Interview: Cassadee Pope ‘Confident’ in ‘Summer’ EP
“I would describe it as a collage of my personality,” Pope tells The Boot of her new project. “There’s so many different aspects of me and my colorful imagination, and all different aspects in one body of work. I’m excited for people to see different sides of me that they’ve never seen before.”
Pope was the lead singer of the pop-punk band Hey Monday before winning Season 3 of The Voice in 2012. Although her talent easily lends itself to any genre, Pope admits that she feels most at home in country music.
“I just always loved the storytelling aspect,” Pope says. “Even with the production that’s happening right now in music, I still think the core of country songs are very stripped down, and they tell a story in the most pure sense. As a kid, I grew up singing Martina McBride songs, and Shania [Twain] and Faith Hill songs, and all those take you on such an amazing journey, so that’s always what’s been bringing me back to country.
“And I am bringing my pop and rock influences as well, which I’m really, really grateful that I’m able to do that,” she continues. “It’s happening a lot more in country, but there’s always going to be that side of me that I can’t deny.”
The Florida native grew up performing — she was singing in front of large and small crowds even as a child — which is why her excitement at being onstage is palpable from the moment she grabs the microphone.
“It’s something that I’ve always done. I started singing when I was four years old; that was the first time I took a voice lesson. I would say, maybe from five years on, I sang on stages constantly,” shares Pope. “That’s what I call my natural habitat: It’s a place where I feel most like myself and the most confident, the most excited. There’s something about being onstage, singing my lyrics to somebody and them either listening and receiving them, or singing them back to me, that I just can’t get enough of.”
"There’s more of a message and a focal point behind these songs. My message now is just to empower people. I feel a lot more grounded this time around."
In 2015, Chris Young chose Pope to sing “Think of You” with him after hearing her perform. Before he released the song, Young told The Boot that Pope’s voice was “amazing” — and it seems that the admiration between the two stars is mutual.
“He’s like the brother I never had, and getting to sing “Think of You” every night has been such a treat,” Pope gushes. “Getting to sing with him in general is amazing; he’s one of the best singers I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. The best part of touring with him was seeing the progression of people singing “Think of You” back to us: At first, nobody really knew it, and then come March, people were singing it back to us so loudly. And now, we’ll just put the mics out. So come fall, I hope they’re doing the same thing with my songs.”
Pope had to schedule studio dates for Summer in between touring with Young, as she’s been serving as the opening act on his I’m Coming Over Tour. But now that “Think of You” has landed in the No. 1 spot, Pope says she’s even more inspired to release the best songs she possibly can.
“I can’t believe it; it’s still crazy to me that I’ve got that under my belt now,” Pope shares. “I think this is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of this timing … It would be great to keep riding that wave and release some of my own music. I’ve made some awesome new fans from Chris Young’s fan base, and just by being on tour in general over the past few years, so I’m excited to get them new music.”
The success of her single with Young, and the chance to sing in front of sold-out crowds each night, has given Pope a much-needed boost of confidence as she finishes work on her sophomore record. The title track of her EP, Pope says, is proof that she finally began to listen to her own instincts.
“I’ve learned to really just trust my gut, and to go with what I really feel inside,” Pope explains. “Something kept telling me I need to just put out a song that feels right in the moment, that I wrote, that really shows my personality and makes me push the boundaries artistically. That’s what “Summer” is, and I’m so glad that I chose this to be my next single, because people haven’t seen this side of me before, and I think that’s what needs to happen for this next phase. People needs to see all the different aspects of me.”
Pope doesn’t know when her full-length project will be released, but she does promise that it will be well worth the wait.
“This album is definitely more confident. I’m showing a more sassy side of myself,” she says. “Frame By Frame, I’m so proud of it. For my first album to debut at No. 1, that’s crazy. To look back at that, I’m so proud of that. But it was kind of like a whirlwind experience. I came off The Voice, I was writing, I got pitched all these amazing songs from some of the best writers in town. I was just in awe of it, and I gathered all my songs and put it on the album.
“This was a little more thought out,” she adds. “I had more time to spend on it. There’s more of a message and a focal point behind these songs. My message now is just to empower people. I feel a lot more grounded this time around.”
Summer is available for pre-order on iTunes.
Cassadee Pope Offers Track-By-Track Insight Into Summer
Cassadee Pope Explains Chris Young’s Influence on “Summer”