While the prizes for winning The Voice had been publicly known to be $100,000 and a deal with Universal Republic, the real surprise is Cassadee’s signing with a country label (formed as a partnership between Universal Republic and Big Machine, Republic Nashville is home to The Band Perry, Eli Young Band, and Martina McBride, among others).
Before Cassadee’s journey on The Voice, however, she already had a taste of fame while touring the nation, not as a country artist, but with her pop-punk band Hey Monday.
The band formed in 2008, and their music showed influences from groups like Blink 182 and Fall Out Boy. Cassadee’s punk-ish appearance during her Hey Monday years included two-toned hair and skinny jeans. She’s consistently been surrounded by all things punk since her start in music; in fact, she’s currently dating Rian Dawson, drummer for punk band All Time Low.
So Cassadee’s quick move to country and her signing with Republic Nashville–after performing a handful of heartfelt country covers on The Voice–is interesting. While she’s never publicly admitted to being an avid country fan, her Voice coach Blake Shelton felt the story and emotion behind country lyrics would fit the her the best.
While on the show, Cassadee covered Keith Urban‘s “Stupid Boy”, Rascal Flatts‘ “Stand,” and the awe-inspiring “Over You” by Miranda Lambert. The latter skyrocketed her to Number One on the all-genre charts on iTunes just after the episode aired.
But is her journey to country music going to exile her already solid fan base? Her fans have been taking to Twitter to express their thoughts on Cassadee’s sudden country move.
— Melina (@LilAngel487) January 17, 2013
Cassadee pope signed to a country label…. Oh
— Jessica Goyette (@JessG152) January 17, 2013
@cassadeepope From pop rock/pop punk to country?!?! Weird & cool. Would love to hear a mix of everything you’ve done. That’s be rad!
— Brian Iwabuchi (@brianiwabuchi) January 17, 2013
While the move has the ability to skyrocket her career, how will this new country direction mesh with her pop/rock roots?
Casadee, for her part, doesn’t appear too worried about it.
“I used to sing country; that was my genre when I was a kid,” she told Entertainment Weekly after her Voice win. So, she says, “I’m really serious about incorporating some country elements into my sound. I’m not trying to claim I’m a country singer, but I do love country music.”
She also mentioned that her former mentor Blake Shelton may be involved. “I think he’s the best person to help me [incorporate country music] tastefully.”
Overall, she says, she’s aiming for “an edgier Taylor Swift” sort of sound — “not as country, with more mature lyrics and more challenging vocals and melodies.”
“The sound I love, the pop rock sound like Michelle Branch and Avril Lavigne — that could be on country radio now.”
Cassadee also said she hopes to have a new single out this month.
-Jodi Phillips, The New 103.7/Charlotte