Born in Rockville, MD, Cassandra Pinataro began singing as soon as she could speak. She grew up in Duluth, GA before moving to Binghamton, NY for middle school and high school. "Every city I’ve lived in has taught me something about myself and the world around me,” she explains. “Although it was difficult to move often, I’m grateful for the memories I have made and the lessons I have learned in each place.”
In high school, Cassandra began to dabble with her songwriting skills, composing several pop songs but never releasing them. It wasn’t until the Coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in 2020 that she found what she loved most about the creative process of music. She started writing and co-writing pop music and began recording soon after.
As a trained opera singer, Cassandra has a vast vocal range that spans over four octaves. She has a fierce sound, with the ability to seamlessly weave in and out of tricky vocal runs that would trip up most singers. As an artist, her goal is to never treat two songs the same, thus developing a new sound for each one.
Cassandra graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor's degree in Classical Voice Performance and is currently studying for her Master's degree in Music Business through Berklee College of Music's online program.
Cassandra was crowned Miss Boston in 2022 and was first runner-up to Miss Massachusetts that same year. While still reigning her title, Cassandra decided to chase her dream and move to Nashville, TN, where she was crowned Miss Music City in 2023. She is currently competing for the title of Miss Tennessee and hopes to continue on to the Miss America competition later this year.
As a Miss America local titleholder, Cassandra has provided meals for over 250,000 homes in the past year. She plans to release a cookbook this year, with 50% of those proceeds going back to the Middle Tennessee Food Bank.
With a combined total of over 420K streams on Spotify, Cassandra uses her talent to spread encouraging messages through her music. She released her latest pop single "Love You Back" on March 31, 2023. The song is a positive, upbeat dance anthem with a very important message about self-care and mental health.
We recently had the chance to chat with Cassandra...and, we must admit that we were a little intimidated at first! A master's degree student, beauty queen, successful singer and activist would have to be a "mean girl," right? WRONG! After the first few minutes, we felt like we were speaking to an old friend. Not only is Cassandra thoughtful and kind, but she is also extremely genuine. She legitimately cares about changing the world and isn't afraid to post goofy videos of herself on social media. Cassandra is a perfect example for the saying don't judge a book by it's cover.
Hi, Cassandra! It’s so nice to meet you. We love the positive message you’re spreading with your new single “Love You Back.” What do you hope listeners take away from the song?
I hope listeners realize that it’s okay to take time to reset for themselves. It’s so easy to give lots of energy to work, friends, family, and more while neglecting to give that energy to yourself. Burnout is real and takes a toll on mental health. I hope this song helps people avoid that by investing in their self care and self love.
You are a big advocate for mental health and are currently visiting elementary schools to talk to children about loving themselves. Why do you think this is so important and what, as a society, can we do to help?
Children need to know that their voices are heard and their thoughts matter. Teaching self love and the importance of mental health to children can help prepare them for the world. As a society, we need to make sure we are continuing to advocate for this online and at home. My hope is that these children take the tools I teach and use them in all aspects of their lives while being leaders and sharing these tools in their communities.
“Love You Back captures three main ideas - love yourself, you matter and be your own best friend," Cassandra explains. "Kids need to hear this. After the recent shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, our people are terrified - terrified of another shooting, terrified of sending their children to school, terrified of the gun laws in our state and country. I think now, more than ever, we need to focus on mental health for children. School shootings are happening everywhere and students need to know that their voices can be heard and that their mental health matters. I’m on a mission to make sure each and every student I reach realizes that.”
Unfortunately, the entertainment industry puts a lot of focus on weight and image. This causes and increase in eating disorders, especially in teenagers. Intuitive eating is another subject you’re passionate about. For those who may not know what it is, can you explain it a little bit?
Intuitive eating has changed my life. Essentially, intuitive eating is the highest form of mindfulness as you tap into what your body needs in your diet. By not restricting foods while strategically opting for healthy choices, you train your body and mind to work in sync and communicate with one another. After doing this for years, I now know what food group my body most needs based on what I’m feeling and can respond accordingly. I’m currently writing a recipe e-book that will include healthy recipes and their decadent alternative to help people along this journey to mindfulness.
You were crowned Miss Boston in 2022 and you’re currently the current Miss Music City titleholder in Nashville. You will be competing for Miss Tennessee soon and will hopefully advance to Miss America. What advice would you give to people, especially women, who may not have found their confidence yet?
Confidence is a practice! No one is confident 100% of the time as we all have insecurities. Find activities that make you feel empowered, and friends that lift you up. Find even just one thing that you absolutely LOVE about yourself and dig deeper to find out why you love that. For me, I love singing and it gives me confidence because of the emotion I can bring to others. Music heals and it makes me happy to know I can provide that healing for others. Once you find what that “it factor” or “spark” is for you, confidence because a much more regular practice.
You are a classically trained opera singer. Wow! That takes talent. How do you utilize those skills when you’re recording you pop music?
Breath control is everything!! The techniques are far more similar than people realize between the two genres. Between breath support and my whistle register, my opera training has given me complete freedom in the recording studio.
What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received and who did it come from?
The greatest advice I’ve ever received was from my mother who said, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” I never quite understood this until more recently. You ARE your inner circle so you must fill that inner circle with good, kind hearted people that bring joy to your life and light up when you enter the room. Anything else is dragging you down!
You are currently studying for your Master’s degree through Berklee’s online program. What do you plan to use your degree in Music Business for?
I have many ideas, but I entered this Master’s program with the mission of having a complete understanding of how I run my own business. I am a firm believer that women are capable of anything and want to continue to prove that by understanding the ins and outs of the music business, my financials, and more such that I can continue to be my own CEO. Artists everywhere should be doing this as they enter the business we call the music industry.
What else can fans expect from you in 2023?
I’m very excited to compete for Miss Tennessee this summer and hope to continue on to Miss America! I also have a passion project I’ve been working on that I hope to begin releasing this year. Please follow along @youknowcassandra on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok or sign up for my mailing list on www.cassandraofficialmusic.com.
Cassandra, it's safe to say that we "Love You Back" and can't wait to see where your career takes you next. We will be rooting for you always!