All four coaches turned around for Pope’s blind audition performance of “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia, but she decided to join Blake Shelton’s team. Back in 2012, the other coaches were Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, and CeeLo Green.
A turning point for Pope on “The Voice” came when she performed “Over You,” a song co-written by Shelton and his then-wife Miranda Lambert. The song is inspired by the death of Shelton’s brother, Richie Shelton. Pope’s rendition of the song knocked the megahit “Gangnam Style” by South Korean singer PSY out of the number one iTunes chart spot.
Nine years after her time on “The Voice,” 32-year-old Pope released her third studio album in October 2021. Pope classifies the album, called “Thrive,” as “Y’allternative,” since it has elements of pop-punk, rock, and country music.
Heavy had a chance to catch up with Pope about her new album and what surprised her most about being on “The Voice.”
What Surprised Pope About ‘The Voice’
Pope admitted that competing on “The Voice” was “nerve-wracking” at times. “I’m definitely not competitive by nature so being on a show where you’re literally trying to beat out other people is super intimidating,” Pope told Heavy. “I really just took the approach of doing my thing, telling my story, not worrying about anybody else…just doing what I felt I needed to do in my gut and that ended up kind of working well for me.”
“The Voice” winner opened up about the blind audition process, revealing that it was different than she’d expected after watching the first two seasons of the show. “What I didn’t realize they did is they put everybody into a different hotel,” Pope told Heavy. “They take your phone away, they take your computers away, you have no connection to the outside world for a couple of days.”
Each day, the contestants were taken into a ballroom and the names of the people who’d be auditioning that day were announced. Luckily for Pope, her name was called on day two. “The days are long when you don’t have any means of contacting people and you’re nervous about your audition,” she said.
Once Pope knew she’d made it past the blind auditions, she had to keep the secret until the show aired. “That was difficult because at the time I was really struggling,” Pope told Heavy. “I kind of went broke. I was in LA trying to pursue a solo career. I had done an acoustic tour where some of the nights 5 people would show up. I was outwardly not doing well and I had this little secret of like ‘no I actually got a four-chair turn on The Voice but I can’t tell anybody yet.'”
Why Pope Chose Team Blake
It wasn’t just her love of country music that made Pope choose Shelton as her coach on “The Voice.” The singer told Heavy that she’d come to love Shelton’s coaching style while watching the first two seasons of the NBC reality show.
“I really loved his approach with being hands-on but letting the artists kind of dictate where they wanted to go and letting them bring their vision to life,” Pope said. “As an artist who had been in the industry for a long time already at that point, I didn’t really want to be pushed in a different direction than what I was comfortable going in.” By the time Pope auditioned for “The Voice,” she had already toured with acts like Fall Out Boy with her band Hey Monday.
Pope is still in touch with Shelton. She even rented out his Nashville bar Ole Red to celebrate the release of her 2019 album, “Stages.” She told Heavy that she recently saw former “The Voice Coach” and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine at her friend’s wedding. Levine’s wife Behati Prinsloo was a bridesmaid.
Pope’s New Album Blends Country & Pop Punk
Pope’s first love was country music. “That’s how I learned to sing,” she told Heavy. “I would cover songs by Martina McBride and Trish Yearwood and Shania Twain. That’s sort of where I got my tone and my sensibilities.”
The songwriter added that country music is “the genre of storytelling. There are always these amazing arcs in the songs.” When Pope was in her teens, she began to experiment with rock and pop-punk more and more. Her rock group Hey Monday was formed in 2008.
While Pope was writing her latest album, “Thrive,” she realized she wanted to make a record that paid homage to both of the genres that had shaped her as an artist. She paired up with producers Nick Wheeler of The All-American Rejects and Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town to achieve the unique sound heard on “Thrive.”
Pope’s influences for the album range from Blink-182 to Shania Twain. “I’ve just always loved Blink 182’s sensibility and the catchiness of even just like the guitar licks and the bass licks and the drum fills. I really wanted that to resonate in my music,” said Pope. “And I love the kind of spunky approach Shania takes to singing.”
Watch the music video for the title track, “Thrive,” below:
Pope Is Gearing Up to Go On Tour
In 2022, Pope is looking forward to launching a “Thrive” tour, likely sometime in March. The singer-songwriter often travels for work with her French Bulldog, Cuppy, so she’s excited to help launch the Mars Petcare BETTER CITIES FOR PETS airport certification program. The program aims to help pet parents travel with more ease.
“I’m especially excited because they’ve given Nashville International Airport the first certification so that’s my local airport, that’s where I fly in and out of,” Pope said. “The next time I travel with Cuppy I know he’ll be comfortable.”
The new amenities at The Nashville International airport include a dog park and a pet relief station, which Pope says Cuppy particularly appreciated. “He really enjoyed that. He marked his territory many times,” she said.