The beautiful crystalline voice of Nelly Cassis is a sweet, yet powerful reminder of more romantic times. Nelly’s nightingale voice captured the hearts of Egyptians. And quickly her name became synonymous with elegant, flawless renditions of timeless classics. We speak to this natural born singer to learn all about her art-filled journey.
How Long have you been singing for? Did you start from a young age?
My professional singing career started five years ago, by a career shift from French teaching.
But I discovered the singing passion by the age of 12 in my church choir. Years later next to my job, I started exploring different voice-related activities like voiceovers for different cartoons and ads, took professional vocal coaching classes, joined Cairo Celebration Choir, then got noticed by some important musicians in the scene who gave me the chance to get introduced at their concerts in different venues, et Voilà!
What made you pursue a career in music?
It was inherited in our family, as my father used to be a bass player and a singer. So, music and singing were part of our everyday life. Still, it wasn’t as easy. First because I am very shy. I know it doesn’t show on stage, but in time you learn to tame and deal with it. Second, because I come from a very conservative family, whom at the beginning didn’t support the idea. They loved my singing but wished it could stay as just a hobby. Then later, my minimal singing activities beside my teaching career used to give me a deep sense of meaning and satisfaction, meanwhile I had a continuous feeling of not fitting in and not belonging to teaching no matter how much I tried. So, it took me longer than normal, and many wrong career decisions to finally decide that this is where I belong.
my father used to be a bass player and a singer. So, music and singing were part of our everyday life
You’ve been singing mostly at private events, are you reaching out to a certain target audience?
Not really, it’s the other way round. My singing style gets more noticed by a specific type of audience and fits more with their weddings, cocktail receptions and corporate events.
I miss my life, my audience, fans, events and making people happy
Tell us about the music scene in quarantine, what did it add to you and what did it take from you as an artist?
It has its ups and downs. Starting with the ups: on normal days, I lead a super busy life. Sometimes it becomes overwhelming, so quarantine gives me enough time to reconnect with myself, think about what I want to do next and spend more time with my family. It also made people appreciate the value of art in their lives. On the other hand, the down is not being unable to sing! I miss my life, my audience, fans, events and making people happy. I miss my work life.
You often mention women empowerment in your posts, how does singing enable you to achieve that?
By being a female Arab singer, and we all know how the Arab World perceives the idea of working in any art-related field, especially for females. It’s a taboo that I had to work on and get over with myself first before my outer world. Also, by being a good leading example of a successful and decent woman who can follow her passion while upholding her values despite of what society or anyone thinks. Adding to that, women in our society were raised to be “the good girl” who constantly tries to please everyone around her and should care about what everyone thinks of her and her actions. So, getting over the need to get everyone’s approval on what I do was a real challenge, and I know that this is the case with many women around me with different passions and dreams.
women in our society were raised to be “the good girl” who constantly tries to please everyone around her and should care about what everyone thinks of her and her actions
Are we expecting an album soon?
Well, I’m aiming to have an original in the upcoming period. After we overcome this period safely, I believe I will take it gradually, a single then an EP then a full album inshallah!