Alter The Press!


ATP! Presents: Cassadee's Corner (July 2012)

Today we are pleased to unveil the first installment of our new monthly column from our very own in-house guidance counselor, Cassadee Pope!

Each month, Cassadee will be answering questions and offering advice about school, relationships, breaking into name it! If you have anything on your mind that you would like to ask Cassadee, drop her an e-mail at with the subject title "Cassadee's Corner" and your question might be featured in next month's column!

During middle school, did you ever have troubles w/ choosing friends? This recently happened to me. I always try to be nice to everybody. Even the jerks of the school. But then the people who are jerks attach themselves to me. I don't wanna hurt their feelings though by telling them to not hang out with me though. What would you do?

I think you are extremely open-minded and kind for welcoming these "jerks" into a friendship. I'm no sure I was ever that accepting. I think before you fully commit to someone who has shown indecent behavior, you need to keep a safe distance. You need to have an open dialogue with them about how you will only stay friends with them if they treat others with respect. The last thing you want to do is attach yourself to people who treat others horribly. Because if that happens, those victims will try and stay away from you just because you're friends with the bully. Try and be a good influence on these people. You could be the person who turns them around.

I'm really into music, including yours, and play guitar myself. One of my biggest dreams is to be in a band, or go solo like you do but, sadly, everyone I know lives in a complete different place and no one close to me actually likes what I do. I don't know what to do, even though I'm only 15. I just need some advice for what i can do after I've finished school. What should i do?

You have to keep reminding yourself that this is REAL LIFE. You can't let other people determine whether you're going to follow your dreams or not. Because before you know it, it'll be too late. You're so young and have so much time to pursue music. Start now! Practice playing that guitar and singing. Involve your friends who don't seem to get it. Maybe you're not giving them enough of a chance to support you. Don't be afraid to let other people in on your master plan to rule the world with your music. Your real friends will stick around and be your biggest fans. As far as what to do after you've finished school. I think it's important to really figure out who you are in your music. In order for people to connect, you have to connect yourself. Start writing your own songs, learn how to use GarageBand or whatever recording devices you have. Be proactive and have a presence on the internet. That's a huge tool these days. Good luck!

Hey Cassadee! My question is, do you have any like tips for having a good body image? Because, I'm self conscious about pretty much everything and you seem to have a pretty good image of yourself.

I think most girls have body image issues. Whether it be the whole body or specific little parts. I'm insecure about that area on the outside of my legs, right above the thigh. So I diet, and workout! Dieting is not fun, and it can be mood altering. But when you see the outcome like I have, it's easy to keep up the routine. I've tried to eliminate sweets, too much sodium, and carbs in general. Fresh produce really makes dieting bearable. As for exercise, there are many ways to go about it. It's easy to get sick of a treadmill, or the elliptical. So try new things! You don't have to stick with one exercise for the rest of your life. It's good to switch it up anyway so you can work on more than one area of the body. I usually jog for about 20 mins, do about 50 leg lifts each leg, 30 pushups, and as many abdominal works as i can. The bottom line is it doesn't matter how beautiful someone else may say you are. It's up to you to love yourself. You're beautiful no matter what. It's all about finding your goal and reaching it!

Hi Cassadee! My friend Erica and I are trying to start a band and we are only sophomores in high school. Do you have any advice on how to get noticed by record labels and how long do you think it might take?

Unfortunately, the time frame in which you get discovered is always different depending on the situation. To get labels attention these days, you have to do the work yourself. Back in the day, you could bring your guitar into the labels office, sing a song, and get signed on the spot. Now, they need to know you're a finished product and have proof you appeal to an audience. If I were you, I would put together a band that you are proud of and truly believe in. Then you start on the internet stuff (twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) Figure out who your audience would be, and target them! Oh yeah, and the main thing. Start writing awesome songs and record some demos. Throw those up on your YouTube channel and really promote. Go to shows with your demos and hand them out to the line, engage the fans by involving them in your development. There's nothing better for a fan than being able to say they knew you way back when. Just remember things usually never go according to your timeline. Don't be discouraged if things take a while. Work hard and you'll see the results!

I'm 15 and I'm in 10th grade now. I'm a very shy person when it comes to talking in front of a lot of people, which is a big issue in school right now with all these presentations and everything. I know you're a very confident person and i just wanted to know, if you can give me some advices how i can be more confident with myself. Another big issue is my weight. I mean, I'm not fat but I'm not skinny either. Since I saw you lost some weight the last two years, I thought you could give me some tips in like work-out or how i can change my eating habits. I really hope you answer this. It would be a big help.

I think I touched on the weight topic in one of the other answers I gave. I hope that helps you out :) As for being more confident with speaking in front of people, that is something that takes practice. I used to hate when people even looked at me as a kid. Now I'm on stage, hamming it up! It's all about hearing yourself in your head before the words reach your lips. If you start spewing out sentences, it's easy to fumble on the words. The reality is most people in the world have trouble speaking in front of large groups. You have to just do it and learn from your mistakes. The people you are speaking in front of are probably just rehearsing what THEY have to present anyway ;)

I wanted to know what was the reason you started a band and got into music as a career?

My sister took voice lessons when I was really young. That's the real reason I started singing. Then I remember seeing Mariah Carey on some TV special, and thought it looked incredible. As soon as I sang my first note, I was hooked. Once you feel a connection to music, there's no turning back. I started listening to bands around age 13. That's what got me wanting to be in a band!

How do you choose the musicians to play in your live band? Where can I turn in my application?

I actually have gotten lucky and just gone with someones recommendation. But next time I put a band together for tour, I'll keep you in mind. :)

Hi Cassadee. This might sound awkward and weird but I want to come out to my family as a lesbian but I don't know how... so what would you say to do?

Your family loves you and just wants you to be happy. I can't imagine the pressure you must feel from wanting to be up front with your family, but also not wanting them to disapprove. The truth is, you feel how you feel. Imagine living the next few years of your life in hiding. How horrible does that sound? Depending on how close you are with your family, I'm going to go ahead and assume they already know. Because they know you better than anyone. They're probably just waiting for you to feel ready enough to tell them. I would go about this in a way that lets them know you know how much they love you. I would keep it simple and just say "I know you love me and will accept me no matter what. I just feel like you should know I'm gay." It's to the point and gives them room for questioning (because what kind of family doesn't have a gazillion questions about every thing you say?!) Good luck, girl. I support you. <3

I was hoping to start college in September but due to ill health with having M.E, I've had to take a gap year out because I didn't think I'd be able to manage the workload. Even though I know it's necessary (because I struggled through the 6 years of high school & had to work even when I felt awful) I feel so gutted that I can't start at the same time as everyone else, and it's really got me down a lot. I don't want to waste my year off doing nothing, but at the same time I know I have to pace myself, so I don't become more unwell. I'd love to feel like I was doing something with a purpose on my year off. Your music has helped keep me going when I've been ill & never fails to make me smile, so if you had any advice I'd really value it & be so thankful!

I'm so sorry about your illness. You seem like a strong person and determined! I admire you very much. If you want to get out and use your time wisely, I would do some community service. It can be for whichever organization you choose to support, and you don't have to commit to any trying schedules. You have to take advantage of this time off though. Don't overwork yourself. I completely understand not wanting to stay in one place for too long. But if taking it easy meant keeping myself from becoming more ill, that's what I would do. With community service you can decide when you feel up to do some work! Stay positive. You may be taking longer than your peers to get through school, but your way is so admirable.

So, I know this person. I act like I'm her friend although I don't like her all that much. Does that make me a bad person?

You're not a bad person regardless. But it would be unkind to tell other people how you really don't like her. I would think it takes more energy to force a friendship with someone you don't particularly connect with. Everyone in this world isn't meant to be friends. That's not saying they have to be enemies. But there's an in between that people forget exists. You can acknowledge each others existence without sharing your deepest, darkest secrets with one another. It's not fair to you to waste energy on a friendship that isn't sincere. And it isn't fair to her that you secretly don't care for her. I would get to the root of the actual problem you have with her. That could help solve the issue.

I've liked a guy since 7th grade and he knows/knew I liked him we were best friends for awhile, told each other everything but now going into my senior year of high school he seems so distant. Not answering Facebook or text messages. So should I confront him or continue to give him his space? I don't want to be clingy but I don't want to lose him.

I would just confront him and tell him how you feel. It's important to word it in a way where he won't feel attacked. Try a phone call. Texts can sometimes be read differently by different people. If he doesn't answer, text one more time saying you would like to have a talk with him. If he doesn't answer the text, I think space is the answer. In my opinion, a good friend wouldn't ignore you when you try to reach out. So give him a taste of his own medicine. Trust me, he'll notice you've "given up" and want to initiate a conversation.

What does it take to work in the industry (qualities, abilities...)? What advice would you give? Knowing I'm French, internship in the US are pretty hard to find and it is so vague that I don't know where to start.

I've only ever experienced being in the industry as an artist. But I can tell you what qualities I've enjoyed in the people I've gotten to work with. Honesty is key. You have to know how to be honest without coming across as condescending and cocky. It's different for certain artists, but I hate being buttered up. I love getting honest opinions from people I respect. Opinions that are well worded and thought out. Also, be reachable. There's nothing worse than trying to get an answer from someone who just isn't responding quickly. Honestly, I don't know much about how to get into the industry in that vain. But if I were the owner of a management company and needed an intern, I'd want someone who was thorough, responsive, cooperative, and overall a nice person.

I'm 15 and my dad's been in the air force for my whole life but he just retired after 28 years. Usually we move every few years, and now we're actually going to be living at home and I know for sure I'm going to be finishing high school here. I'm really worried that once school starts I won't find anybody with common interests. Usually I'm not worried about it because in a school with all military kids, everyone's from somewhere different and it's so diverse. But here, in small town USA, I'm afraid I'll he considered the outcast. Any advice? Thanks, Cassadee. I really look up to you and hope you can give me any words of wisdom!

You won't be considered an outcast. Your dad did something respectable and amazing, and everyone will know that. People will be happy to be your friend. I bet there were a ton of kids from your old school who came from small towns. It seems like you got along with them right? You don't need to worry. Just be nice and positive. This is going to be a great experience!

I get bullied at school a lot.. For everything. The way I look, the clothes I wear. Even for listening to your music. I have no self esteem so when people call me names, it's hard to not take them seriously. I suck at coping with it. Any advice? I try to ignore them, but that's a lot harder than it sounds.

Something you have to remember is that bullies are always unhappy with themselves. So they look at someone impressionable like you and take pleasure in knowing they affect you. I wish I could shadow you everyday and make sure you weren't bothered, but all I can do is tell you it will get better. Those jerks will reap what they sow eventually. And you will go on to be successful. I would advise you to tell your principle and parents about this. It's their duties to take action and help prevent this from happening. I'm sorry you have to deal with these issues. Try not to take what they say to heart. They're sad underneath all that angst. And by the way, the fact that they make fun of you for listening to my music lets me know just how lame they are. ;)

I've liked my friend as more than a friend for 2 years now. we're really close that we basically act as if we were a couple, even our other close friends point it out. we've gotten to the point that we'd hug and cuddle like a couple and just as if we're about pull in for a kiss, we get interrupted. I want him to know the truth, but I don't how to go about it. could you give me advice on how to convey the message to him?

I think a good old fashioned "I like you as more than a friend. Do you feel the same way?" will do the trick. It sounds like he likes you back. Boys don't "cuddle" and go in to kiss a girl if they just want to be friends. Tell that boy the truth!

Hi Cassadee! I have a question, is about my relationship with my sister, we are always fighting and she talks to me like I'm stupid and is just so hard talking to her cause she keeps judging me and she think that my mom loves me more and that I'm my mom's favorite daughter, thanks to her my entire family thinks that is true. Its like a bully and my sister at the same time. And there is no way I cant talk to her cause she doesn't trust me anymore... I really don't know what to do with her, should I just let it go and ignore her?

You should definitely not ignore this issue. This is your sister, your blood. It sounds like this problem snow balled over time and is now reaching it's peak. If you truly care about your relationship with her, you will sit her down and be honest. Tell her that mothers never favor any one of their children. Get your mom to tell her that, too on their own time. Don't have this talk with your mom around though. If your sister already feels like you're the favorite, she'll feel ganged up on, and that feeling will just grow. Take it from me. Having a healthy relationship with your sister is something that shouldn't be overlooked. It's one of the most special connections with someone you will ever have. I have no doubt your sister will come to her senses after she sees how badly you want to fix things.

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