When it comes to Cassadee Pope's place in the music industry, most people will know that she was the first female winner of the 3rd season of The Voice, sweeping the entire jury off their feet and being coached by country star Blake Shelton. Some people will know that prior to that she sang in the successful pop-punk band Hey Monday while still in high school, playing Warped Tour across the country and playing shows with the likes of All Time Low and Fall Out Boy. However, what makes for a truly impressive success story is the fact that in spite of this incredible history, Cassadee managed to shake off any labels, going through highs and lows in the process and as a culmination of this, she just released her second full length album, Stages, completely on her own terms - and that takes guts.
At the risk of alienating fans who have followed her since her band days, Cassadee simply returned to a genre she has grown up on (which should shut up anyone assuming that her being on a casting show has corrupted her musical style in any way) and let me tell ya, this girl knows how to write a country banger! It's absolutely in her blood and has been for a long time. It's so fun to see her completely in her element, speaking with passion about her music and her craft and asserting herself confidently in the country pop scene.
As mentioned, Stages is the result of personal and professional challenges, but Cassadee sounds better than ever (both live and on record - which she released independently). The album opener Take You Home guarantees goose bumps right to begin with, How I Feel Right Now feels fresh and is perfect for those late night car ride singalongs, and FYI is a cheeky number about a shady ex... In summary, Stages is a record full of attitude and a huge accomplishment for Cassadee that is already taking her around... ahem, stages all across the globe.
Before her headline set at the CMT Next Women Of Country Tour in London, we had a little chitchat about her album and any risks she took with it, we both fangirl about Shania Twain (although it almost got a little too deep there) and I get to test her knowledge of English slang words... (Disclaimer: zero English nuns were harmed in the process...) Evidently, this girl was such a great sport and genuinely deserves all the success in the world. For now, I'll just sit back, relax and watch it happen.