In 2010, I featured Hey Monday in a “…Should be More Famous” post. Fast forward a couple years, and the band’s lead singer, Cassadee Pope, just won The Voice. I’m a sucker for music competition shows, but the previous two seasons of The Voice didn’t possess a single competitor who had star quality. Cassadee does. Now, let’s hope they don’t screw it up.
During her stint on the show, three of Cassadee’s cover songs hit #1 on iTunes. All three of them were country tunes. With the success of those singles and Blake Shelton as her mentor, there’s undoubtedly going to be some push for her to go country. But, Cassadee’s not a country artist. Given her history with Hey Monday and (apparently unconditional) love of Avril Lavigne, it’s pretty clear her heart lies in pop/rock. And let’s face it–Blake’s legion of fans were probably the ones more apt to download “Over You” as opposed to “Not Over You.” Having her record a country album would be like Carrie Underwood releasing a rock record based on the popularity of her Idol performance of “Alone.” Even with Blake’s blessing, it would probably be an uphill battle for Cassadee on country radio. First and foremost, she’s a female. She also has tattoos and used to front a pop/rock band. Cue the shock and horror. All the country starpower in the world won’t change the minds of country radio’s staunchy PDs. But, I digress and will save that rant for another post.
Although it wouldn’t be in her best interest to release a full on country album, that doesn’t mean country songwriters shouldn’t be commissioned to work on her debut. In fact, they absolutely should. Above all, it’s Cassadee interpretation of the lyrics that sold those songs. Something like an updated version of her cover of Faith Hill’s “Cry” would work–and based on what I’ve heard Cassadee tell the press, that’s exactly what she’s looking for. Songs with solid stories can be backed by instruments besides fiddle, banjo or steel guitar. It’s also a given that Blake will appear on her debut album and a duet in the vein of “Just a Fool,” would be just as perfect for him and Cassadee as it was for him and Christina. Pairing well-written songs with Cassadee’s signature sound would be an appealing compromise for both the pop/rock and country fans she’s attracted throughout the course of her career and the show.
When it all comes down to it, Cassadee just needs a great song–and quick. On one hand, there’s nothing worse than a rushed album with lackluster singles and a bunch of filler; I’m not saying her album has to be out in a month (even though Cassadee is apparently ready to release something as soon as January). But, they need to, at the very least, release the lead single during the spring season of The Voice. If the previous winner doesn’t have any original material out before the next cycle’s champion, then they run the risk of quickly being forgotten. The album doesn’t have to be her “Breakaway,” just her “Thankful.” She can try on some different sounds and genres, but the first single has to be great. I understand why talent show winners, like The Voice’s very own Jermaine Paul or The X Factor’s Melanie Amaro, didn’t get good material to release. Their success was confined to the few months within the show and they never really had a shot on mainstream relevancy. Cassadee does. Based on what I’ve heard, it seems like Cassadee has a clear, and ambitious, sense of what she needs to do and when she needs to do it by. I hope that once more people (i.e. the label) start getting involved in the project, it doesn’t stray off course. In fact, I hope she’s writing a hit song with her roommate, Alli Tamposi, of “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” as I’m posting this…