Cassadee Pope Dishes On The Voice, Her Latest Album, And Her Pet Project - Exclusive Interview

Longtime fans know Cassadee Pope for her warm, powerful voice — first as lead singer of the punk-pop band "Hey Monday" and later as a contestant on (and eventual winner of) "The Voice." On the singing competition, she pivoted from punk to country, guided by her coach, Blake Shelton. Already an experienced performer by time she started with the show, she thrived by switching up her style and performing with artists she'd long admired from afar. And since her time on "The Voice," Pope has continued to push herself musically. Her latest album, "Thrive," features a unique hybrid of country and punk-pop influences — a style her fans have dubbed "y'alternative."

Pope's fans also know that when she's not recording or touring, she decompresses by spending quality time with her French bulldog, Cuppy, who regularly accompanies her on her travels. (Dog lovers can follow his adventures on his Instagram page.) A serious animal lover, Pope regularly does charity work for the Nashville Humane Association and other animal rescue groups — and her latest advocacy project, in partnership with Mars Petcare, is Better Cities for Pets, an initiative that combines her love of dogs and travel. In this exclusive interview, Pope shares her favorite memories from "The Voice," the details on her latest album, and tips for fellow pet owners.

Competing on The Voice brought some memorable highs — and serious stress

First of all, when you were on "The Voice," what was the most memorable moment for you beside winning?

Oh my gosh. There's so many moments that I actually ... I remember and then I actually, I forget that they happened at the same time. There were so many. I got to sing with Avril Lavigne, who is a hero of mine. I've always loved Avril. I got to sing with The Killers for one of their performances as a guest. I got to sing with Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton, so I think my favorite moments were when I actually got to collaborate with the artists that I'm inspired by.

Oh, how cool! Do you still watch "The Voice"? What's it like watching it knowing what you do now as an insider?

I do watch it. I do have to take breaks because I do know the anxiety and the stress all of these artists are feeling in these situations. So sometimes I, if it's a very high-stakes situation, it's really nerve-racking for me. I might have to just walk away for a minute and then come back because I just, I know what they're going through and it's so hard.

Are you still in touch with Blake Shelton?

I am. Yeah. He actually hosted my album release party a few years ago back in his bar, Ole Red, here in Nashville, which was really sweet, and he's just always been super supportive and encouraging ever since the show, so he's awesome.

Would you ever want to work with him again on any musical project?

I never toured with him, but it would be really fun to get on the road with him. And also just, he's got such a great voice. I'm always blown away by his pitch. His pitch is so perfect. So getting to sing with him live would be super fun.

Would you ever want to do another musical competition show? Would you want to judge or coach or anything like that?

I would definitely do it on that side of things. It's funny. I think I have stress dreams of going back to "The Voice" and having the all-star "Voice" competition of all the winners competing against each other, which sounds like a nightmare for me. So I would definitely go back as a coach. I did get to consult, be a consultant on Kelly Clarkson's team a few years ago, which was really cool. So going back and doing something like that would be awesome.

Here's how Cassadee Pope came up with the country-punk sound of Thrive

So you've got a new album out now, "Thrive." Tell me about your inspiration for it.

I really had nothing but time last year, so I really sat and thought about where I wanted to go with this next project and what kind of direction would I want to go in. And I was really grateful for the time to sit and think about that and think about what could I do that's different but authentic to me. And I landed on really incorporating country and pop punk into the same realm. I don't hear that very often, and that's who I am.

I grew up singing country music and have been in a band in the past and toured the world doing pop-punk music. So I felt that this was a very authentic thing for me to do, especially at this point in time in my life where I just feel like following my heart and seeing where it lands. And so far it's been really cool. The fans have coined it as "y'alternative" as the genre. So I think that's pretty perfect and it seems to be resonating with people, so I'm really proud of it.

That sounds like fun. Do you have a favorite song on "Thrive" or something that means something special to you?

Oh yeah. Oh yeah. My favorite changes every day, but one that means a lot to me is definitely "No Now." It's the last track on the record. It's the track I wrote all by myself, and it [was] actually recorded [in] one take, just me playing guitar and singing. And it's a part of my story that I've always kind of shied away from telling. Just kind of somebody when you're young who gets involved in your life that kind of steers you in the wrong direction. And it's just a very reflective song about how if I knew now what I didn't know then I would not have gone down that road with you kind of thing. So it's a very personal, heartbreaking, pretty quintessential country song.

Cassadee Pope is all about making traveling with pets easier

And what other projects do you have planned?

Well, I'm really excited about this partnership with Mars Petcare and their Better Cities for Pets airport certification program because I'm obsessed with my dog. I'm a dog mom, and I travel a lot for music and just even just for leisure. I love to travel. So I love that they're making it a real effort to make traveling for our pets easier.

I actually got to bring my dog to the Nashville airport yesterday and check out all the amenities, and it's awesome. There's a dog park before you get in through security. There's an outdoor pet relief station that he really loved. And next time I travel, I know there's also a pet relief station inside. So yeah, I think my travel plans will be much easier now that my dog, Cuppy, has some places to relieve himself.

So this Better Cities for Pets is basically airport amenities that Mars Petcare is putting together?

Yes. And I guess, because I'm so passionate about pets in general, I do a lot of charity work with Nashville Humane Association and just rescues in general, but I posted a lot about my dog and he's very much a part of my career. I just had him in a music video recently that I did. So they knew that I would be able to speak on this in an authentic way, so I'm excited for everything they're doing to make traveling with our pets easier.

Her French bulldog, Cuppy, is her regular travel companion

So what are the best and worst things about traveling with Cuppy?

Honestly, he's a French bulldog, so he does have some gas, and traveling with a dog that passes gas on an enclosed airplane is not the best. So that's one con, but the best part is traveling with your pet. I love my dog, and I love spending time with him and never thought that I would be able to actually get on a plane with my little fur baby until a few years ago when I first got him.

So it just makes traveling a little bit more fun, gives it a little bit something different than when you're just traveling by yourself, so I really enjoy it and he's great. He's great traveling on planes. He just falls asleep, so it's easy.

Do you have any tips or tricks for people who travel with their dogs?

I would definitely suggest a good harness. He has a harness that kind of keeps him from pulling. ... He's pretty dense, so carrying a bag [and] a suitcase and my dog pulling would not work. So definitely invest in a good harness and try to stay calm. I've been telling people our dogs can really feel our stress and our anxiety, and they start acting out if they really can sense that. So just relax, know that everything's going to be okay. And yeah, if something happens and yours has an accident or farts on the plane, it's going to be okay, and yeah, just take a deep breath and you'll get there.

Great! And finally, to wrap up, we always like to ask people a few little fun questions. All right. First, what is your favorite reality TV show this year?

Oh man. Well, I am biased. I love "The Voice." It's definitely my favorite, but if I get too anxious and I need to change the channel, my favorite reality shows are basically any of the Bravo "Real Housewives." I'm obsessed.

Cool. What's your favorite celebrity couple this year?

Favorite celebrity couple? I always really like the kind of private relationship that Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have. I follow them both on Instagram and they never get too sappy. They're really funny and they're kind of self-deprecating and I just, I think they're really relatable as a couple. So I think that they're pretty solid from my perspective.

And finally, what is your favorite celebrity look of the year?

Oh, that's a great question. I am, gosh. I don't know specifically, but all of New York Fashion Week, there's an artist, Kehlani, who just looked absolutely stunning in every single outfit that she did and everything that she does is really cool and outside of the box and really androgynous.

And then also she just kind of incorporates a lot of different vibes and she pulls them all off really well. So yeah. Kehlani, New York Fashion Week, for sure.

To learn more about Cassadee Pope's partnership with the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS Airport Certification Program, visit