Cassadee Pope now truly understands the power of television.
The 2012 winner of the third season of The Voice just released her debut solo country album, Frame By Frame, and it debuted impressively at No. 9 in the U.S. and No. 16 in Canada. (On the country charts it was No. 1 and 2, respectively).
After a couple of years of slugging it out with the pop-punk band Hey Monday and opening for the likes of Fall Out Boy, the 24-year-old L.A.-based singer - who co-wrote all 13 tracks of Frame By Frame with writers in Nashville - couldn't be happier.
"I definitely thought (The Voice) was my last big shot," says Pope, who was signed to an imprint of Big Machine Records - home to Taylor Swift - in Nashville after her Voice victory.
"It was definitely make it or lose everything kind of thing ... I've been around the block, as you've said, but I definitely haven't ever had this level of success and I'm seeing it grow and grow in front of my eyes ... I love being able to see all my hard work paying off. It's crazy. I'm able to soak it in and let it all hit my hard. Like it's just unbelievable."
We caught up with Pope, who tours Canada in January and February opening for homegrown country star Dean Brody, during a promo stop in Philadelphia.
Q. How much of a boost was The Voice to your profile?
A. A lot of people, especially my old band's fans didn't think I needed the show and they were like, 'Oh, you're already famous.' And it was such a silly thing to hear because I wasn't and I still don't consider myself famous. ... Right before The Voice I had gone solo from my band and I tried to do it on my own independently with no label or management or anything and it was just not working out and people didn't care.
Q. How much is your Voice coach Blake Shelton still involved in your career?
A. He's been very encouraging. He's proud about the album and he's tweeted about it and he'll text me and I'll text him and just check in so he's very much still a friend. He probably will be for a long time I hope.
Q. Have you met Taylor Swift?
A. I have met her (at the ACMs.) She actually came up to me and said she used to be a fan of my band which awesome. And then we saw each other again at the CMT Awards and we just hung out a little more than night and got to know each other and we get a long really well. ... It's cool. It's fun to be able to talk to her about my journey and kind of get some insight on how she felt when she was going through all the things I'm currently going through. ... I remember having extreme anxiety before my album was coming out and I just asked her if that was normal. And she was like, 'If you're not anxious and you're not nervous, then you don't care enough. So that's a good sign.' So she's been really really great. She's a good friend.
Q. How did the Brody opening slot come about?
A. I just got an offer to open for him and we actually had spoken about collaborating on a song but it didn't work out. But I love his music and it was just a really good chance for me to have some exposure.
Q.I understand you had cameo on the 2009 TV movie Degrassi Goes Hollywood?
A. I played myself alongside along (Fall Out Boy's) Pete Wentz. It was kind of like his clever way of promoting their headliner tour coming up at the time and my band was opening for them ... We were actually shooting that in L.A. I remember they had ketchup chips which I'm love with and I can't find anywhere unless I'm going to Canada. So it's one of my favourite things about Canada.