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

Our very own in-house guidance counselor Cassadee Pope is back, with her latest monthly installment of "Cassadee's Corner".

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


Recently I’ve been dealing with depression and I’ve been to see a doctor but I don’t know, nothing seems to be working for me. And I’m trying so hard to not let everything get to me and my friends are helping me so much, as is music. I’m just wondering if you have any tips for ways to make yourself stop feeling down and thinking about bad things?


The one thing that makes life easier is surrounding yourself with good people who are genuine. It seems like you have that. However, that can only get you so far. I suggest thinking more "big picture" stuff. Like how you have a roof over your head, you're not going hungry, you've got friends and family to turn to. I know it's much easier said than done, but I promise it will help you to stay positive. Definitely stick with music as well, because it is truly the best outlet for any negative thoughts. Any time I'm down or upset about something, writing is my therapy. Hang in there!

I've been feeling really useless and confused about myself. I'm never good for anything and whenever I try to do my best in school, I always fail. I never feel like I fit in and that everybody hates me. Sometimes I think that I shouldn't be here anymore and just disappear from everyone! I think that everyone would be happy about that. I'm no help to them at all. You always give me some advice on twitter and I love that but I just can't stand it anymore. It's getting worse and worse everyday. I have two years left of school but that's still way too long for me to be living here. You're the only person I ever count on. I don't know what to do anymore.

I think the main issue here is you are putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. You don't need to get good grades or know how to fix a broken sink to be useful. Sure, good grades would be nice. And obviously being a handy man would be convenient. But as long as you're trying, and you're a good person along the way, good things will come. Also, I don't think people would be happy to see you disappear. I know they wouldn't. I wouldn't be happy, that's for sure. Just be yourself because I guarantee you've made a difference in someone's life already: your family for one!

What do you do when you've just graduated high school, hate your job because the corporate people suck, and you can't stop thinking about making music but you feel like you're not good?

The first thing you can't do is already put yourself out of the game by thinking you're not good. Because eventually, you'll have other people to tell you that (take it from me.) Don't let fear keep you from even exploring the music route. As for your job, I would do what you need to get by. Things are rough out there and making money is near impossible in the music industry. I would start dabbling, whether it be playing guitar, singing, or whatever! See if it really sticks. And if it does, there's nothing you can do but to go for it. Only pursue music if it's an undeniable passion though. Because it's a rough road!

How did you get to where you are in the music industry? Just played a ton of shows? Knew someone who was already big? Get back to me :)

Well there are A LOT of factors in how I got to where I am. The story would take ages to tell. It goes from being a kid and singing in choir, to being in a band and touring the world, to now living in LA as a solo artist! But the very short story is that I went to the Atlantis Music Conference with my old band. We got the attention of an A&R from Columbia records, and he eventually flew us out to NYC to play a showcase for the label. Shortly after, Pete Wentz heard one of our demos in the Crush Management office and wanted to sign us as well. So Columbia and Decaydance did a joint venture for us, got us into the studio with Sam Hollander and Dave Katz, and sent us out on tour for about 2 1/2 years straight.

Hey Cass. My gramma has been living with us for over a year now and I can't take it anymore. Even my family is getting fed up. Sometimes, it's all I can do to not scream at her. I don't know what to do.

I'm sure living with your grandma isn't easy, but you have to remember she's family. When a family member is in need, you can either turn the other cheek or prove what family is all about. ALL of our family members have gotten on our nerves at some point or another. There's no denying it! I'm sure most of the frustration is because there is less room now. Take deep breaths, and don't let things get out of hand. Voice your frustrations in a way that suggests realistic solutions. Because unless you're going to throw your grandma out, you're stuck with her!

My brother is 9, 10 in October. He's my half brother and his dad's side of the family has a disease called Huntington's Disease. It causes severe memory loss by the time you are 40. His dad is 34. How do you tell a 9 year old that his dad won't be able to see him anymore? How do you tell him that he's never going to be a Professional English Football Player for Liverpool like his dream?

I'm so sorry to hear about your half brother's family. That must be hard for you. The best thing you can do is be strong for your brother. He has to know he can lean on you when things get tough. I'm sure he'll ask a lot of questions, and he'll be affected by this. But your job as his big sister is to be honest. Tell him the truth without being too abrupt. And most importantly, don't let your lives revolve around this. Continue to be kids and have fun. It's ok to keep living as you normally would. His father would want that for you both. Stay strong. <3

I wanted to know what/who inspires you and what are your plans for the future? Is Hey Monday staying together or are you flying solo for good?

Real life experiences and love inspire me to write music. Unless I've gone through something myself, or someone close to me has, I don't write about it. It's not by choice. That's just where my mind goes, lyrically. My plans for the future are to become more established as a solo artist and tour more. I don't feel like I've even scratched the surface. But I'm more than up for the challenge! Hey Monday is currently on a hiatus. We're all doing our own things separately. I can only speak for myself in saying I don't plan on giving up my solo endeavors just yet. These things take so much time and focus. It wouldn't be in my best interest to give up already.

Two questions: how do you avoid anxiety during stressful situations? I hate math and I've only been in college for 2 weeks and I'm already starting to get stressed with math.

And the second thing, how do you tell someone you like them? Without the fear of being rejected. Because I'm so scared to open up because of that fear.


The most important thing is to realize just what you're stressed about. Is it about failing? Then study really hard so you don't! Easy peasy! If it's about college itself, know you're not alone. I never went to college but I can imagine how intimidating it can be.

I don't think there has been a single person on the planet who wasn't scared to tell someone they liked them. It's a very natural thing to fear, and that's why the action is so romantic. By you facing those fears and expressing your feelings, you're showing the other person just how brave you are. And to me, that's a very attractive trait in a person. I say go for it!

I’m 21 and have been in a serious relationship for almost 2 and 1/2 years, and I was proposed to in December 2012, and I said yes. But in the history of our relationship he’s broken my trust more than once, and we’ve fought rather constantly. The good is good and the bad is awful. I tried to forgive and forget, but things are always in the back of my mind. I recently took it upon myself to end the relationship because I wasn’t happy with the direction we were going and I couldn’t stand the fighting anymore; but the catch is that we had already signed up to share an apartment for our senior year of college. I know he’s upset, as I am, too, but I’m getting a lot of negativity from him (he wants me to pay him back for a lot of things he didn’t want me to at the time, I can’t use the appliances he brought into the apartment, he refuses to speak to me while we’re both there, etc,.). I’m trying to be as accepting of his anger as I can, but by doing this he claims I never cared/loved him, and this makes me extremely upset. I can’t make him understand, but do you have any advice on how I could better deal with the situation, or how to deal with “bad” break-ups in general? It’s my last year of college and I want to make it the best, but now I feel like everything is just falling apart.

I think you made the right decision in breaking up with this guy. With the way he has handled the break-up, I assume you can do better. As far as dealing with bad break-ups, everyone is different. I've always felt it's best for there to be space for a while. In your case, you couldn't do that. I can't even imagine what that's like! But what's the alternative? Stay with him because it's convenient for the time being? No way. You go enjoy your senior year of college and sleep over your friends' places as much as you can. Don't let this bitter dude get you down.

How did you find your writing style? I feel like i have so much to say, but every time I get it down on paper, it just doesn't sound right.

Trust me, my lyrics did not flow whatsoever when I first started writing! Even to this day I listen back to songs and think "I should've said 'this' instead of 'that'." I grew up listening to Avril Lavigne and Michelle Branch, so my writing style was heavily influenced by them. But you're you, so go with it. Adam Lazzara writes some of the wordiest songs I've ever heard, but it works because it's him! You'll find your thing. Just keep writing.

Hi. I sat through the entire two hours of the voice. You weren't on like you said you would be. What happened?

I'm sorry! The show had A LOT of people audition so the odds of me being aired on the first episode were pretty slim. Unfortunately, I don't know when my audition will air. That's why I said to tune in. But keep watching! You might see me! And there's also more amazing talent to come.

Thought I'd start off by saying you are a huge inspiration to me Cassadee and I'd love to hear your advice on this issue. I've always loved singing just as a past time (definitely don't have the chops to be pro or anything) but I've recently been scared away from it. The last time I sang in front of a crowd, the mic feed back and I lost my place in the song. I stood there for a good 30 seconds, though it seemed longer, looking like a complete idiot before I could mumble my way to the end of it. I ended up running off the stage crying because I was so embarrassed. Any tips on how to move past this experience?

The good thing is now you have a "most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you on stage" story! We ALL have had our moments on stage. I've had too many to name. Those people in the audience respect you. They couldn't get up there and do what you did. It takes guts. It takes even more guts to get back up when you've fallen down. This builds your character as a performer. Next time, just laugh it off and start over again. Don't be so hard on yourself, and have a little fun!! Well more than a little. :)

Hey Cassadee! There is this guy at work that I really like. He's cute, funny, and he has a good head on his shoulders. However, I guess I don't know whether or not it is a good idea to ask him out for two reasons. 1. I am not sure if he has the same feelings back, and I don't want to make things awkward by putting him in that type of situation.

2. If things ended up working out for now but we ended up having problems in the long-run, I don't want either of us to feel uncomfortable at work seeing as our current job is in our career path. So, I guess I am wondering if you think I should go for it, and if so, how should I go about it!? Thanks!


I've touched on why it's ok to fear asking someone out in one of the questions above. But the work thing makes it difficult. Mixing business with pleasure is definitely a tricky situation. It can get ugly, or end up working out very well. The bottom line is you can't help the way you feel. And if he feels the same way, I say try it out. You seem very mature and level-headed. So if things don't work out, try your hardest to keep it cordial. If they do, I want an invite to the wedding!

I'm 20 years old and have been living with my best friend and her family for the past year because of financial issues. I've been paying them whatever rent I could and I have a good relationship with her parents, so that's been good. I used to be good friends with her sister as well, but recently, she's been acting very coldly to me and I'm not sure why. I've been trying to avoid conflict with her by staying out of her way and even turning a blind eye when she treated me very badly (I'm talking borderline verbal abuse here). Their mom is always telling me I need to stand up for myself, but then when I do, she yells at us for fighting. Soon I'll be leaving for a new job I've acquired at Disneyland, and I won't be living here anymore. I thought this might make things better, but I think she's just gotten worse! And all I want to do is scream at her and make her feel as badly about herself as she makes me feel (as petty as that sounds). I only have two more weeks left here, but I'm not sure I can take this anymore. And I don't even really have anyone to confide in about this because my best friend is her sister, and she just wants to stay out of it. I don't want to make her feel like she has to take sides, anyway.

That must be hard not being able to turn to someone in your household. You deserve to know why your friend is treating you so horribly. There has to be a reason. There could be some jealousy happening because you're moving out and getting a good job. It could just take you confronting her in a non-confrontational way to solve this problem. Take these last two weeks to really figure out what's bugging her. If she's not cooperative, just hang in there. She'll open up eventually. Congrats on your upcoming job!