It’s not easy for anyone to be subjected to the quarantine and social distancing yet Cassadee Pope found a way to thrive during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic as she turned inward and focused on her career. By doing so, Cassadee Pope made an album that she's always wanted to do, while scrapping plans to record the traditional way. Along the way Cassadee crafted Rise And Shine, her first acoustic record. We recently got time to chat with Cassadee about the album via a Zoom call. Below is an edited transcript of some parts of that conversation.
Matt Bjorke: How has your artistry grown though your career to where you are now?
Cassadee Pope: Becoming independent and separating myself from other people’s reasons for why the music isn’t going to work, stripping their devil’s advocate approach and stripping that away has been empowering and has streamlined my writing process where I’ve thought less about what country radio would play and more on what is authentic to me and what songs resonate with me. IF anything it’s the trust in myself and the music reflects that.
Matt: What’s amazing is how your song “Hoodie” actually feels like it could really work at radio and if you try to write for radio it rarely actually works…
Cassadee: Yeah, it feels like whenever I try to do that or whenever I chase that, it doesn’t really work. It really is fear based writing in a way, because you “can’t say that” and it’s uninspiring to write from that place but a lot of songs on that record are really reflective and there’s a lot of time to think of reflection these days.
Matt: How has the pandemic reflected the album project? was it started before Quarantine or done during it?
Cassadee: It was actually recorded completely in quarantine. I was gonna go in the studio in April and do a full band record but now I thought, oh those songs don’t feel right now. So the silver lining of this whole thing has created this record. So I thought an acoustic record would be safe for us, and not around a lot of musicians and people for sourest on end and this kind of album reflects the time we are in, a mirror image of the world we’re in. I feel like an acoustic record is that too, it doesn’t distract you with all of the stuff that takes away the focus on the core of the lyrics and melody. I’ve always wanted to do an acoustic record it just never felt like the right time till now.
Matt: Did you work together in person much with your producer?
Cassadee: It was a somewhat weird process in that we weren’t in person much. We were together in person for only two days on this record, to do records. Pre-production was all done on face time and we’re realizing all of the unnecessary steps and time we take to make and promote the records and we’re removing the stuff that we don’t always like about it. It was a cool process and really fun.
Matt: Do you think that after the Pandemic that maybe the process of writing songs and other meetings and such may perhaps completely change because of it? Like you’ll be able to be on a vacation or away and just take an hour or two to do something…
Cassadee: Yeah, I actually spent some time in Pennsylvania, a little town called Vandergrift. It’s rural, small town and so pretty so Sam and I were like “lets get away, it’s not that far of a drive” and I had a few press things so I brought my ring light and slipped away upstairs for a couple of hours and did them. So after this is all passed, I hope that the flexibility that this has all bought us will continue so maybe we don’t have to be tied down to fly to New York to wake up at 4 am to do a TV spot. I’ve never been more rested for an album release and it’s been great!
Matt: I think I actually heard you during one of those press spots on SiriusXM’s “Feedback” show!
Cassadee: Oh yeah, that was fun!
Matt: What was it like for you to have Sam (Palladio) record with you on this record?
Cassadee: It was awesome. He’s always loved this song “California Dreaming,” and it’s about somebody from my past who hurt me and broke my heart and it was really cool to have the man that’s making me so happy and that I’m in love with singing harmonies on a song that’s about someone from my past. It’s a big redemption moment and it’s a sad song and about not being able to shake someone but there’s a little underlying hope to it because my boyfriend’s singing on it. And I just love his voice and I love singing with him and he blends so well.
Matt: So you’re saying he’s a natural harmony singer…
Cassadee: Yeah. And on our trip to Pennsylvania there was a lot of that…
Matt: I naturally like to sing harmony parts and sometimes I have to remember that not everyone can do harmonies like that…
Cassadee: Yeah, I sometimes do that, even on songs that don’t even need it, I know they all don’t need them but I feel sometimes that it’s fun to create some in those spaces.
Matt: What’s one thing you’d really like to do after the quarantine period is over?
I’d really love to go to my boyfriend’s hometown in England. We’ve been watching the quarantine requirements and it’s still a 14 day quarantine. He’s got music he’s starting to work on and I have this album and there’s a big time commitment to go over there now so hopefully when things get a little safer to travel, that’s the first thing we’ll do because he misses his family and I love his hometown and it’s on the coast, a town called Cornwall and is magical to me.
You can buy Rise and Shine at all digital service providers or even some special bundles at Cassadee's own website or you can also steam the album at iTunes, Spotify or your other favorite streamer.