Interview: Cassadee Pope Embraces Her Country Roots On ‘Frame By Frame’
By Annie Reuter
Cassadee Pope is no stranger to the music industry. Before winning season three of The Voice last December, she fronted the pop-punk band Hey Monday; and after that group disbanded, she also had a brief stint as a solo artist. Her experience touring with the likes of Fall Out Boy, All Time Low and Yellowcard helped hone her performance chops, too, which no doubt impressed Blake Shelton, who selected her to be on his team for The Voice.
While Pope won over fans week after week on The Voice, it wasn’t until she performed “Over You”–a song Shelton wrote with Miranda Lambert about his brother’s untimely death–that she realized she’d stepped foot into country. Pope’s cover struck a chord with viewers and judges alike:
“Adam [Levine] signed off and said, ‘This is what you should be doing and I think you found your niche,’” Pope told Radio.com. “That really stuck with me because I didn’t really think going into singing that song that I was going country. I just thought, ‘This is an awesome song with beautiful lyrics. I want to tell a story with this song.’”
The track meant a lot to Shelton, and Pope said she wanted to tip the hat to him during her performance.
“It really got the wheels turning in my head. Then the song went to No. 1 on iTunes, and I was like, ‘Wow! This is really translating well. Maybe I can go back to my country roots and still do that pop rock thing that I’m doing now and be able to do it all.’”
Pope’s new solo album Frame By Frame, which hit stores this past Tuesday (Oct. 8), may be her debut country release, but with it she aims to exhibit all of her musical passions. “My influences are so all over the place, but it’s also cohesive,” she said. “I knew I wanted to do country in a contemporary way with pop and rock influences.”
Pope wrote half of the album herself, and she explained that she got really personal on certain tracks. The song “11,” for instance, is about her parents’ divorce when she was 11 years old. “It goes through all the different emotions you go through as a kid when your parents divorce,” she said. “It’s sad how many people can relate to that. The parents, they say, ‘I feel like my daughter or son is speaking to me right now.’ It’s been a really special reaction I’ve gotten.”
Pope’s debut country single “Wasting All These Tears” made it to No. 1 on the iTunes Country Singles Chart, and it’s been resonating with country fans for a different reason.
“Everyone’s gone through a heartbreak whether it’s in a relationship or just in life in general, being rejected,” Pope said. “It’s also relatable in a sense that you choose to get over it. There’s a point in time where you decide, ‘OK, I’m going to move on and I’m going to stop crying over this person or this situation, and I’m going to live my life and that’s that.’ There’s a certain amount of redemption in the song, which is great, because everybody wants hope.”
Pope, who up to this point was used to writing all her own material, also revealed her shock at how songs she didn’t write have struck her.
“I never thought an album where half was written by other writers would be so personal to me, but I found songs that I could relate to deeply,” she said. “I remember hearing ‘Wasting All These Tears’ and thinking, ‘I wish I wrote that. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that.’ The hooks were just so catchy, the lyrics reeled you in right away from the first line.”
Looking back on her big night on The Voice performing “Over You,” Pope said the experience opened her eyes.
“It really made me realize that you don’t have to be so black and white [in country music]. You can have all these different colors and it can make such a different sound and still fit in the country format.”
Cassadee Pope’s Frame By Frame is available now.