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Cassadee Pope

Saturday marks the double-barreled return of Bayou Country Superfest and Cassadee Pope to Tiger Stadium.

Pope made her Superfest debut in 2015, appearing on the same day that Blake Shelton, her coach during the third season of “The Voice,” headlined the Memorial Day weekend of country music.

Bayou Country Superfest comes home to Baton Rouge on Saturday, May 25, and Sunday, May 26, for its 10th anniversary after two years at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

“The last time I played Bayou Country Superfest was so much fun,” Pope said last week while on a European tour. “The lineup this year is insane — Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line and (Kenny) Chesney. I’ll be side-stage all night singing along.”

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Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Cassadee Pope performs during Bayou Country Superfest, Sunday, May 24, 2015, on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge, La.

In February, Pope released “Stages,” the belated follow-up to her 2013 solo debut, “Frame by Frame.” Featuring the million-selling hit, “Wasting All These Tears,” “Frame by Frame” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.

Unlike her debut, a major label release from Universal Music’s Republic Records, “Stages” is an indie project.

“Being on the ‘The Voice’ was an amazing experience, but it also came with a predetermined team,” Pope explained. “They were great people and I loved working with them, but I felt like it was time to realign my team with people who shared my new perspective and musical vision.”

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Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Cassadee Pope performs during Bayou Country Superfest, Sunday, May 24, 2015, on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge, La.

For “Stages,” Pope turns the passion on high for songs about love, longing and heartache that won’t die. Pop and some hip-hop influences run through the album’s modern country songs, many of them soaring with bursting, stadium-sized choruses.

The business changes Pope made in recent years were more about moving on than starting over, she said. “I wanted a new approach that speaks directly to the fans and reaches new fans.”

In the age of music streaming, social media and digital metrics, opportunities to reach fans have never been greater, she added. “It has been great seeing the direct impact of the songs we’ve released by watching where they stream most. We use that data to route our tours.”

Judging by her concerts, Pope’s fans have found the “Stages” songs. From her onstage vantage point, she loves watching them sing back to her.

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Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Cassadee Pope performs during Bayou Country Superfest, Sunday, May 24, 2015, on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge, La.

Saturday at Superfest, Pope said, she’ll sing some new material plus selections from her first album and songs from her years with Hey Monday, the pop-rock band she formed in West Palm Beach, Florida, when she was 18.

Before Pope won “The Voice,” Hey Monday released an album via Columbia Records. Despite international touring and major-label status, the band never caught on in a big way.

“We were so young,” Pope recalled. “It happened really quickly, but we grew up together. That’s when I learned how to be a touring artist and engage an audience. We had an amazing time. Hey Monday fans still come to almost every show I do.”

Winning “The Voice” in 2012, Pope added, “was a validating moment that showed me a new path to success.” A huge sense of responsibility, however, accompanied the victory. “Millions of people voted for me. I wanted to live up to their expectations and make the best and most authentic music I could. That was a little out of my hands at first, but everything has led to this moment.”

Her new “Stages” songs express how Pope has changed since her time on the show.

“I always want to grow, personally and professionally,” she said. “This life allows me to be open to new experiences — both good and challenging — and apply them to my music. I couldn’t have made ‘Stages’ five years ago or make it five years from now.”


Cassadee Pope

Bayou Country Superfest

5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 25

Tiger Stadium, LSU Campus

Tickets start at $65

bayoucountrysuperfest.com; cassadeepope.com