Today we’d like to introduce you to Cassandra Hays.
Hi Cassandra, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
For as long as I can remember, my life always seemed to revolve around finance. My journey has involved lots of late nights, early mornings, and a fair amount of blood, sweat, and tears. Like many people with their career endeavors, I worked as a full-time employee while pursuing my education. It was a fine balance acting as a sponge with my education, while concurrently trying to perform at a high level with my job. After I received my Bachelor’s, I started working with a company that was a global giant in finance, as a Data Analyst, doing financial research. Not long after I started that position, my thirst for knowledge led me back to school for a graduate degree in finance. Unlike my prior degrees, my job and my education wore heavily on my life as a young adult. My job entailed working overtime on a consistent basis, it was a requirement of the position. Long story short, I worked a lot. At this point, I decided pursuing my education online was more conducive to success while allowing me to still maintain my employment. However, at times I felt like I had bit off more than I could chew. Eventually, the stress and demands of my position slowed down the progression of my schooling. However, I was determined to finish what I had started with my education. Eventually, I did finish, but I was exhausted and emotionally burnt out. Two years passed after I received my Master of Finance. When I was laid-off in January of 2021, I had been promoted to an analyst level 3, and I was approaching my sixth year of employment with my company. I was devastated, everything that I’d worked so hard for was just gone, and so was my purpose. When I started looking for new finance jobs, I was disheartened to find the jobs I qualified for paid below an acceptable salary range for me. It felt like the salaries had gotten lower, and the expertise and skills required for a job had increased. Yet, employers needed workers. It didn’t make sense to me, and it felt very counter intuitive, especially with my solid resume.
When I lost my job, space opened up in my life for something very different. My love for music started very early on in my life. Today some of the best times of my life have involved music. I was introduced to music production in the midst of my finance blur, by a friend from my job. I quickly latched onto it and became a sponge for making music, even though I was emotionally burnt out. Making music, while overwhelming, with everything I needed to learn, it felt truly freeing to me. It blew my mind to see that I could create something that had been so fulfilling in my life. Growing up, the way that I coped with struggle was through the music I listened to. The music that resonated with me, helped me get through countless hardships. When I started making music, I realized I could have that kind of impact on people. At my fingertips was the ability to make a difference, even if it was just for one person. While I was grinding away at my graduate degree and stressful job, I found that my passion was not in the work that I was doing, it was in music. Promptly, I was driven to create my music alter ego, Chasing Haze. At the beginning, I managed to release some music in the form of instrumentals (or “beats”), and two full-length songs that were collaborations with other artists. After that, it was hard for me to get music off my mind, even though I had to set it aside for a while to finish my education. After I finished school, I found my way back to music. I had a lot to learn with all the time I felt I lost, but I dove back in with high hopes and big dreams.
When I got laid off from my job, I finally felt like it was my time… All the years that I worked myself to the bone with school and work, I just felt like a zombie; I was determined to complete my education, but the passion just wasn’t there. Music had conveniently fallen back into my lap, and with the disheartening labor market, I decided that I had the opportunity to live my dream and do something that ignited my passion in a way that finance never could.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road hasn’t been smooth, and I don’t anticipate that it will be for a while. However, I know that many things in life that are extremely rewarding aren’t achieved easily. Initially, I struggled with the lack of room on my plate for music. Once I discovered what was possible for me with making music, it was really challenging to make the time outside of my obligations. Fast forward to now, I know that I have a lot to learn within the realm of music, but what I lack in music knowledge, I make up in business knowledge. I’m basically building a business from the ground up; it will take time and lots of work before I’m consistently reaping the rewards of my efforts. It’s a challenge that I’m ready and able to take on.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
As a music producer, I make instrumentals (or “beats”). I primarily specialize in hip-hop and trap beats, but I feel that I take a very different approach to these types of instrumentals. Music production is a predominantly male industry, so as a female producer, I take pride in my sound. I’ve found the music I create tends to be more unique since I make music without fear of sounding “soft” in the realm of hip-hop.
A majority of the beats I make are uploaded to my beat store and marketed for sale to other artists, i.e., rappers or singers. There is demand for instrumentals by artists (typically non-beatmakers), so they can add vocal content to the beat and create full-length songs. Instrumentals can be leased or purchased on an exclusive basis. With beat leases, there is no limitation to the number or people that can use the beat. For example, there could be one instrumental that hundreds of artists lease and use for their songs. In contrast, I also create exclusive beats. Exclusive beats can only be used by one artist. When said artist purchases the beat, they acquire ownership rights, and no one else can purchase or use that beat.
I also create instrumentals to release as full-length songs. Since I don’t create any type of vocal content, I have to find other artists to collaborate with. Most of the collaborations come in the form of artist features, and our combined efforts is what creates full-length songs. These songs can be found under my artist’s name, Chasing Haze. I’m extremely proud of the full-length songs that I create because I know that this is the music that can truly have an impact on people’s lives.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Make it a priority to learn as much as you can about music production and the music industry. Continue learning even as your skills progress. Network with other musicians, and know that success in making music doesn’t happen overnight. Remain consistent, and learn basics of marketing to assist with sharing your music. Keep believing in yourself, and know that hard work and that belief in self will pay off eventually. Lastly, don’t forget to have fun.
- Beat lease prices $24.99/each
- Exclusive beats available starting at $100.00
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: chasinghazemusic.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chasing_haze_music/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChasingHazeMusic
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChasingHazeMus
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/ChasingHazeMusic
- SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/chasing_haze