The Voice's Cassadee Pope on Lower-Register Woes, 'Over You' Magic and Glass Dresses
Cassadee Pope says she found it “silly” that some fans of The Voice felt that the pre-existing fan base she brought from her old band Hey Monday should have kept her from competing on Season 3 of NBC’s hit singing competition.
“I obviously appreciate all the fans I gained from my band, but there weren’t enough of them to make me a very successful artist,” she says. “To me, being successful is selling a lot of records and selling out big venues on tour, and it’s not up to anyone else to decide what success is for me.”
Plus, she adds, she’s worked hard for years and paid her dues, just like any struggling musician. “When Hey Monday first started, there was this very cool hype around us and a label behind us that was excited. But then the momentum started going away,” the eventual Season 3 winner explains. “That was hard, because I actually liked our music more the longer we were together.”
When she moved to L.A. a little over a year ago to launch a solo career, Cassadee says she had to “swallow my pride knowing that I was going to be a little fish in a very big sea.” When she failed to generate any interest from labels or management, she decided The Voice was an opportunity she couldn’t turn down — and it turned out to change the course of her life and career.
TVLine caught up with Cassadee to discuss her most memorable Voice performances, her early-season vocal woes, and her plans for keeping her iTunes momentum alive.
TVLINE | I loved the choice of Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” for your Blind Audition because it’s not one of those ballads that’s been done a million times on reality singing shows. In fact, I felt like you were pretty savvy throughout the season in terms of song selection. Was “Torn” a strategic pick or just a case of you covering something you like?
I was a little strategic, but in a way where I just wanted to establish myself, get people to know what style I was into, before I started experimenting. “Torn” was something that I had covered before, with just piano and strings. I really love that song. I love when people cover songs that are familiar, but have been kind of forgotten about. So when you play it, it takes people back to a certain place. That’s what I wanted for “Torn.” Then with “Payphone,” I love that song, and Adam [Levine]’s range is similar to mine. I really loved the idea of doing a guy’s song and turning it into my own kind of thing.
TVLINE | When you got to the Live Playoffs, your first song was Avril Lavigne’s “My Happy Ending.” Was there any concern on your part of tackling an artist who’s got a very similar vibe and sound to what you want to do in your post-Voice career?
Unfortunately, I couldn’t go out there and sing my original stuff — which would have been the easiest way to show people what I’m about and the kind of music I do. So I just tried to think of the one artist and the one song that I thought truly resembles what I want to do, and that’s the one I thought about.
TVLINE | Your first few weeks on the live shows, I felt there were times when you struggled with your lower register, where you hit some weird notes here and there. That started to change in Top 10 Week, when you covered “Over You.” I wonder if you felt the same way, and if you feel you improved as a vocalist over the course of the show.
Yeah. I felt all of those things. I mean I still struggle with my low notes. It’s just always been something for me: I’m not a low singer. I have a really high voice. The songs that I want to sing, like “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” she’s going from one octave to the next. I always want to pick songs that are really crazy rangy and sometimes those low notes aren’t there. But I started taking it way more seriously after a certain point, and I started doing vocal warm-ups every day, even when I wasn’t singing, sometimes twice a day. I mean, I’ve always taken care of my voice, but I never really thought to do exercises on days that I wasn’t singing. When I started doing that, I felt a difference for sure.
TVLINE | Let’s talk about “Over You,” which seemed like a major turning point on the show. When did you first realize something magical might be happening with that cover?
I had the idea to do the song, and Blake was all about it, but I wasn’t sure how it would translate and if it would make any sense. So when we were at band practice and it started coming together, that’s when the magic first happened. It was everything I had hoped for, and everyone was freaking out. Blake was thrilled. That was definitely the moment where I had somewhat of a glimpse into the future of me winning; I thought “If I can get to number one on iTunes, and I just keep doing songs that I can put my heart and soul into, maybe I can make this happen every week. Maybe I can do this.” So, yeah, “Over You” was definitely when the tides turned.