ATP! Presents: Cassadee's Corner (January 2013)

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!

My question is: What direction are you going to go in terms of genre?

I'm going country! It'll be more of a contemporary feel, but it's definitely country. So, I was wondering if you could share a little about the differences you felt between performing as a lead vocalist in your former band and performing as a solo artist...with a band behind you?

The difference between the two was pretty minimal. It felt more foreign at the start of the process before I got to know the guys in the Voice band. But once I started hanging with them more, and we felt more comfortable around each other, it felt more like the band days.

I'm auditioning for the Voice. What suggestions do you have for those who are auditioning?

First off, good luck! It truly is an incredible experience. But it is also what you make of it. Sometimes people get stuck in a rut and they just focus on the negative. You have to keep your head up and realize this is an opportunity of a lifetime. Don't lose sight of that. Also, go in there knowing exactly who you want to be as an artist and how you want to be portrayed. I know my style evolved over the course of the show, but I'd like to think I stayed true to myself as a person. Do the same and you'll see a huge payoff!

Do you see Blake Shelton and yourself keeping in touch throughout the years?

Blake and I have kept in touch since the show ended! I think when people go through monumental things in life together, it's almost impossible not to stay close friends. I know I wouldn't be here without him, and I think he's an awesome person so I'd love to stay friends for as long as possible!

What of a song do you write first? Lyrics or Music?

I usually write to the music. So music first, then melodies, then lyrics. It varies though when I co-write. A good friend named Liz Rose is a lyric freak. She can sing along with me and start spit balling the craziest lyrics that fit perfectly with the syllables. It's so fun writing with her.

How was it being able to sing with Avril Lavigne?

Singing with Avril was one of the most surreal moments I've had in life. Looking over and seeing someone I've looked up to since I was a kid was just insane. It was more insane that she was so nice to me! I really enjoyed hanging out with her.

What is the most important thing that you learned from The Voice?

I learned that humility and honesty can take you a long way. Throughout the show, there were moments of doubt and moments where I thought I was completely out of place. But once I gathered the gravity of the situation, I really pulled myself together and trucked on. You just have to know life isn't easy and it throws curve balls. I never thought I'd make it on a singing competition show. To be honest, I never wanted to. But after doing it and seeing the outcome, I learned you can never knock it til you try it!

My questions for you are do you get nervous before you're about to perform? And what advice what you offer to those who do struggle to perform in front of such big audiences/crowds, because of their nerves.

I usually don't get nervous before a regular show on tour, or even at radio shows. But on The Voice, I had nerves like you wouldn't believe. It was mostly because I knew I was on live television, performing for votes. It also was because I'd be wearing heels and walking in them is a feat for me! What you need to remember is a majority of the people in the crowd are already commending you for having the guts to get on stage. Once you're up there, you're already past the hard part. Don't let the fear of possibly forgetting the words or cracking keep you from trying. You WILL mess up sometimes. That will never go away. I messed up plenty of times on The Voice. It happens. It's how you recover that defines you as an artist.

What was it that made you want to pursue a career in music?

I remember seeing my sister taking voice lessons and that's what first peeked my interest. Then she had to get her adenoids removed and was out of commission for a few weeks, so I stepped in and tried a few lessons. I was hooked as soon as I got the hang of it. At first I was stubborn and got mad at myself too easily for not getting it right away. (I'm still like that to this day.) After seeing Mariah Carey sing on a TV special (I forget which one), I just knew that was what I was meant to do as well.

I've always wondered, what does the tattoo on your arm mean to you, and why did you get it?

I have my Fall Out Boy tour tattoo on the front of my arm with the initials "BND" for "Believers Never Die." That was the name of the tour. They took us out for a total of about 4 months when I was 19 year old. We traveled the world and created our core fan base on that tour. I'll never forget it. It actually ended up being FOB's last headliner, which we didn't know at the time. I have a bird singing on the inside of my wrist that I got the day after I turned 18. My favorite tattoo though is my smiley face on my hand. The story is my band showcased for Columbia on my great grandpa's birthday. Otherwise known as "pappy." We were extremely close, and he died when I was 9. Before I could say "pappy" I'd call him "happy." So when my band ended up getting signed, I knew he watched over us that day. 

What was the first instrument you learned and at what age did you start to learn to play?

My first instrument technically was my voice. BUT if you're not counting that, my first instrument was guitar at age 11. I dabbled for a while but never really took the time to learn until I was about 17.

Who have you looked up to most in your life, famous and family/friend and why?

I've looked up to my mom the most in my life. She has been my rock through thick and thin. Seeing her handle the things life has thrown at her is truly inspiring, and I hope to be as good of a mom someday as she is.

What do you think is the biggest mistake most starting singers make?

I think there are some singers out there who should take their health more seriously. I know there are a lot of HUGE artists that don't take care of themselves and do incredibly well. But they also have to get throat surgeries and go on vocal rest constantly. If you take care of yourself, and really protect your vocal chords, you won't have as much stress.

What are you most looking forward too about writing the new album?

I'm looking forward to releasing something that people have never heard from me before: country music! It's something I've always loved and used to sing when I was younger. I've always connected with it, and as a songwriter my writing has always lent itself to that genre. I feel like it's my time to really showcase everything I've learned over the years, vocally and personally.

What are some things one should be aware of before pursuing a career in music?

People should be more aware of the people surrounding them. So never ignore your gut. If you feel like someone is off and not looking out for what's best for you, you're probably right.

I'm in need of some relationship advice. You see, there is this guy that I met at the beginning of school this year. We connected so well and became great friends and we eventually confessed that we liked each other. We began dating and everything was fine until out of the blue, he told me he wasn't ready for a relationship. We didn't really talk much for about 3 weeks and then he began talking to me again and eventually we started dating again, and he said that he was ready for us to be together. Everything was fantastic and perfect until he once again, told me he wasn't ready for a relationship and that he just wanted to be friends. I want him to stay in my life, but I don't know how to keep him there. I want to be with him so badly. He was my first boyfriend, my first kiss, everything. He has this habit of putting me on a shelf and then bringing me back out when he needs someone and then putting me away when he's done with me. He wants to be friends, but should I keep him around? I'm scared I'll get hurt again. This is my first relationship and I really care about him. I don't want to get hurt but I don't want to hurt him.

This seems to be a classic case of the "convenient relationship." It's whatever is convenient for him. That's not how relationships work. Everything should be split down the middle. The attention giving, the communication, everything. It's not fair that you're constantly looking over your shoulder, bracing for his next epiphany where he decides he isn't ready. You should give yourself more credit and know you deserve to be with someone who definitely wants what you want. A real relationship. My two cents? Just stay friends and stop letting him pick you up and put you down whenever he wants. You're better than that!

I am a gay teenager that lives in a place where i am not that accepted. Im having trouble fitting in since i just came out to my close friends. I have the hugest crush on this guy who seems to be straight, what do you think? My friends are telling me that continuing liking him is gonna hurt me, but I'm not sure.. Do you think I'm gonna end up hurt or that i should start getting closer to him? What would you have done?

I think if you really like this guy and you want to pursue him, you should! The questions isn't if he's gay or not. It's if the feeling is mutual. Being gay or not gay is irrelevant. Because there are straight people who like other straight people, but the feeling isn't reciprocated. The same thing goes for this. If he's not into it, then you know it's not going to work out and you can stay friends. You'd be more hurt if you didn't try and you always wondered "what if." So go for it!

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