"Thankfully I had Corey Crowder in my corner the whole time," she tells Billboard from her producer's studio in Nashville. "The silver lining was I still have music and I still can create and record with him. We've already had a rapport so I took the experiences that I was going through and brought it into the studio and started cutting songs during that time."
When Pope found herself with a solid group of songs she began hiring a team, eventually deciding to release the music herself. "Take You Home" is a preview of her new music and has Pope boldly singing of wanting to take a man home to show him where she's from. "Take You Home" was written by Ben Hayslip, Emily Weisband, and Paul DiGiovanni, and Pope knew upon first hearing it that she wanted the song for herself.
"Being single for the first time in eight years, I definitely felt those feelings when you meet somebody for the first time and you're like, 'I want to show you where I come from and I want to take you home but not in that fleeting way. I want to take you to my hometown and show you what shaped me,'" she explains.
The song blends pop and rock elements with hand-clapped rhythms, slick production and soaring guitar parts that support Pope's memorable vocals. It's the descriptive lyrics, though, that Pope says feel distinctly country.
"I've always gravitated towards catchy melodic songs. I love the melody in that song and I love how the first verse dips down and makes you pay attention," she explains. "Something that I thought about too was, 'What do I want people to hear first after a few years of being off the grid?' I had 'Think of You,' which I'm so grateful for, but as in my own music I haven't had anything in a while. This is what I want to reintroduce myself as. It's confident, it's sexy. I feel like I am in that place and I feel like that's what people are going to get from that song."
Country fans last heard Pope on the radio in 2016 singing a duet on Chris Young's Grammy nominated No. 1 hit "Think of You" and it was during this collaboration that she first worked with Crowder. While she has no release date in mind for her upcoming project, Pope says there are several additional songs she's hoping to unveil later this year.
At a recent performance at Nashville's Bluebird Cafe, Pope played another new track called "Don't Ask Me." The powerful ballad had her singing of running into an ex following a breakup. Inspired by real life, she says she penned the song when she was going through a breakup of her own. An honest and vulnerable song, she sings, "I don't know if I can bring myself to wish you well." It's this line that Pope says still strikes her when singing the song.
"That's something that nobody ever wants to admit. You want to always say, 'I wish him well or I wish her well and I hope they're happy,'" she says, discussing the aftermath of a relationship. "I am in that place now thankfully but when you're in that moment, you don't want to see them doing well and moving on and being okay because you're not okay and you don't feel good and you're sad. I think that's a very raw emotion and it's not pretty and it's not something that I would love to admit I felt, but I put it in the song anyway and that's what people can hear in these new songs. There's this unapologetic, raw emotion in all of them."
During Pope's upcoming appearance on The Voice, the singer will bestow this newfound confidence onto the hopeful contestants. She says her time on the show made her realize the importance of trusting your gut. This is one lesson she's carried over into her own career.
"If you feel like you should be doing this song, then you should do it. There's a reason that your instinct is telling you that. Or, if you feel that you shouldn't be doing a song, pick another one. One of the things I said a lot during filming was keep your nerves in check," she explains. "I feel like I didn't sing to my fullest potential on The Voice because I was so nervous and my throat closed up and I was shaky. So, just take a deep breath and know there's a life after this show."