By Steve Baltin
Cassadee Pope is in Napa, California when we jump on the phone for a Sunday afternoon conversation. "We’re about to go on a wine tour. It’s a little bit of work, a little bit of pleasure." Pope says happily.
Pope has just played an acoustic set at a winery after flying in that morning from L.A. The day before she had done a Greyland photo shoot in Temecula, California. And earlier that week she had come in from Paris.
We joke there is a constant thread running through her travels that week, namely wine. "I didn’t really mean to just continually drink wine," she says. "I’m not fighting it, I’m letting it happen, and it’s great, it’s very nice."
The wine conversation does lead to her other passions, namely that she wants to one day work in fashion. Musicians in 2018 aren't just musical artists. Whether it's Rihanna with her Fenty fashion line and perfume, Brandon Boyd who paints, ASAP Rocky, who became the creative director at MTV and his fashion line, or Steve Aoki, who is launching his pizza delivery line, every artist has an outside passion or business or both.
Greyland is the place where those come together, as you'll read here with Pope, who shares her love for wine, fashion and most importantly, music.
Greyland: You just did a photo shoot with us at Greyland, yesterday, correct?
Pope: I got up this morning and flew from San Diego to Sacramento. So I landed and came straight to the vineyard, about 30 minutes later. It was a quick turnaround.
Greyland: So it’s been a busy 24 hours for you, involving a lot of wineries. You’ll have to do a taste test comparison. Did you taste the wines in Temecula too, or was that just a photo shoot?
Pope: No, I wish, I actually flew in from Paris. We flew in from Paris the night before yesterday, flew in to LA, stayed with some friends and we drove from LA to Temecula, so we didn’t really have much time to do the wine tour thing, but I did do a wine tour there a few years ago and it was fantastic, I got to at least experience it once before.
Greyland: Songs change when you play them live, they change for you and the audience. So when you do a set, talk about how much fun it is to do these songs and talk about how they’ve changed for you.
Pope: Yeah it is fun! It’s basically playing the songs the way they were written so a lot of the time when I write it starts acoustic or on piano and its bare bones and it is really fun to see it all come to life. There’ve been a few instances where I’ve played a song before it was released and people can hear the beginning stages of the song but for the most part I usually wait until the song has been released until I play it. I do get kind of “I don’t want them to be disappointed when they hear the final product” because they were expecting one thing and I gave them something else. It’s been cool to play some acoustic sets and get in front of country radio and get in front of songwriters. Sometimes I don’t play singles, I play songs that I just love to perform and songs that I know will never be released but I just like the story and the song itself. The acoustic sets are a fun change of pace.
Greyland: Is there a timeline for new music coming out?
Pope: There’s definitely an album coming out, we’re looking at probably the beginning of next year. I’m about to do the photo shoot for it, it’s almost finished. I’m really excited.
Greyland: It’s always interesting to do this when you’re still finishing an album because live and the studio are such different mindsets. Is it hard to alternate between those two mindsets or do you jump back and forth pretty easily?
Pope: In the moment it’s a little difficult for me. I’m not one of those artists that goes on the road and writes at the same time. I definitely do have to get into a mindset that I’m about to cut a record now, this is the frame of mind I’m in right now. Then when I’m on the road, I love traveling, I love exploring the places I’m in so I don’t love the thought of being on my bus and writing a song all day when I could be exploring awesome, random places I’m traveling to. So it is a little funny right now to be going between, but for the most part I’m done writing it.
Greyland: As a fan, what would be the ideal wine drinking song for you?
Pope: I think any John Mayer song is a great wine drinking song. I think he’s just got that sexy, laid back vibe, so I would drink some wine to him. There's this band the Paper Kites, that has this album that’s laid back. Billy Joel. That’s a good wine drinking artist.
Greyland: It is really funny because, In all seriousness, it’s a fascinating time, and this is where Greyland stuff comes in as well. I was joking about all the wine stuff, but it is interesting. Are there any other passions of yours that you would like to explore? What I find from talking to artists is that they all influence each other, so if you’re a musical artist and you paint or design clothes that inspires you in your music as well.
Pope: Totally. If I had to pick any other avenue it would definitely be fashion. Eventually down the road, when I’ve got more time to spare, I’d love to start a fashion line with my mom. She went to fashion school. She’s great at sewing and creating and she’s got a very great eye. We’ve talked about opening a little boutique and creating things we’ve envisioned for stage. I do love wine so having my own wine brand would be cool. I love music so it’s my first and foremost passion, but creating a brand and giving it longevity and someday when I’m 80 and not able to tour the world anymore, I can at least have these other avenues and pass them down to my kids and have a bigger legacy.
Greyland: Who are the artists you really admire for the way they mix music with their other passions?
Greyland: I think Madonna does it really well with her clothing line Material Girl. Avril Lavigne has done that really well. I know Jessica Simpson created a huge brand that's great and I love a lot of her stuff. You mentioned Jimmy Buffet. Kenny Chesney, those are great examples of people that kind of expand, and anybody that's a fan of their music is more inclined to check out something else they put out. I think they’re really smart with that.
Greyland: We’ll wrap up on the new music. For you, as you start to play this material is there one song you’re really most excited to play live? One or two songs from this new album?
Pope: All of them are who I am, it’s all me. I’m making every decision, I’m making decisions on the image, the pictures, the video, the content. I have my hand in all of it. As far as songs I’m excited about, there's one that I’ve been actually playing live. We’ve done it the same as the record so it’s a really good representation of what's to come. It’s called “If My Heart Had a Heart." It’s a song I heard last year that my friends wrote and pitched to me and it reminded me of a very difficult time I went through last year, it has a very personal lyric so I’m really, really excited for people to hear that one.
Greyland: What do you want people to take from this new record?
Pope: The new project is probably the most authentic version fans are going to get of me. It’s been such a crazy winding road the last year and a half that led me to this very awakened and transformed place. I’m really excited to tell the story of what's going on and how I’ve changed and all the different experiences that led me here. It’s been really fun to go out and play some of these songs that have been released and “If My Heart Had a Heart,” which hasn’t been released and just start telling the story. I’m very excited to release the record next year!