BELLO YOUNG HOLLYWOOD be featured in March 2020 issue.
Cassadee Pope: The Woman Behind the Songs
By Shannen Tierney
After jump-starting her career in 2012 on ‘The Voice’, Cassadee Pope has evolved greatly as an artist. She’s gone from writing songs as a child to performing her songs all around the world. Pope has taken her life experiences and used them to inspire her songwriting. Her new album ‘Stages’ reflects that. Pope also uses her platform to advocate for female rights. She’s a strong force for women in country music and women everywhere. It’s why she strives to carry a 50/50 gender-based tour. Pope discussed with us her writing process, tour life and some of her female inspirations.
It’s been about a year since your first independent solo album, ‘Stages’ was released. How does your new music differ from ‘Stages’?
So far, the lyrics are probably what differ the most from “stages.” I’ve gone through a few things since the making of the last record and naturally I’m writing a lot about them. Love, family, hindsight, etc are subjects I write about all the time but such as life, those things change constantly. I’m being a bit more intricate with conveying my feelings and I do think the lyrics hold more weight this time around.
You’ve evolved from being on The Voice to releasing singles, then EPs, then finally an album. As you evolve and grow do you feel that your music and the themes of your songs are also evolving?
My music has evolved tremendously since the Voice. I started writing songs at 7 years old and since then I’ve worked hard at trying to top my last song with the next. The thing about writing about your own real life experiences is that there’s always material there. If I ever have writers block, I just think about specific moments that are so vivid in my head that can translate into a song. And the more life experiences I acquire, the more moments I get to choose from while writing. It’s the kind of evolution that just happens naturally which feels a lot more freeing and genuine.
Women have been underrepresented in the country genre for a long time. Just recently CMT pledged to play the same amount of female music videos as they do male music videos. How does it feel to be a female artist in country during this current landscape?
I am so grateful to companies like CMT for their dedication to giving us women an even playing ground. It’s an inspiring time to be a female artists in country music but it’s also a trying time. We are more determined than ever to change the game and show that we’ve always had quality music, we just haven’t been given the same amount of opportunities as a lot of men. We’re showing that we support each other and wish each other success, so people shouldn’t pin us against each other. It’s still a trying time though, because for so long people have stuck to the narrative that we aren’t as good as men that some people have their minds made up. I like to think, though, that there are more champions for us than not. It’s a heavier incline for us up this damn hill but we’re all ready to conquer it.
Going off the topic of gender, you strive to carry a 50/50 gender-based tour, band and artist personal. Why is this important to you?
I think the more that my women fans see me surrounded by women in my career, the more encouragement I’ll give them to pursue a career in music if that’s what they want. A lot of talented little girls say “it’s too hard to make it as a woman” because of the lack of females in country music as a whole, in front of and behind the curtain. I don’t want to add to that chain holding them back from pursuing their dreams. Also, it’s just nice having other females around on this crazy journey. We have a common ground and an understanding so it’s comforting when things get hectic.
You recently toured with Maren Morris on The Girl the World Tour. What was it like getting to travel and tour with one of your friends?
That tour was one of my favorite tours I’ve ever had the pleasure of being on. Not only is Maren a friend but I love her music so much. Watching her navigate touring during such a busy time with her album release literally the same day as the kickoff show was incredible. She handled it all with such ease and grace and it made for a very relaxed touring environment. I also loved being a part of a tour with such a strong message. It oozed with female empowerment and honestly you could feel it so strongly from the crowd as well. Of course the late night boozy hangs were fun, too!
Country music used to be viewed as music that doesn’t have much of a worldwide presence. That’s beginning to change as more country music festivals are popping up around the world. You have headlined overseas shows in the past and have a few coming up in Australia with CMC Rocks, as well as in Japan and New Zealand with CMA. How does it feel to help expand country music overseas and all over the world?
I love the fact that country music is becoming more prevalent overseas and all over the world! Selfishly, I love it because I love to travel and see the world. But I’m also happy that people in other countries realize country music really is a universal language. The mentality of working hard for what you have and valuing your family is a worldwide idea. That shouldn’t be held in the confines of the American borders.
Growing up, who are some female artists in any genre that have given you inspiration?
I was always inspired by the voices of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Martina McBride, and Celine Dion. Big, belting voices always spoke to me and I remember trying to mimic them. I also grew up idolizing Shania Twain because of her catchy songs, empowering lyrics, and overall energy she brought to her live show.
We talked about how much you’ve traveled in your career. What’s been your favorite place to travel and perform?
I absolutely love playing shows in Boston. I think I’ve accumulated some hardcore fans there over the years so when I have a show there, I’m always moved to tears. I also really enjoy the city itself and the culture.
Is there any place you haven’t performed at that you’d want to travel to?
I think playing in Greece would be incredible. I’ve always wanted to go there and I’d be curious to see how a Greek crowd would react to my music!
If you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Shania Twain and I could envision us doing some sort of fun, female anthem together. That would truly be a dream come true. Either Shania or one of my favorite bands Biffy Clyro. They’re badass and I’d love to sing with Simon Neil. He’s got a super unique and strong voice.
Photographer JOHN SHEARER @johnshearer
Creative Director KRISTA ROSER @kristaroser
Retouching EMILY MCGONIGLE @emilymcgonigleretouch
Stylist KRISTA ROSER @kristaroser
Styling Assistant MARIAH GALSTON @mariahrachellestyle
Hair AMBER CANNON @hairmedal_amber
Makeup KRISTEN CARBINE using Charlotte Tilbury Cosmetics @kristencarbine