As Spring turns to Summer, apologies to all my Chinese readers if the Government blocks this article due to this phrase, it is a time to reflect on and admire the one’s we love. This week I get musical with the woman who stole my heart in the Fall of 2012, Cassadee Pope. The well-informed amongst us will remember Pope from her Skater Pop Punk Rock, Avril Lavigne inspired, band Hey Monday.
It was a fun, but forgettable band, that had the misfortune of coming along at the wrong time. The Pop Rock phase had really died out. The popularity of Fall Out Boy, Lavigne, and New Found Glory were waning. The decline in popularity of the genre made it impossible for new bands to break into a dwindling market. Pope’s dreams were dashed for the time being, but luckily for her and the millions like me whom would fall in love with her, she found redemption on a tiny little music competition show called, The Voice.
Pope tore on to the scene, do I even need to say pun intended at this point, with a rendition of Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn. Pope and I share similar musical taste.Perhaps it is because we are the same age, grew up in similar socioeconomic towns – her West Palm Beach, FL and I Winnetka, IL – which led us to be influenced by the same artists growing up. I love the Pop Rock chick side of her, but she was wise enough to know that was not going to make her the star she deserves to be. She made the wise move of choosing Blake Shelton as her Coach and tapping into her Hillbilly Bone Bon Bon Bone. The result turned out to be electric, but while Pope cruised through the early rounds of the competition it was not till November 19, 2012 that she became a contender to win it all. I remember it well, the Niners had just crushed the Bears on Monday Night Football. I was down in the dumps, desperately needed something to raise my spirits and then Cassadee Pope did this…
Game. Set. Match. Forget The Voice, Pope won my heart that night. It was a beautiful song and even better moment that provide the lift I needed to forget about Colin Kapernick running wild on the Bears. Pope had found a way to infuse her Pop Rock beginnings into Country to result in something magical. She had all the abilities to become the new Michelle Branch, which by my standards is the highest honor I can bestow on someone. Sure enough, the week after setting the internet ablaze Pope chose to perform a song from the library of the Holy One herself. Was I happy now? You bet your ass.
Pope became the dominant front runner for the rest of the competition and never let up under the pressure. She went on to win the entire thing sealing back-to-back victories for Team Blake. It was a star making turn for The Voice that had yet to produce one in its first two seasons. Pope has it all, the voice, the looks, lyrical ability, likable personality, and determined attitude. She is everything that you would want a star singer to be and the world is lucky to have her.
Since winning The Voice, her career has not taken the rocket launch path I assumed it would. Her re-branded debut album sold 170,000 copies, certainly a disappointment in many regards. Her debut single, “Wasting All These Tears,” did go platinum, but it wasn’t quintessential Pope. Even her staunchest of supporters have to feel a little disheartened, but love means staying committed and I absolutely still am. Her second single is more in the mold of something I was expecting from her.
Cassadee Pope may never be truly accepted as a Country singer because of her Punk Pop Rock roots. And she may never be welcomed back in the Punk Pop Rock genre because she went Country. But genres are fucking stupid and I do not need them to proclaim my love for her. I do not need Pope to define her music, but rather herself. As long as she is happy, then I am too. Just be you, Cassadee, because it is a talented, beautiful, intelligent, fun, and interesting person that the world is lucky to know.