Cassadee Pope has enjoyed hit records and a chart-topping album, but admits that there’s nothing like getting the news of your first number one on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, as she did recently with “Think of You,” her duet with Chris Young.
Pope recalls being at Austin’s iHeartCountry Festival when she was when she was notified of her accomplishment. “I was there to sing with Chris. I remember he wouldn’t let me celebrate until it was official,” she says. “The whole week before, everyone was congratulating me, and he said ‘Nope. I’m superstitious. Anything can happen. Everybody needs to calm down and wait.’ Once it was official, we took a shot, celebrated, and it was awesome.”
Is Pope — who has charted in the past with singles such as “Wasting All These Tears” and “I Wish I Could Break Your Heart” a chart watcher?
“I think I am a little bit,” she confesses. “I wouldn’t say I’m as religious about it as Chris is. He’s kind of a freak when it comes to looking at the points and seeing where things will go. I watch it day by day. I do watch it that closely, but I think it’s a little more exciting to wait and see how it all pans out.”
Fresh off of the success of the Young duet, Pope is releasing a new four-song EP entitled Summer on June 3. The title cut is also the first single. What does the season mean to her?
“I think it’s just having fun with the people you love, and not sweating the small stuff. I remember that on summers growing up, I was either in Florida with friends and hanging out with my main crush, or feeling the rush of being able to do whatever you wanted to do,” she says. “It’s just the best feeling in the world. I think it’s just the feeling of freedom and being able to enjoy yourself with no timeline.”
When filming the music video for “Summer,” Pope says she got to remain in her native Sunshine State, though she did get to travel a bit.
“I went to Clearwater Beach, Florida, which was absolutely beautiful. I never got to venture that far on the west coast of the state. It was an all-day shoot, well into the night. We tried to make it look like it was a look at a relationship over a two-month period of time, which is really hard to do in one day. It was very fast-paced, going from location to location. It’s a bold video, a different side of me that people have never seen before. I pushed the boundaries a little bit,” she says candidly.
What will fans hear in the new material? Pope feels that she took her music to another level. “I think there’s a certain level of confidence that they will hear in these songs. On the last album, I was fresh off of The Voice, and it was kind of a whirlwind. I didn’t have a second to take a breath and think about the message of what I wanted to say in my songs. This time out, I had a lot of time to do that, and to try to figure what I wanted to say to people to empower them, and let them know they’re not alone. I think that every song on this EP tells my story in different ways,” the singer says.
The highlight of Summer is the tender “Kisses at Airports.” The song is the only cut of the four on the EP that she didn’t write. However, once she heard the song, it was a no-brainer.
“I cried when I first heard it. It was a very moving experience,” she recalls. “I felt really close to it, because I spend most of my life in airports, and say a lot of goodbyes there. I felt this very deep connection with it. I also feel very strongly about tipping my hat to the men and women who serve our country, so when that second verse comes in, it stopped me in our tracks. I knew I had to have it.”
Pope says she’s ready to get the new music out, and thinks her fans are ready, as well. “I feel like they have been ready, and I’ve been performing ‘Summer’ and ‘Alien’ at every show for about a year now. So, I’ve given my hardcore fans a little glimpse of what this EP is going to sound like. For everybody else, I think it will be a fresh re-introduction back into the country world. I took some time to figure it all out, and to get all my ducks in a row, to figure out what I wanted to say to my fans, and ‘Think of You’ really allowed me to use this momentum to release this body of work that is so dear to me.”