Cassadee Pope is a newer artist on the country music scene, but she's made a big splash. This powerful vocalist – who used to be the lead singer of a rock band and won The Voice in 2012 – is on tour with Chris Young, and was just nominated for her first CMA Award. We caught up with the star on the CMA Awards' Red Carpet to talk about her inspiration, her first number one hit, and her love of Nashville.
You had your first CMA nomination this year for Musical Event with Chris Young. How did that feel?
CP: It’s been incredible. It’s been a really crazy year for me. This was my first number one song, “Think Of You” with Chris Young. When we found out we were nominated, it was just that validation of “We did it!” We’ve been pushing that song nonstop all year, especially being on tour together, so it’s a really nice tip-of-the-hat that we’ve gotten.
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How long have you been working in Nashville?
CP: I’ve been in Nashville for two years full-on, but the first year, three years ago, I was between here and Los Angeles.
What do you love most about the city?
CP: Gosh. The songwriting community is pretty incredible. I’ve honed in on the songwriters that I love working with, and that’s just a really nice thing to accomplish. You’re not just meeting people for the first time and having to pour out your heart to someone you just met. The traffic is not bad compared to L.A., and the food is so good.
What’s the best food you’ve found?
CP: Nashville has killer brunch. Seriously, the best brunch. So, biscuits and gravy is my go-to, and I also love Eggs Benedict. There’s a place called Garden Brunch Café here that is absolutely amazing.
You’ve got an incredible new single “Kisses At Airports.” When you’re writing, where do you pull your inspiration?
CP: I think when you write, you can’t think about it too much. I think being specific is great, but when you’re able to appeal to a wider audience it gives you a chance to get more people to relate to what you’re writing. That’s why I love “Think Of You.” When I first heard it, I knew that I’ve definitely been there, where you’ve broken up with someone or they’ve broken up with you. And you have to figure out how to create your own life again and not make it a weird situation. I think the key is just not to overthink it and write it from personal experience.
How has your tour been so far with Chris Young?
CP: I’ve just loved being able to sing “Think Of You” every night with him. At the beginning of this year, when it first came out, people didn’t really know it. They were kinda singing it, but it wasn’t very popular. Now, we can put our mics out and people sing it for us. That’s an incredible feeling. And I love meeting the fans every night. I go out and sign after the second performances–right before Chris’ set–and it’s really cool. I try to get to as many people as I can, since I don’t want to sign during his set, but it’s just cool to hear the stories of how my music’s helped them. And to meet and see new faces–that’s awesome.
Do you have any weird pre-performance rituals before you go onstage?
CP: So we started playing some funk music on the bus like, a half hour before the show. I brought a videographer out with me last weekend, so I think people are really going to see what happens on the bus before the set. We just dance and act like idiots, which is my favorite part of getting ready for the show.
If you could do a duet with any artist, who would you pick?
CP: Oh my gosh. I would love to do a duet with Patsy Cline. She’s just incredible. I’ve just always loved listening to her songs because it reminds me that it’s okay to be vulnerable and that it’s okay to wear your heart on your sleeve. Because, chances are, a million other people have been there–so, you’re helping somebody out by sharing your story.