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R&B singer Cassie got her first taste of the music industry at 16 when she had the opportunity to speak with the producer Rockwilder, a meeting that inspired her to take formal voice lessons. This decision paid off nicely later on, when, after she'd graduated from high school and was working on her modeling career in New York, she became acquainted with producer Ryan Leslie. He encouraged her to pursue music more seriously, and in January 2005, Cassie's mother's request for a song provided the impetus to go into the studio with Leslie and record one. Tommy Mottola heard Cassie's work and signed her to a management deal, and with Leslie as her producer, the young singer joined P. Diddy's Bad Boy Entertainment in 2006. That same year, her self-titled debut album was released; "Me&U," its lead single, reached the Top Ten. ~ Marisa Brown