The Associated Press reports that Season 3 Voice winner Cassadee Pope has been signed to Republic Nashville, making her labelmates with The Band Perry, Eli Young Band, Florida-Georgia Line, and fellow Voice alum Raelynn. That’s right, she’s on a country label. The AP also reports:

She is now managed by Irving Azoff in one of his first post-Live Nation endeavors.

A spokesman says Pope is writing songs for the new album and is meeting with producers in Nashville.

UPDATE: The press release is out, featuring quotes from Cassadee and Big Machine Label Group head Scott Borchetta::

“I am so excited to be joining the very talented Republic Nashville family. I am so passionate about my music and I couldn’t be more excited to have this amazing team to back me as I embark on this next chapter in my career,” said Pope.

“Cassadee was a standout from day one and once she delivered her incredible version of Miranda Lambert’s “Over You,” I started working over my NY label partner Monte Lipman (CEO of Republic Records) to try to convince him that Cassadee belonged in Nashville,” said Big Machine Label Group President Scott Borchetta. “Each week Cassadee continued to knock down big Country songs by Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban and Faith Hill, and after she won we were THRILLED to find out that Cassadee was on the same page with us and wanted to come to Nashville. The BMLG Team is over the top excited about Cassadee Pope!”

So is Cassadee Pope really going country? A bunch of headlines teased that development right after her Voice win but her comments revealed her intention to work from a pop/rock base. For instance, she told Lyndsey Parker of Yahoo! that “pop/rock is where [her] heart is.” She also told ClevverMusic

I think I’m going to stick with pop/rock and maybe have some country elements in there. I mean honestly, pop/rock and country go hand in hand now.

Cassadee elaborated in an in depth interview with Entertainment Weekly:

On the show, I was pushed to try something different. Doing “Over You” was actually my idea — I wanted to make it a little more my style, not so country. But then people were like, “You did a country song, I loved when you did a country song.” My plan kind of backfired, but in a really good way. So that’s when I really started thinking, “Well, maybe I could do both right off the bat.” The sound I love, the pop rock sound like Michelle Branch and Avril Lavigne — that could be on country radio now.

EW: Yeah, it seems like the female singer-songwriters of the early ’00s have paved the way for Taylor Swift.
CP: Yeah, exactly. Taylor Swift is something I’m really scared to compare myself to, but it’s true. I want to do an edgier, less country — well, I’m talking about her past, not now. She’s like, dubstep now. [Laughs] But, you know, an edgier Taylor Swift — not as country, with more mature lyrics and more challenging vocals and melodies.

Cassadee also told People:

“I would love to do the pop/rock thing, but I know that I gained some amazing country fans and I know how hard it is to get into that world,” the Florida native said. “I’d love to add a country music element to it a bit.”

Cassadee is smart to realize the difficulties of getting into the country world considering Universal Music Group Nashville CEO Mike Dungan has described being a new woman in country music as “a path that is maybe the most difficult on the planet” because “[t]he gatekeepers at radio have a mindset that females are tough, so they put themselves into this space where they’ll only really truly consider one at a time, maybe two at a time.” There’s a group of new female country acts starting to make an impression at country radio, including Jana Kramer and Kacey Musgraves, with several more who have industry buzz behind them, including Kristen Kelly and Kelleigh Bannen, not to mention the likes of Lauren Alaina who has a t30 hit and a t40 hit under her belt. All these ladies have been putting in serious miles and effort in to conquer country radio and all of them have undeniable country bonafides, which would put Cassadee behind them in line if the plan really is to market her primarily to the country format. There is also a growing female presence as lead vocalists of groups, most prominently in the surging Little Big Town and The Band Perry and superstar act Lady Antebellum but also in emerging groups like The Henningsens.

On the other hand, it’s not like Voice alums have gotten much radio support from Republic-affiliated labels in the past (and there has been no movement on Raelynn’s single “Boyfriend” since she performed it on The Voice), so if this is just about connecting Cassadee to Nashville musicmakers then that may explain Cassadee landing with Republic Nashville.

In fact, Cassadee Pope was busy before The Voice writing with prominent Nashville names. Her collaborators range from Taylor Swift’s most frequent cowriter Liz Rose to hit pop writers like Mike Krompass and Josh Crosby. Check out tunes from an EP she released in May 2012. The first one, “Secondhand Love” gives a strong pre-Red Taylor Swift vibe in that it’s a pop song that’s compatible with banjo and mandolin being inserted to make it “country.”

Secondhand Love (Cassadee Pope/Liz Rose/Emily Shackelton)

“I Guess We’re Cool” (Busbee/JT Harding/Cassadee Pope)

“Told You So (Christopher Scott Brown/Joshua Crosby/Cassadee Pope)

“Original Love” (Andrew Dixon/Jason Gaviati/Cassadee Pope)

What do you make of Cassadee Pope’s prospects as a recording artist?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1638805698 Jason Scott

    I don’t like this honestly. Much like Taylor Swift, she’ll be able to release whatever music she likes (pop-rock) and it’ll be labeled as Country just b/c she’s on a Country label. Dumb.

    Regardless, she’s super talented and I wish her the best. You’re right, Windmills, she has a tough road ahead to breakthrough.

  • fantoo1

    Wow, a sell-out. She doesn’t have a country bone in her body, so hopefully she doesn’t have success in the country world-she seems like a nice person, but I feel like the authenticity of country music has been going down the drain. George Strait and Alan Jackson is what country should be about, not Cassadee or Taylor Swift.

  • irockhard

    Um now this is a disaster waiting to happen!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XDQP2Y46M5B3OHOKALDDGDHQCM Leandro

    Country music? Really?

    Is she sells it means that music industry nowadays is a big f… joke?

    ETA: yeah, I know, it it.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XDQP2Y46M5B3OHOKALDDGDHQCM Leandro

    I think if they put her to do gangsta rap and tell her she will be successfull in this genre she’ll do it with a big smile in her pretty face.

  • waynestrong

    “told you so” sounds nice

  • http://twitter.com/happylittlefish Amy Beth

    I’m guessing Cassadee will sing exactly as she has been and the songs will be “countrified” in post-production.

  • ptebwwong

    Not surprised. Her post-win interviews seemed like she was thinking of going into the country genre.

    I agree with windmills right now that Cassadee is basically at the bottom right now of new female country artists. I don’t think she’s getting a lot of buzz in the country world so she needs to put out great singles & a album.

    Female artists in the country genre have a really hard time right now. Basically, you need to have it all to succeed right now (songs, looks, management, etc.). IMO I think the next big female star is looking to be Jana Kramer. She had a huge hit already. Her current single looks to be steadily increasing. She’s dating a country singer (Brantley Gilbert) w/a big fanbase & he has a few big hits, too. Also, she was an actress (One Tree Hill) so she has a good look & like the big country superstars (Carrie, Taylor) she can start doing acting to gain more fans & become a bigger artist & celebrity.

  • girlygirltoo

    Lollllll, so much for her not going country. I’m sure it will be country-pop, but still…

  • justmefornow

    I think this girl’s “heart” is where she thinks she can make the most money. It’s pretty obvious. Didn’t she dump her own band to try to become more rich and famous?
    I think that says it all.

  • http://twitter.com/andrejkur andre j kur

    two top 10 hits on Billboard’s Country Songs chart, with “Over You” (No. 3) and “Stupid Boy” (No. 4). She’s charted four songs on the Billboard Hot 100: “Over You” (No. 25), “Are You Happy Now?” (No. 95), “Stupid Boy” (No. 40) and “Cry” (No. 60).

  • irockhard

    In a few months Cassadee will become an example of why it’s not a good idea to sell out if you’re not sure your new target audience will embrace you.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    I don’t think that Cassadee has anything to “sell out”. Everything that I’ve seen about her tells me that she’s willing to be any kind of singer as long as it has the best chance of her reaching her goal, which is a high-level commercially successful career. With a goal like that, it appears that she really doesn’t have any musical “principles” or identity to sell out.

    ETA: girlygirltoo wrote:

    “Really not a surprise because she has said that she wants to be famous and sell boatloads of music. So I guess she’ll do whatever she has to in order to try and become a huge star. Maybe it will work out for her in the end, but IMO she comes off as being more interested in making money than actually being an artist.”

    Exactly.

  • SaSa8

    I’m glad I am not the only here who thinks this is a bit ridiculous.  I do not believe she is country at all.  I feel like Blake really pushed her in this direction.  I am a country music fan but I much prefer what I would call “authentic” country singers who love that type of music and grew up on it and you can really tell this is the genre of music where they want to be.  According to the above she wants to be “an edgier Taylor Swift — not as country, with more mature lyrics and more challenging vocals and melodies”.  How can she be less country than Taylor and still be in country music????