Cassadee Pope Admits She Had A ‘Hard Time’ Letting Go Of Country Music As She Returns To Pop-Punk (Exclusive)

In an exclusive interview with HL, Cassadee Pope opens up about returning to her pop-punk roots, why her new single was the perfect introduction and more.

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Cassadee Pope is back with a new music video (below) for her latest song, “People That I Love Leave,” which shows the singer returning to her pop-punk roots after more than 10 years in the country music scene. The song follows Cassadee’s 2021 album, Thrive, which was a “fusion” of country and alternative. “I was still grasping that country career that I had built for myself. I had a hard time putting that to bed,” Cassadee told HollywoodLife in an EXCLUSIVE interview. “It felt like a security blanket in a way, even though I wasn’t really listening to country music anymore and wasn’t really inspired by it anymore.”

The decision to release full-on pop-punk music again was gradual. However, Cassadee recalled a specific moment where she was writing with her longtime friend, Ali Tamposi, in Los Angeles, and came to the realization that this was what she wanted to be doing. “It was a really honest conversation with her about how I’m feeling, how country music isn’t really inspiring me, how I’m terrified to leave it and go this new route,” Cassadee explained. “She was like, ‘It’s not new. You’ve been in it, you’ve done it.’ That was a really important conversation to jumpstart the transition.”

Cassadee and Ali were working on a different song at the time, but “People That I Love Leave” became the track that she chose to use to reintroduce herself. “I wanted to start with something uptempo, for sure, but I also wanted to start with a song that felt, in a way, digestible from what I’ve been doing to where I’m headed,” Cassadee shared. “I wanted to start with almost a bridge song that felt like a new genre, but didn’t feel too alienating to people that have followed me. It felt like a really nice way to keep all the fans engaged, and I’ll probably take them a bit further with the next song, whenever that’s going to come out.”

The music video for “People That I Love Leave” dropped on May 17, and Cassadee opened up about the concept in our interview. “I really wanted a revolving door of boyfriends, where we see the progression. In the beginning of the song, I’m telling them how I feel and telling them I’ve been burned before and [I’m worried] they’re just going to leave me,” she explained. “You see them kind of progress from being empathetic and entertaining me in a way, and then progressively, through the song, you see them start shifting away from me. We wanted to illustrate the ‘pushing the guy away’ thing. It’s illustrating that with the guys’ body language.”

Watch the full interview above and see more excerpts below!

cassadee pope
Cassadee Pope in a photo shoot for new music. ( Austin McMaines)

On what’s coming next: I have a feature on “People That I Love Leave” that I haven’t announced yet that’s going to come out soon that I’m really excited about who’s on it. My whole team has a DropBox link of, like, 12 songs that I keep adding to and keep swapping out songs for new mixes. I’m working towards a record that sounds amazing so far. It’s just been a really creative time for me. The plan is to release some new songs through the end of the year and put a tour together for beginning of next year, and hopefully have the record out with the tour.

On what’s inspiring the new music: Definitely personal life experience, but I’ve also been having a lot of fun kind of expanding beyond that and writing songs that a TV show or movie. There’s this show called Normal People that I watched last year that inspired a song. I’m just trying to get a bit more creative of where I draw inspiration from. While I’ve lived a lot of life, I definitely feel like I’ve held tight to only singing songs where every lyric was something I’ve been through, and that can be limiting for me as a songwriter.

On the continued influence of country music in her songwriting: Something that country has helped me with is telling a story in a song and keeping the listener engaged and understanding what you’re talking about. I love pop-punk and I loved bands that had these really obscure lyrics where, half the time, I didn’t know what they were talking about. But as a songwriter, I’ve always gravitated towards conversational lyrics. That’s something country music does so well.

On a possible Hey Monday reunion: I’ve been working with Alex Lipshaw — my guitar player from Hey Monday — on some of the new stuff. He’s actually produced a couple songs for me, so it’s really cool getting to work with him in this different way. It’s so fun and inspiring. I wouldn’t be opposed to Hey Monday playing a show here and there, but a full reunion with a tour and new music isn’t really something I’m super interested in. I’m so busy and immersed in this solo career. So I’d be up for a sprinkling of a show here and there. We’re definitely down to do that, for sure.