Interview: Country Music Queen Cass Hopetoun Talks To The Colourful Writer

Words/Interview by Shannon-Lee Sloane {The Colourful Writer}

In what can only be described as a whirlwind of success, the lovely Cass Hopetoun has whisked herself into the hearts of many a country music fan with her first four single releases. From Shots, to Typical Bride, to Fortune Teller and then to the latest release, Who Needs Hawaii, Cass has shown she is here to stay. Her music is uplifting, fun and impossible to not sing along to. In confirmation of her chosen path in music, Cass has earned herself nominations for the Golden Guitar – ‘Best New Talent’, less than 12 months after her first commercial release and won her 2021 Tamworth Songwriters Association Awards, ‘Best New Talent’ and ‘Best Ballad’ with songs co-written with her equally talented partner and country artist, Blake Dantier. We are huge fans of Cass’s music and whole vibe here at Good Call Live. Our Colourful Writer, Shannon-Lee had a chat with Cass recently about her latest single, her upcoming tour, her awesome music videos and much more. Read on to find out a little more on this talented country music Queen!

I have been a fan of your music since your debut single release, Shots. If you flash back to that time, how did it feel to be releasing your first single and what was the response like? 

“It’s so weird thinking back, it feels like so long ago. I was really scared because I hadn’t really done much writing and I hadn’t put out a song before. It was all new and when it finally came out and people started reacting to it and they liked it, it was kind of a sense of relief, like ‘oh ok *laughs* not everyone hates it!’ It was surreal having people like a song that was originated by myself and then people just already getting on board this train that had only just started out of the station *laughs* It was really cool; a really surreal experience, the whole thing.”

Since then, you’ve been busy bringing the world more of your music. With singles, Typical Bride, Fortune Teller and your most recent release Who Needs Hawaii. So tell me about the new single? 

Who Needs Hawaii was written by my partner, Blake Dantier. Sometimes he asks me for ideas on what to write about and I think I was saying ‘I just really want a holiday’ *laughs* and I just kept saying that. It was written back in the middle of everyone being stuck at home. I kept saying it over and over and eventually he came back with this song. It’s a song that essentially is saying that you don’t need to wait until you have a break or until you get time off work or when you can travel overseas, it’s about taking time out at home and creating your own holiday. I look at people now and so many of us are the same, people are obsessed with being busy. We forget to take a break and just enjoy life. So I think that is what it is celebrating as well.”

I just love your music, for me, it is very uplifting and full of positive vibes. Many moons ago, I feel that I didn’t really have a good understanding of country music, I thought a lot of it was kind of depressing, sad ballad style music. But of course, there has always been the opposite of that in country music too. Do you aim for your music to be upbeat and uplifting? 

“I think I am trying really hard to make it quite uplifting and positive. I mean, obviously it is kind of hard because when you are thinking of things to write about, it is easier to write about things you are upset about. It is like when you have a journal. I have one and I only ever write in it when I am feeling upset about something and I only ever write in it once every six months. So similar thing. But I am really trying to stick to things that are uplifting, especially with the last 12 months, it’s like, let’s just focus on the good things for now because it is just that way of escaping into it and keeping positive yourself.”

And there is always room for light and shade in music across all genres right? I know you’ve worked with the talented Blake Dantier with some of your music. The first track I heard from him, Ash & Dust, made me cry. It was so beautiful and so sad all at once. But then his recent single, Wish You Were My Beer, made me smile and laugh to myself. So there’s that light and shade! So you and Blake are a couple, what is it like being part of a ‘power couple’?! Both so musically talented! Do you just constantly talk music? 

“*laughs* We talk a lot about music. Because it is one of those things, it is our job and one of our passions, so I guess, you know if someone walked in on one of our conversations that wasn’t into music, they might be like ‘what are you even talking about!?’*laughs* But yes, our whole life revolves around it. There is always music happening, there’s chats about it, about songs, it is all intertwined in a good way.”

You’ve had some recent success at the 2021 Tamworth Songwriters Association Awards, winning ‘Best New Talent’ and ‘Best Ballad’ with songs co-written with Blake. You were also nominated for the Golden Guitar – ‘Best New Talent’ – less than 12 months after your first commercial release! Has it felt like a bit of a whirlwind of sorts? And how does it feel to win or be nominated for such awards, I would imagine it’s quite an honour? Does it encourage you to keep going? 

“Yeah definitely! When I got nominated for the golden guitar I think my manager was like, ‘you know it’s been less than a year since you brought out a song!?’ So it was like what? This is crazy *laughs* So much has happened and then to have recognition, not even a year later, I can’t put it into words. I just ramble on *laughs* I think it’s just having that confirmation that yes you are doing well. It’s the universe telling you you should keep doing this. I think especially for the song writing awards with the TSA’s, it is like someone is validating my songwriting, which is something that to me, is a new skill, I have only been writing for the last 18 months. So to just kind of say like, yes, you are doing well! And even sitting in the room on the night for the Golden Guitars knowing I was a nominee, that was enough for me to feel like this is crazy, this is where I am meant to be. Yep, definitely!”

Another thing I love about your whole vibe is your music videos! They are all so well done and look like so much fun! Who comes up with the concept for those? Do you have a big part in that? 

“Yeah I would say, the concept itself is usually something I have created. I think with Shots, that was Bruce Dawson, the director of that one. I kind of wanted to be a bit mischievous and he came up with that concept. But I think from there, when I write a new song, I kind of visualise what it would look like in video form already. That’s what I do in my head and I kind of have an idea and I love seeing that come to life in whatever form it becomes eventually into video.” 

You obviously put a lot of time and love into your music videos. For example I was just reading about your latest one for the new single, Who Needs Hawaii, it was all done in one take!? 

“One of my friends was like ‘I have a question. Did you actually do it in one take!?’ and I was like yes. And he was like, ‘Well how did everyone move around?’ and it was like, well we just practiced it *laughs*! I wanted to have a video that was really fun and then I was like one shot, can we do it? And the director, Lawrence, he loves one shots and he was like, yes!”

You are about to set off on tour with Hurricane Fall around NSW and then play a QLD show in August at the NQ Rockin’ Country Festival! Are you keen to set off on that adventure? Is this your first tour of this kind of size and scale? 

“Yeah! It is so weird because a year ago when I brought out Shots, that was when covid happened, so I haven’t actually been able to tour. So I am so keen to perform my songs in front of people! I think it is going to be really cool to be able to perform and not just be in the recording studio. To see people dancing if they want, I just think the whole energy will be amazing.”

Of all the shows you’ve played so far, which one sticks out in your memory the most and why? 

“As part of the Great Southern Nights program, I supported Shane Nicolson. I think that was the first time I had ever performed any of my songs live and I was nervous and excited. I walked out on stage and everyone just applauded. I hadn’t even done anything! *laughs* and I think they were just excited anything was happening and then people were clapping along and I don’t think I will forget that because it was the first time I got to sing in front of real people.”

At what point in your life did you decide, this is it, music is what I am going to do. Did you choose music or did music choose you? 

“I think in terms of deciding that this is what I want to do forever, I think I probably chose that. I think there is that lame thing as well though, like music will find you *laughs* if you were meant to do it. Like with any creative thing. But I had this thing, with my Grandma, I don’t know how old I was but I said ‘I am going to be a singer!’ and she was like, what’s going to be your real job? and I was like ‘No, I am going to be a singer!’ *laughs* so obviously I was very stubborn and I am still doing that now!” 

And final question; what’s next for Cass Hopetoun? Is there an EP or Album on the way? 

“Yes. I have pretty much finished everything on my album. I have finished up twelve songs with Matt Fell and that will be the next thing to get ready for. Then I want to perform live as much as I can, supporting different artists throughout the end of the year and hopefully bring that (the album) out this year sometime. But that will be my next baby, look after that and bring that out! *laughs*

Cass’s latest release, Who Needs Hawaii is out now. Tune in HERE.

Been riding in the fast lane
Drinking four coffees a day
Just to keep up with traffic
Busy’s becoming a habit
Dream of that tropical vacay
But the stars never align
You don’t need a plane ticket
Just slow down for a minute

Follow Cass Hopetoun:

With thanks to Wildheart Publicity

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