It wasn’t too long ago that Cassadee Pope and her band, Hey Monday, were gracing the pages of Lemonade Magazine’s 2010 Vans Warped Tour issue. A lot can change in two years though and Pope is proof of that. Thankfully for us, these changes have brought us a new sound, a new outlook, but still the same Cassadee Pope that we know and love.
I got the chance to chat with the pop starlet recently about everything from her debut self-titled solo EP to True Blood to tattoos. Check out how it went below.
Cassadee Pope: Well, I turned 21, so I am now legal drinking age! *laughs*
CP: I went solo and moved to L.A. in October, so I have been working on music since. I just recently released my self-titled EP and I have just been focusing completely on my solo career as of late. I decided to work towards that back in August I think, so I have been trying to meet people here in L.A. and have met some that have been really great about helping me out and getting this EP out.
LM: Speaking of the EP, I am definitely a fan of it, your voice sounds beautiful as always. There is a different sound however to this EP, is there a new found freedom being solo?
CP: Yeah, I don’t feel any pressure to stay close or consistent with how Hey Monday sounded. With Hey Monday we didn’t want to stray too far from what we had done in the past. We didn’t want fans to feel like we abandoned who we were, so with this I really went into it with an open mind and I had a genre in mind. I always wanted to be pop rock, but was never dead set on a certain type of production.
The two producers – Andrew (Dixon) and Jason (Gavi) – and I started working on the EP and we sort of came out with this sound that was real and sounded pop, but still edgy. I just wanted people to realize that this was different than Hey Monday, so I tried to be different, but didn’t go too extremely different from who I have always been. I love pop rock music and I don’t think I strayed too far from that.
LM: I know this is such a hard question to answer, but what is your favorite song on the EP?
CP: I go back and forth between “Original Love” and “Told You So”. I think with “Original Love” the part that gets me the most is with how in line it is with my personality and “Told You So” is more of a sad song. It’s about feeling like a lot of people have rejected you, but you’re still not giving up, so it is a sad song.
And I think “Original Love” represents me best as a person. I love them both for different reasons. I love the lyrics for “Original Love” and I love the melody. It was co-written with the two producers and when we were writing it, we all looked at each other and were like, “This is cool.”
You know it’s a pretty simple song. Not too complex, but it really catches your ear. “Told You So” I co-wrote with these two guys in Nashville and when we were writing that it was very piano driven. It was a very emotional session because I had to think about all the experiences I have had with rejection and being put down and feeling like I wasn’t good enough. We wanted to turn it into somewhat of a positive song as well though, so people could listen to it and feel like it’s an encouraging message.
LM: How are you enjoying L.A. compared to Florida?
CP: I’m loving it! The only thing I am really missing are my family and friends, but my family comes out here whenever it feels like it’s been too long. They also want to end up here eventually, so I’m not out here thinking that I am never going to live close to my family again. It’s just a place for someone in my position to be. I need to be here to get further in my career and to meet the people who are keys to becoming successful. I met so many awesome people with Hey Monday, but the world I want to break into, the pop world, I have only dabbled in, so I am working more on that. My roommate is this awesome writer named Ali (Tamposi), she’s got the new Kelly Clarkson single (“Stronger”) and she’s been so cool in helping me break into this world.
LM: It’s been mentioned that Hey Monday is just on hiatus for now, but can we safely say you are focused on a solo career right now?
CP: Yeah, I am really focused. I don’t feel like I am in a position to be able to do both. Not to say that I want to. I am definitely happier right now doing what I am doing. It’s definitely time for me to break away from that and do something on my own. The reason that we said hiatus was because we didn’t want to say that it’s completely over and that it’s never happening again, then get back together one day and have it be this big reunion thing.
We just didn’t want it to be dramatic. In some ways it’s been a good idea and in some ways it hasn’t. It was January when we announced that and people are already asking if we’re going to get back together, which, you know, it’s only been six or seven months. I think the word hiatus is so broad and people are going to make it what they want to make it. I have no intention of continuing with Hey Monday for a while, just because I feel like the road has just started. I’m not the kind of person to try it out for a few months and then that’s it. Things are gradually getting better and it’s getting more and more exciting, so it would not be in my best interest to stop now and go back to Hey Monday.
LM: One thing I notice right away whenever I have seen you is your tattoos. They are pretty damn awesome! Do you have any good stories behind any of them?
CP: My favorite is probably my smiley face. It’s on my right hand and it’s for my great grandpa. I was really close to him and we showcased for Columbia Records on the day of his birthday. He had died when I was pretty young, but we got signed on what would have been his birthday and I felt like he was watching over us.
When I was little we used to call him “Pappy”, but when I was too young to really grasp that, I would call him “Happy.” So after that I decided I had to give him a little nod and say thank you for watching over us the whole time.
CP: I am so excited, because they are bringing back Dennis O’Hare who’s character (Russell Edgington) I think is so brilliant in everything that he did. I just love the show. I know it’s getting a little out of hand with all the different magical beings (vampires, witches, fairies, etc.). Maybe I am biased though, but when I started it I was like, “This is going to be my show and I am going to be open minded.” I know so many people who were kind of through with it after the second or third season.
I love it though! It’s not supposed to be real and it’s not supposed to be something you learn from. I mean there is some hidden innuendo and symbolism going on especially with the religious stuff in the second season which I thought was awesome, but I think overall it is just a great show to watch if you want to escape to a different world. It’s just exciting and I love the characters, I could go on for hours about it.
LM: Your fan base is so rabid! How does it feel to have so many people stick with you and care so much about what you’re doing?
CP: It was always amazing and I always felt like we didn’t deserve it because we weren’t one of those bands to build from the ground up. We were very lucky. I know I’ve been through a lot of rough times when I was younger to get to this point, but as a band we were very fortunate to have made it so far so fast. So I felt like when we would get all those amazing fans who would come up to us crying and saying they loved us and helped save their lives, it took me a while to really grasp how that happened.
For some reason I was always in denial and thought they were just saying that to be nice, but the part that really opened my eyes was when I went on the solo tour back in January/February. People showed up and from the beginning I really thought it was going to be a bust. I thought some hardcore fans would come out and it would be fun, but I didn’t expect the type of emotion of how many people came up to me being so supportive and telling me, “I think you made the right decision. No matter what you do, we love your music and will be there to support you.” From that moment on, I realized I had this core following that I was so strong with and I feel so strong with them supporting me and all around me. It gave me that extra fire for everything I have been doing.
You can pick up Cassadee Pope EP by Cassadee Pope on iTunes now!
Editor in Chief of Lemonade Magazine
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