Few artists can claim the stylistic quantum leap of Cassadee Pope, a Florida songwriter who three years ago was a frost-haired pop-punker fronting Hey Monday and appearing on the Vans Warped Tour.
Under her own name, she recently released the twangy “Frame by Frame” on Republic Nashville, led by a fiddle-and-banjo-embroidered single, “Wasting All These Tears.” This weekend, she opens for country legend Tim McGraw at the Shoreline Amphitheatre.
What happened? These days, a singer needs only look to “The Voice,” says Pope, 24, who timidly entered season three of the popular reality-TV series and won under the tutelage of Blake Shelton in 2012.
Before, her future was looking bleak. She had quit Hey Monday, moved to Los Angeles, and hastily recorded a self-titled mainstream rock EP.
“Then I tried to do this little acoustic tour, but not a lot of people came out,” she says. “And at that point, no label was looking at me, no management was interested, and I was panicking, like ‘Did I make the right decision to leave the band?’”
That’s when Hey Monday’s ex-manager relayed an offer he had received. Would she be interested in doing a private audition for “The Voice”? It wasn’t so unusual — other alternative acts, like Automatic Love Letter’s Juliet Simms and Meg & Dia’s Dia Frampton, had done it.
“So I thought, ‘Why not?’ I kind of looked at it like it was an easy route to take,” she says, now admitting she was wrong. “It is so hard, so trying on your emotions, and mentally you just get overwhelmed. I’m grateful, and happy I did it, but it was the hardest experience I’ve ever had to go through in life.”
Pope was dumbfounded when all four coaches spun around in their chairs during her audition, signaling their interest in working with her. She grew up crooning country, and she also had visited Nashville on a songwriting sojourns, so Shelton was an obvious choice.
“He was the best fit for me,” says the smoky-throated chanteuse, who eventually duetted with him on “Steve McQueen.” “Because he just loves letting the artist be creative and letting their visions come to life.”
At first, Pope — whose hair is long and auburn now — was worried she would have to defend her Music Row skeptics. But winning “The Voice” taught her a few things. “Like just to rely on my singing and let the music speak for itself,” she says. “Because people will understand once they hear ‘Frame by Frame,’ they’ll realize that this is authentic.”
IF YOU GO
With Kip Moore, Cassadee Pope
Where: Shoreline Amhitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $29.75 to $89.45
Contact: (650) 962-1000, www.livenation.com