up as Irish ballers and songwriters was more about growing up in the UK, where she was exposed to music that was much more accepted than in Ireland.”
Music was just more accepted.
I was always just so into singing and dancing.
I wanted to sing.
I just wanted to be on stage, and I didn’t know any better,” she recalled.”
You know, it was really weird because I was very sheltered, I wasn’t allowed to go out into the streets to meet other girls.
“For her, being accepted was more important than the fact that she was a girl and didn’t fit into a stereotypical male stereotype of what an Irish woman was supposed to be like.”
Being an Irish girl, the music that I was exposed and the girls I grew up with and my friends and my school friends, they were very, very different.
They were more accepting and much more accepting of different things, you know, not just ballerinas but everyone else,” she added.”
So I felt like it was like my responsibility to try and embrace that.”‘
I’m a girl who’s growing up’Cassidy was introduced to music at an early age, after her mother, Joan, took her to a local music school.”
She was a really talented piano teacher and she took me to the music school,” she told The Irish Sun.”
And I was just blown away by the teachers there, they just blew me away.
They taught me so much, they really helped me to learn.
“While learning to play the piano, she was also introduced to jazz, blues, and reggae.”
It was a different world to the one I was living in, it really was a place that I could really be myself, you can’t do that in England,” she continued.”
But that was the one time I actually felt like I was really in a position to express myself.
And I found that in my music, that’s what I wanted, that was my hope, I really wanted to express it through music.
“As a young girl, I thought, I’m not really good at music, I want to be a singer or a songwriter.
I don’t want to sing and dance like everybody else.”
Cassidy’s career as a ballerine took her from a teenager who was a regular at school dances to becoming an international superstar.
She won the World Cup of Dancing in 2009, the Eurovision Song Contest in 2010 and the Eurodance Championship in 2012.
“My goal was to do it all in one year, and to make it the biggest, the biggest event in the world,” she admitted.
“When I started dancing, I was only 18 and I had never done a dance before.
I didn�t have any experience whatsoever.
I had to learn by trial and error.
I’m proud to be Irish and to be proud to dance.”
Growing up with no formal musical training, Cassidy became a professional dancer.
“For me, it�s really about finding that balance between making music and being comfortable and comfortable being in front of people,” she explained.
“In the end, I had an amazing time and I think it was a great experience for me.
It was so important for me to be happy with the fact I could make a living and I felt I had the freedom to do that.”
Cassady said her musical interests were largely driven by her love for music and her desire to express herself through dance.
“People like me are like: I want a career, I don�t want a life.
I want something more, I just want to make a difference.
And music is the thing that can help me with that,” she concluded.