Feature Stories

After a Bad Gymnastics Injury, Cassie Marin Finds Her True Talent in Music

Cassie Marin
Cassie Marin Gerardo De Sousa
You might find Cassie Marin, a Florida native artist, bouncing around the U.S., from Dallas to New York to Los Angeles, all in an effort to pursue her craft. A decade ago, this would-be Olympian would have never guessed that injuries that would set her on a path toward musical success.

Living in Miami at the age of 4, Marin fell in love with the dark themes and melodies of Thumbelina. Memorizing and singing those tunes swept a feeling of bliss over the future vocalist and composer.

“It was just something that I would feel so happy and just blissful singing. It was like nothing could take me out of feeling good in that moment,” she says.

Just three years later, Marin wrote her first piano composition, titled “Save Us,” about a group of orphans and how they all deserved to be adopted. Her mom liked it so much, she had Marin perform it for family and friends any time they stopped by.

Eventually, Marin says, her parents got jobs that brought the family to Dallas. At 10 years old, Marin was pursuing becoming an Olympic gymnast, training five times per week. Around this time, she set up an audition at the Performing Arts Center based out of Dayna’s Dance Studio in Southlake.

“I wanted to show them that I was capable of doing flips and all this cool stuff, but I had never really done an audition before,” Marin says. “I went for this flip that’s called a roundoff back handspring back tuck, and I just completely miscalculated.”

Marin says she landed on her face, breaking her nose, upper lip and three fingers, ultimately causing her to black out. She woke up in a dizzy haze and looked in the dance room mirror to see her crushed face dripping blood everywhere.

“Music came and rescued me. That’s the hero of the story.” – Cassie Marin

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“Next thing I knew, I was in the emergency room and my father was trying to like pop my nose back into place,” Marin says.

Shortly afterward, while training, Marin hyper-extended her arm, leading her mother to take her out of gymnastics for good. This injury forced Marin to stay indoors, and she says it put her into a deep depression. One day, Marin says, she spilled her emotions into a song she was writing on the piano.

“Music came and rescued me. That’s the hero of the story,” she says. “It just made me realize, like, 'Wow, maybe I wasn’t supposed to make it as a gymnast’ because music is this way that I can share this warm feeling with the world, and I don’t have to feel alone anymore.”

By the time Marin was 13, she was writing complete songs. A few years before, she'd written piano compositions and poems separately. She continued to attend classes at PAC, where there were only about 20 other students alongside her.

Marin says she began to realize that her instructors treated her differently. Although this initially discouraged her, she started to feel that what she wanted out of her musical career wasn’t the same as what her peers wanted.

“I didn’t want to sing and get my song famous so that I could be this famous person and everyone could just idolize me,” Marin says. “I wanted to be a musician and share my music so people could realize that their dreams are possible to achieve.”

To Marin, her music and art are about connecting with as many people she can and making sure they don’t feel alone.

“I think that’s really what Dallas rubbed into me,” Marin says.

Marin says it wasn’t until she released her first self-produced album, Plastique Days, in 2017 that she was an established artist. One of the biggest things that happened after the release was her performance at For The Love Festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She also played a couple of shows at the University of Miami.

She wasn’t playing as many shows as she wanted to in Miami, Marin says, because it was difficult for her to get a group of musicians together to perform with. She says she is looking to get Dallas people together to perform alongside her whenever she is in town.

Marin likes to incorporate a visual aspect to all of her musical projects. When she’s not recording, writing or playing shows, she’s producing music videos with her filmmaker fiancé, Gerardo De Sousa.

“He’s amazing behind the camera, and I don’t know if anyone else would’ve been able to bring my visions to life like he does,” Marin says.

Marin is willing to do music anywhere she goes. The big move for her now is to break into the music scene in Los Angeles. In the meantime, she is working on a self-produced summer EP and plans to release a single in a couple of months.
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Jacob Vaughn, a former Brookhaven College journalism student, has written for the Observer since 2018, first as clubs editor. More recently, he's been in the news section as a staff writer covering City Hall, the Dallas Police Department and whatever else editors throw his way.
Contact: Jacob Vaughn