ATP! Feature: Cassadee Pope on Going Country, Reality TV and 'Frame By Frame'
"It's awesome! I'm still gaining some more fans and definitely having to work hard to get the crowd going," explains the 24 year old before taking the stage at the 20,000 capacity Sleep Train Amphitheatre in San Diego. "I'm still new to this format but I find myself adapting to the country crowd. It's a little more laid back - just to get them to stand up is huge. Every night I get them to stand up, which is a feat. Overall it's a relaxed laid back tour! I'm in bed by ten every night. Everybody makes fun of me!"
Cassadee is no stranger to playing to huge crowds. In 2009 she supported Fall Out Boy with her former band, Hey Monday, on their sold out UK arena tour.
"It's a crazy feeling. I feel much more responsible if it's going to be a good show or not," she says when describing playing to a large audience as a solo artist. "With Hey Monday the guys would talk and it was a group thing. I love the band I have now. They are awesome guys, really hold their own and are a backbone for me."
The singer is currently touring across the country in support of her upcoming debut album Frame By Frame, which she spent months working on earlier this year with producer Dann Huff in Nashville.
"One of the coolest things about Nashville is collaborating with all the amazing songwriters," describes the vocal powerhouse when opening up about her time in the recording studio. "The thing I love about it is that you go in with your guitar, sit down with other writers and start from scratch. Everybody really likes to start from the ground up and that's what I love about it. You can leave the studio once you've run through a song acoustic or piano and that's the demo. It's great because you don't waste all this time building up a demo for a song and don't use it. That's the method I love that they have down there."
With under a month to go until the album's official release, Cassadee has already released four tracks from Frame By Frame exclusively through iTunes giving fans, what she describes a good impression of what to come. "They round out the album in such a good way. I wanted "11" to get out there because I released "Wasting All These Tears," which is about heartbreak and "You Hear A Song" is about love and insecurities but I wanted to release a song that was about me as a person, not so much about love related things. "Good Times" is the opening track and I just wanted to lighten the mood after "11" was released."
After being introduced on The Voice as a pop/rock star, Cassadee has felt the need to clear up misconceptions about going country and her relationship with her family and dad. After the show, she says there were a lot of questions but explains things are great now and she just wanted to bring the fans closer with this album. "It felt like I had a lot of proving to do being on the show starting off as a pop/rock artist and coming into the country genre. I loved going out and proving myself that I am authentic, and not just a phase or a gimmick."
When discussing the follow-up single to "Wasting All These Tears," which sold more than 125,000 copies in its first week, the star informs us that it's still going to be a while. "In country, singles take a lot longer to build. "Wasting" is still growing, but it's slow. It is getting bigger where it's getting in the 20's [iTunes Country Songs Chart] but it's going to take a while longer to see what the second single will be and when it'll happen."
From the start of Hey Monday up until now, Cassadee has always had an incredibly loyal fan base that she built from the ground up. The singer is still completely hands on with her social media accounts and tries to interact with the fans as much as possible despite the rare breaks in her current schedule. But when the time comes for Cassadee to embark on her first headlining tour, don't expect any nods to her pop/rock past.
"I would love to do that but to be honest, I would feel a little uncomfortable doing that without the rest of my band," she says when asked if old school fans can expect to hear any Hey Monday songs on a future headlining tour. "I did that on the acoustic tour [in 2012] and it was so close to the end of Hey Monday, that it felt like that if I didn't play those songs, I would be completely selling the crowd short but now that I've established myself separately from Hey Monday, went on The Voice and went solo, it might feel a little weird without the guys."
Not only can fans expect the release of Frame By Frame next month but also the premiere of Cassadee's own docu-series (of the same name) on CMT. The six episode series gives fans a behind the scenes look at the singer's rise to fame - with the cameras following her in the recording studio making the album, around on her recent radio tour and preparing for the Rascal Flatts tour.
"No! No more reality TV!" laughs Cassadee when recalling her first reaction to being approached with the idea of her own show." I was afraid people would see me as someone who does just reality TV but I named my conditions, what I wanted/didn't want and everybody was on the same page. We made the contract to be exactly what I wanted, we got the production team that would be best suited and they really respected my privacy. I'm glad I decided to take a leap of faith and do it because they captured so much awesome stuff!"
After the Rascal Flatts tour comes to an end, what is next for the rising country star? 2014 will see Cassadee touring in January/February with superstar Dean Brody on his Canadian arena tour. "I'm working on a few tour options," she says about future US touring plans. "Nothing is confirmed just yet but as of right now, I have about 4-5 options that are just waiting to be taken. It's going to be exciting. There are so many amazing country artists that it's going to be interesting seeing which one falls into place."
- Jon Ableson
Frame By Frame will be released on October 8th via Republic Nashville and her docu-series premieres October 6th on CMT.