UT student Cassie Aquino follows musical dreams, releases new single ‘Off-Limits’

Logan Dubel, General Life & Arts Reporter

Cassie Aquino said she thinks nonstop about self-sabotaging romantic pursuits and risking everything she has for an unspoken lover. However, those once forbidden thoughts will no longer be “Off-Limits” from listeners when the UT student releases her new single across streaming platforms.  

The single, set to debut Dec. 4, marks Aquino’s second release this year, after sharing four-song E.P. Worthy in May. Aquino, a pop and indie rock singer-songwriter, said she hopes “Off-Limits” takes on a new meaning for every listener. 

“The fun thing about ‘Off-Limits’ is that it can mean a bunch of different things to whoever’s listening. … We’ve been told by society that a lot of people are off limits, or you can’t like them,” Aquino said. “This song was born out of catharsis and a little bit of self-loathing. This way, I never had to tell them that I liked them. They can just guess.” 

The interpersonal communication junior, who transferred to UT this semester, said she arrived in Austin ready to take advantage of the city’s music scene.

Raised in Sacramento, California, Aquino started her recording career in a robust high school contemporary music program where she recorded and released numerous songs. Vince Martini, the program’s leader, said Cassie always showcased strong musical instincts. 

“I met her at a young age, and I could instantly see a musical soul — somebody who really lives and breathes music,” Martini said. “It takes a very courageous soul to make that leap, … so what makes me really proud of Cassie is that she took that plunge of going to Austin, Texas, and just kept moving forward.” 

Ready to pursue her passion, Aquino found Scott Graham, a producer at Austin-based Orb Recording Studios. Graham said Aquino’s outside-of-the-box, instrument-heavy sound and vocal power will appeal to younger audiences. 

“I’m just proud that she’s risking it. She’s going out there and doing it. Even though she’s still in school and has to make grades and classes, she still feels music,” Graham said. “She has this art in her, and she’s being true to that.” 

Aquino said she feels right at home in Austin with a renewed musical energy, after transferring from the University of Arizona. While Aquino remains focused on her degree, she said she never loses sight of her musical dreams. In hopes of eventually taking the stage at Austin City Limits, the rising singer-songwriter is already on her way, even applying to perform at South by Southwest this spring.

The singer-songwriter said she promises many more songs in coming months and hopes to form a live band. More importantly, she said she feels motivated to continue finding herself through song. 

“I feel like I’m constantly competing with the idea of myself and I hope that one day I end up meeting her,” Aquino said. “But until then, I’m just going to keep working until I get to that end goal.”