Cassadee Pope Addresses Country Music’s Bias Toward Women: ‘We Have to Create Our Own Opportunities’
In a recent interview with the Washington Post, country superstar Miranda Lambert spoke out about the bias female artists face at country radio, explaining she couldn't have notched her recent No. 1 hit with "Drowns the Whiskey" if the song hadn't been a collaboration with Jason Aldean.
Lambert is far from the only woman to secure a chart-topping hit with a male country star yet struggle to produce a No. 1 with a solo single, however: Cassadee Pope has seen a handful of solo singles travel up the Billboard Country Airplay chart -- she even scored a No. 10 hit in February of 2014 with "Wasting All These Tears" -- but it wasn't until the singer teamed with Chris Young in 2016 for "Think of You" that she finally hit the No. 1 spot.
"I definitely think a huge part of the success of that song is Chris, and his name and his voice, and his success at radio already," Pope explained to The Boot in advance of an event celebrating the 2019 CMT Next Women of Country on Tuesday (Nov. 13). "In my head, I see "Think of You" as my first No. 1, but I also think there's a lot more to be said about having my own No. 1 and having it be a song of mine, that maybe I wrote or recorded on my project.
"But I am very grateful for that song, obviously," she adds. "It opened a lot of doors for me, and it was really fun, and I loved every second of it."
As much as she loved collaborating with Young, Pope admits that having a successful radio single as a solo artist is still an important milestone. "That's something that's still important to all of us. We want our music on the radio. We grew up wanting that," she goes on to say. "I've gotten a taste of it, so that's something I want to continue to achieve."
However, just like Lambert, Pope's modest radio success doesn't necessarily reflect her album sales or popularity with fans. "Wasting All These Tears," a single that peaked at No. 10 on the Country Airplay chart, was certified platinum in March of 2014, making Pope the first female artist to achieve platinum certification on a debut single since Taylor Swift dropped "Tim McGraw" in 2006. Pope's debut album, Frame By Frame, also topped the Billboard Country Albums chart in October of 2013.
Pope was among the artists named to CMT's inaugural Next Women of Country class that same year; since then, she's continued to grow within the program and champion its inductees. Next year, she will headline the 2019 Next Women of Country Tour alongside Clare Dunn and Hannah Ellis. If Pope's singles don't get played on country radio, she says, that's a shame -- but it isn't slowing down her career.
"That's something that I've kind of had to learn this year, is being an independent artist and creating my own opportunities," she adds. "I might not get nominated for this thing, or I might not get played on the radio, but I'm doing really well over here in the Spotify realm, or I'm doing really well on social media, or in touring.
Sometimes it's frustrating when we don't get the attention we deserve," she continues, "but I also think we need to focus on the areas that we excel in."
During her Washington Post interview, Lambert stated that there are plenty of ways besides country radio for artists to share their music with fans, especially at a time when streaming services are so prevalent. Pope concurs that while being snubbed by the radio may sting, there are myriad other ways for women -- and artists in general -- to reach their audiences.
"I think the main thing is that we have to keep our heads down and keep going forward, maybe focus more on doing our own thing and not focus too much on why we aren't getting these opportunities," Pope says. "We have to create our own."
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