Singer-songwriter Cassadee Pope has opted to go the indie route after tasting traditional country music success.
The 2012 winner of the NBC reality competition “The Voice” will perform tracks from a soon-to-be-released indie EP during an upcoming appearance in Atlantic City.
The six-song release is a “passion project” created with a crew that includes her friends and fellow songwriters Emily Shackleton and Kelly Archer, according to Pope, who performs 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, at The Music Box at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.
“I wanted to do it this way, instead of recording and trying to shop it to labels,” Pope says. “There’s no label, no publishing company, no management company. I didn’t have to compromise on anything. It’s from the heart, from paper to recording. It’s a different process than anything I’ve ever experienced.
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“I did it all myself. If it works — great. If it doesn’t, I can only blame myself.”
After winning “The Voice,” Pope initially made a splash on the Nashville music scene.
She scored platinum sales with her debut single, “Wasting All These Years,” becoming the first solo female artist to do so since 2006 and winning a CMT Music Awards Breakthrough Video of the Year award.
In 2013, she also made her No. 1 debut on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart with her first solo album, “Frame by Frame,” released by Mercury Nashville.
More recently, she scored her first No. 1 country radio single with 2016’s “Think of You,” a duet with Chris Young that also garnered nominations for Grammy, ACM and CMA awards.
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But having left her label this year, Pope feels like she’s been able to make music that’s closer to her heart. At Borgata, she plans to perform two of the new tracks — “Take You Home” and “One More Redlight.”
“The feedback I’m getting from everyone is it’s the most authentic of what I’ve done,” Pope says. “The music is a mix of rock, pop and country, but the lyrics and actual songwriting are more country. It’s a good mashup of all my influences.”
Prior to “The Voice,” Pope released several recordings as part of the pop-rock group Hey Monday. The band made its major label album debut with 2008’s “Hold On Tight” (Sony BMG) and released several EPs before going on hiatus in late 2011.
“I grew up singing country music, then got into pop and rock as I got older,” she says. “When I started to sing country on ‘The Voice,’ I felt good doing it. Some people were a little confused — they didn’t know my history in country.
“But it didn’t keep me from following it — that was where my heart was taking me.”
Ironically, Pope’s success following “The Voice” has made it easier for her to step off the label train.
“Instead of taking my time and honing my sound, I wanted to strike when the iron was hot,” Pope says. “It made sense at the time, and I wouldn’t want to do it differently. Now that I have a few accomplishments under my belt, I feel less pressure to come out with something.”
Her latest career moves also dovetail with one of the most important lessons from “The Voice”: Follow your gut.
“I went into it very open-minded,” she says of the reality competition. “I didn’t have a specific genre. I said I’m going to sing songs I love and put my spin on it.”
It helped that her “Voice” coach, country star Blake Shelton, had her back.
“I had his encouragement and his blessing,” she says. “He said, ‘I know you’re doing what’s real to you. Just go for it.’ To have his blessing is all I really needed.”