24 May 2024

The Artist Formerly Known as Cassia

9 August 2021

Cosha… Bonzai… Cassia... the name may have changed but the undeniable talent and irresistible charm have remained consistent, even while the level of success has skyrocketed. Yes, Cassia O’Reilly, of the Class of 2013, is making waves in the music world to an extent not seen for a Conlethian alumni since Conor O’Brien/Villagers (2001). Cassia is now Cosha, and the most reputable of the musical press are singing her praises, enjoying the blossoming of a creative, organic force whose first fruits and flowers were displayed in the Music Room and on the stage of St. Conleth’s hall. Cassia/Cosha’s new album ‘Mt. Pleasant’ is garnering rave reviews from every corner. The Examiner gushed: Cosha is one of the bright new names releasing their debut album this summer. Mt Pleasant – named after the area in Dublin where Cassia O’Reilly was raised – is a heady, sexy swirl of RnB. Hot Press enthusiastically went further into detail: Throughout the invigorating 8-song project, Cosha uses an eclectic range of drum beats, mantra-like choruses, spacious production and emotive songwriting as a lens for her experiences. The end result explores the electrifying sensuality and desire in a beautifully unapologetic and vibrant way.

Even the notoriously sanguine Guardian waxed poetically, as it recounted Cassia’s brave decision to walk away from her Bonzai persona (and a lucrative recording contract) to try something new and free: Previously releasing a frenetic blend of rave-inflected R&B and elasticated pop under the name Bonzai, she scored herself a major label record deal that soured, leaving her artistic vision compromised. Striking out alone, she changed her name and started from scratch. The result is Mt Pleasant, a luscious, confident and carefree record that could only have been crafted by someone in control of their artistic intentions. The brash beats and harsh electronics of Bonzai have been supplanted for something more sensual… We will leave the rest of the review to be found by our more mature readers, but let us just say that Cassia is certainly all grown up, and is now bringing a more developed and refined version of the same energy and beauty with which she regularly graced our school assemblies and concerts. Cassia’s talents were obviously evident even back then, and we all knew she was destined for bigger stages, but we also have fond memories of her and her brother Omar on a more normal plane: both were warm and engaging students, classmates and friends, and we hope St. Conleth’s benefitted them at least in some small way as they did us: making 28 Clyde Road a happier, hipper and acoustically improved place!

by Charles Latvis

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