Newcomer Cassie Ventura's demo-turned-lead single "Me & U" has already collected more than 115 million gross audience impressions, according to Nielsen BDS.

Newcomer Cassie Ventura's demo-turned-lead single "Me & U" has already collected more than 115 million gross audience impressions, according to Nielsen BDS. As it booms from jeeps and iPods alike, the pulsating dance beat sounds an awful lot like the song of the summer, heralding not only a new talent, but also perhaps the return of Bad Boy.

Written and produced by hitmaker Ryan Leslie (Cheri Dennis' "I Love You," Loon's "Down for Me"), "Me & U" is No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, and can be found on Cassie's self-titled debut, due this week via NextSelection/Bad Boy/Atlantic. Its viral growth, which started before Ventura joined Bad Boy earlier this year, can be attributed to vigorous online marketing (MySpace, specifically) and word-of-mouth.

"The song grew pretty organically," Ventura says. "Radio stations added it before I even got signed, and clubs were playing it three and four times a night," she says. "It was already established by the time labels started noticing me."

Web surfers may have also recognized Ventura from ads for Abercrombie & Fitch, Delia's or Missy Elliott's Adidas Respect M.E collection. At 14, she signed to Wilhelmina Models and used that success as her springboard into music. "I don't deny the modeling because it was my steppingstone, but we want people to respect me as an artist," Ventura says. "I already work twice as hard to get away from the 'pretty girl syndrome.' People think I'm just singing what people feed me, but I've worked hard."

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