It’s a new day for Cassadee Pope! The singer is releasing her first acoustic album, Rise and Shine, on August 7, marking in many ways a new chapter for Cassadee, one that she initially didn’t plan on writing until much later.
“I’ve always said I really want to make an acoustic album, but I felt like that was something to be earned for me,” Cassadee told Everything Nash. “I wanted to make it when I had a No. 1 album or when I had a No. 1 at country radio or something like that. This feels like an interim album for me, and it feels like an appropriate time to put it out.”
Rise and Shine, which Cassadee also co-produced, may not have ever happened if not for the impact of COVID-19, which forced Cassadee to make music largely on her own.
“The pandemic was hindering getting in a room with a bunch of musicians and just doing it the good old fashioned way,” Cassadee shared. “That’s really what I want to do my next record. I want it to be more pop-rock and I want to be in the room with everyone, and make it more band-sounding, and I knew that wasn’t safe to do right now. So then, I embraced the idea because I feel like — and this is gonna sound weird at first — but I feel like the world is kind of in an acoustic state right now because of the fact that we don’t have all these things that can distract us, like we usually do.
“We can’t travel as much,” she continued. “We can’t go out and party with friends at a bar and go on the dance floor, shoulder to shoulder and feel safe. We can’t do all those things to distract us from our feelings. So I felt like that’s how an acoustic record is because you’re not distracted by the drums or the bass; you’re really focused on the lyrics and the melody. I thought that was a cool mirror image of where we are in the world right now.”
Cassadee’s longtime boyfriend, actor Sam Palladio, joins her on “California Dreaming,” making the song a stunning standout track on the project.
“He’s got such an amazing voice on his own, but harmonies, he’s just so good at them,” Cassadee boasted. “He has such a beautiful blending voice. We sang together a bunch of times live when he’s playing shows or when I’m playing shows. He loved the song, and I was like, ‘Do you want to sing on the record?’ and he was super into it. I remember the moment he sang the last harmonies on the song, at the very end of the song where he goes up really high. I just remember I had chills all over my body and it was just the coolest moment to witness that, be in control and kind of be producing my boyfriend.
“It was also really cool that the song is a battle,” she remarked. “Someone from my past that really broke my heart and then the man that’s making me so happy and that I’m in love with, is singing harmonies on it. I just think it’s a really cool redemption moment for me.”
Of the eight tracks on Rise and Shine, the one that is still hard for Cassadee to sing is “Built This House,” which she wrote with Forest Glen Whitehead and Kelly Archer, and is one of the most autobiographical tracks she has ever released, maybe painfully so.
“I get emotional singing it, because I really wrote it from a place of gratitude,” Cassadee acknowledged. “I remember going into the session and being like, ‘Guys, I really want to write a song about building my own foundation; tearing the old life I had down, but rebuilding something better for myself, something that made me more happy and something that felt like more me.’ I had such a good time writing that song because it just makes me feel good the whole time, just thinking about the things that I’ve overcome and how my life was before this.
“I felt outside of myself and I didn’t realize it,” she added. “So ‘Built This House’ really means a lot to me. And I thought it was a cool song to end the record on. A lot of the record is looking back, and that’s more of a relevant song to where I feel where I am right now.”
Download, purchase or stream Rise and Shine at CassadeePope.com.