Cassadee Pope is one of country music’s brightest talents, nominated for a GRAMMY and with a brand-new album to her name, she’s ready to take over the scene. Before she becomes the first person to bring the CMT: Next Women Of Country tour to the UK, we caught up with her to see what life’s like in the country lane.
You’re only a few weeks away from your first ever solo headline tour in the UK, how are you feeling about it?
I can’t wait! Any shows I’ve ever played in the UK have been incredible. There’s such a gratitude I always feel from the fans. It’s such an honour to be the first woman to bring this tour overseas, too!
The crowd and atmosphere are likely to be quite different to when you were here previously with Hey Monday, when you first started performing solo did you find the change hard? Did you feel that you had to change how you behaved on stage?
It was definitely an adjustment. The crowds with Hey Monday were just different. There would be mosh pits, crowd surfing, etc. Crowds for my solo shows are still energetic but there’s less jumping around and more absorbing the music and singing along loudly. I get the occasional jumping when I whip out a Hey Monday song though! I take a more storyteller approach with my sets now. I love to put on a high-energy show, but I take moments to tell stories about the songs and myself in general.
What are you most excited about with these headline shows?
I’m really excited to play the newer songs on this tour. The last time I played in the UK, my album, Stages, hadn’t come out yet so I can’t wait to see how the crowd reacts to the new jams.
You’ve been out on the road with Maren Morris in the US as well, what’s been your favourite moment of the tour?
I think my favourite moment was pranking Maren on my last night on the tour. I dressed up her merch guy like me and put a wig on him. On her song ‘All My Favourite People’, where I usually come out to sing with her, I sent out Matty, her merch guy, instead. She was completely surprised and confused. It was hilarious.
How has it been performing some of the new material live?
I’ve absolutely loved playing the new material live because these songs are all about such personal things. I’ve always written from my real-life experiences but these were recent moments and they contributed to a very transformative time for me. Playing them live is like a huge validation that I made the right choices and ended up exactly where I’m meant to be. Seeing the fans relate to the songs so deeply is a huge accomplishment as well.
You had quite a long break between your last album and Stages, do you think the time away was important to help you grow as an artist and write the perfect record?
To be honest, if it were completely up to me I wouldn’t have waited so long! I’ve had a lot of road blocks the last few years pertaining to my team and not seeing eye to eye on things, so I wasn’t able to release the music I wanted for a while. But once I started making the new record, I took my time with it, I made sure it was an intentional record that told a story and I’m so glad I didn’t rush the process.
What did you want to do differently with this album? Did you have any set goals when you started putting it together?
I really wanted this record to feel like a story. I wanted to tell my side of what’s been going on in my life over the last two years. Recording it as an independent artist automatically made it a different process because there were way less people weighing in with their opinions. I felt more free to do whatever I wanted. I also wanted to include some friends on the record, which I did! Lindsay Ell, Lauren Alaina, and RaeLynn are singing on ‘Distracted’, Shay Mooney sings on ‘If My Heart Had A Heart’ and I got a bunch of my co-writers to sing harmonies as well. I wanted fans to feel like this is the most authentic they’ve ever heard me.
Are there any stories behind the songs that fans might not know about?
The vocals for ‘Don’t Ask Me’ are mostly from the demo. I was in the thick of going through my break-up and could barely make it through the song, so thankfully we had a good demo vocal to fall back on!
The country music scene has really flourished in the past year, with you being the first CMT Next Women Of Country artist to bring the tour over to the UK – why do you think so many people are suddenly connecting with the genre?
I think now more than ever, country music has expanded in its approach to production and cross-genre collaborations. With both of those things combined, I think country music has made it into the ears of people who might not have listened to it before and once those people do some digging, they end up loving country music!
Are there any new bands or artists in the country music scene that we should be listening to?
I’m super excited to be sharing the stage with Twinnie and Logan Brill on this tour, so definitely keep a lookout for them. I also really love Kalie Shorr, Ingrid Andress, Clare Dunn and Hannah Ellis!
What would be your advice for any singers wanting to step out on their own, or even step into a new genre?
I would encourage them to find someone or multiple collaborators, whether they’re songwriters or producers, and really hone in on their sound. I think that’s so important because your sound is what sets you apart from the rest. If you skip that part, you’re missing out on a huge advantage. No two artists are exactly the same and that’s the beauty of expression.
Finally then, what are you hoping to achieve in the next 12 months?
I hope to have my single climb higher and higher in the charts, to have a single or two more off Stages, headline bigger venues the next tour around and most importantly have my music help others through whatever they're going through.
Want to experience one of country's rising stars in action? See Cassadee on the CMT: Next Women Of Country Tour this month:
Arts Club, Liverpool: Friday 10 May Buy Tickets
O2 Institute Birmingham: Sunday 12 May Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Islington: Monday 13 May Buy Tickets
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