Cassadee Pope sounds right at home on her new song "What the Stars See," a relatable lyric about wondering what an ex is doing after a breakup laid over pop-punk production that allows Pope's voice to soar, blending the Florida native's two major influences into a style that's all her own. Before winning The Voice in 2012, Pope was the lead vocalist of the rock group Hey Monday, with whom she released two albums and three EPs.
"I just feel like there's a whole lane open in country music that I can fill authentically that's just who I am," she told PopCulture.com, sharing that she wrote "What the Stars See" with Jake Rose and Lindsay Rimes during her first-ever Zoom writing session at the beginning of quarantine. "The night before, I was just sitting on our deck at our house, and it was a very starry night and I just looked up and was like, 'Man, the stars have a great perspective,'" she reflected. "And going through a breakup, I wonder how awesome it would have been to be a star and see what those guys were doing in their most private moments and were they crying over me or over me already. And so that's kind of where the idea came from."
Pope noted that the song doesn't have to have a romantic connotation and can be about anyone in your life with who you're no longer close with. "It could be about anybody, honestly, a friend who you don't talk to anymore, or a family member," she said. "And just going from knowing about everything they're doing all the time to not knowing anything is just such a bizarre jolt of a change. I definitely figured many people have been there before."
The Voice winner is joined on the track by Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild, who sings a verse and harmonies, and Lindsay Ell, who adds her guitar skills to the production. Fairchild has been working with Pope on her upcoming album, and when she and Pope listened to the song in the studio alongside fellow producer Nick Wheeler, Fairchild immediately offered to lend her voice.
"We were listening through the songs when we got to 'What the Stars See,'" Pope recalled. "And she was like, 'I hear this being a collaboration. I think this can be a cool girl power moment.' She's like, "I could sing on it." And I was like, 'Yes. Um, yes. Say nothing else, yes.'"
"And then the song itself is just such a rock guitar-heavy song that I just wanted Lindsay a part of it," she continued. "She's one of my best friends, but she's also one of the best guitar players I've ever seen. So I was so excited that she said yes too. It's a cool song for women to sing together because it's just a very vulnerable lyric with a really bad a— kind of pop-rock track behind it. So I just love that it's a girl power moment."
"What the Stars See" is the first taste of music from Pope's upcoming project, which will combine the singer's pop-punk roots with the country storytelling she loves. "There's definitely going to be more songs coming that sounds even more pop-punk," she shared. "And then there's songs that lean a little bit more country, but there's always that element of pop-punk that hasn't been there in my solo music so far. So I'm just excited to keep on giving the fans that kind of vibe."