Cass Hopetoun has been pegged as one to watch. Her debut single Shots peaked at #4 on The Music Network Country Airplay Chart, holding in the Top 20 for 11 weeks, and so far, has received over 100,000 streams on Spotify, and its 70’s nostalgia filled video hit #11 on CMC’s Top 30 Countdown. Her brand-new single, Typical Bride is a country sass anthem about feeling empowered and at the time of publication, is currently sitting at #3 on the Australian Country Music Charts and on high rotation on ABC Country radio.
Earlier this year you supported Australian Idol winner, Casey Donovan at the first pandemic-induced drive-in concert in Sydney. A big part of performing is feeding off the energy from faces you see in a crowd. What was the experience like in comparison to not having that face to face connection you would otherwise normally have when performing?
I’ve never been part of anything like that before and it was also the first time they’ve done it here, so it was a good mix between unique, interesting and fun! People are watching you on stage, so you’re on a big stage like a festival would be, but no one can get out of their cars. Even though you couldn’t see people’s faces, which is weird when you first started because you wouldn’t know if people were even enjoying themselves, but after the first song when they go crazy with the honking, you’re like, “Okay, you’re liking what I’m doing. It’s okay.” The energy was higher because cars are so much louder. I don’t know what’s gonna happen in the future, but I’d definitely be keen [to do more drive-in concerts]. I think there’s a place for it in Australia. It’s a different way to enjoy music. You can get drinks. They planned someone that would come around, so like table service but in your car.
Your latest single Typical Bride is a defiant song written for all girls who don’t fit into the traditional bride mould. It’s a country sass anthem about feeling empowered to do things the way you like and not what everyone else things you should. What inspired you to pen the song?
It was inspired by real life. I’m engaged and I realised early on that I wasn’t what my family or other people thought traditionally would happen. I did the proposing to my partner, Blake [Dantier, who co-wrote the song] and when a girl proposes that already starts a range of questions. The song is celebrating that you don’t have to do a wedding the way everyone thinks you should. It’s about doing it your own way and celebrating that.
I see a traditional bride as someone who wears white and follows all the traditions, like a template of how the wedding day should run. Whether that’s having the ceremony in a church, then going back, doing speeches, throwing a bouquet and garter toss, things like that. I just want the ceremony to be about us and then I want to join a party, so that formal stuff wouldn’t be happening.
You also own a music business where you sing at weddings, so you would have been exposed to many different types of weddings. How will your wedding differ to others you’ve witnessed?
I’ve seen a lot of weddings in my day and it’s not always exactly the same, but there’s definitely a formula. I don’t want to be like that. I want it to be uniquely for us. We’re thinking a New Year’s Eve wedding, something that’s like a giant party – a whole lot of fun, a lot of drinking and a cute little ceremony beforehand. I’m not wearing white, but I don’t know what I’m gonna wear. I’m hoping for something unique, but something a little extra because it’s your wedding day, so why not? When we got engaged we were intending to have a long engagement, so we were waiting until there was a break in finances, but then COVID hit and we’re like, “We’ll take this as an excuse to wait it out and save up.”
The music video for Typical Bride captures the journey of a bride who snaps out of a trance to realise she doesn’t want a traditional wedding. It was produced by Bruce Dawson and the team from Tribal Apes, who previously worked on your video for Shots. Both are extremely colourful, complete with numerous set and costume changes, and look like a whole load of fun to make. In a world where a lot of Australian artists don’t see the need in making elaborate videos, you’ve seemingly done the complete opposite. What was the experience like making the videos?
It was so much fun! I don’t remember how many costume changes there were, but it’s celebrating different versions of me. I’m really into videos and I want to make them the best they can be. Even though that’s usually forking out a bit of money and investing, I’d rather create a mini film and go for gold, because there’s just so much fun you can have in a video. There’s a world of possibilities out there. Especially at the moment, because I’m not performing live, these videos are like my gigs and I want people to get a sense of me and how I am. I didn’t want to half do it and chill out in the video. I’m like, “Let’s go full out and show them what it’s like with Cass!”
The wedding dresses in [Typical Bride] were made by a friend of mine, Daniel Learmont Couture, who’s a designer and fabulous, which is lucky. They’re sample dresses that I wear, which I can’t believe that I’m playing around and they look they’re handmade. He’s like, “I just whipped this together” [laughs].
[The music video for] Shots was equally as fun, but a different feel. That one, I was like, “Let’s go full into the 70s and just go for it!” We had original 70s costumes. They were all in a costume warehouse where people get stuff for TV and things, which is really cool.
Do you come from an acting or musical background?
I studied at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts in Sydney and did musical theatre for ages, and that’s where I wanted to go. It’s just been the last few years that I’ve drifted away from it because I didn’t feel as passionate about doing that now. But I love being on the stage and playing characters. I love watching shows. [I would act again] if something came up, it was something I loved and was an opportunity.
I did a whole range of [musical theatre shows], because I did them for over 10 years, from being in high school. I did Little Shop of Horrors, Into the Woods, Fiddler on the Roof … I played Sandy in Grease.
I’d say probably my favourite ones are Grease or Little Shop of Horrors, because I played Audrey who’s like a ditzy blonde. She’s so fun to play – her outfits, wigs and I had to learn how to run in really tall, leopard print heels. And now I put on heels and like, how did I even do that? [laughs]
How does someone go from being in musicals for over ten years to then performing in country music?
It was kind of an accident. I met my partner Blake just over six years ago. He was already doing country music and writing country songs. Before that, I didn’t know how broad [country] was. Being immersed in him playing all the time and hearing different artists, I eventually was like, “I love this genre!”
The way I see country is, it’s like the way you write is about stuff that’s happening. Obviously, there’s the country twang and the instruments, which are super important, but when it comes down to it, you’re just writing about life. And, if your life isn’t on a farm, then you’re not gonna write about a farm. I mean, you’re not gonna lie to everyone, so I like that style of writing. When I hear pop music, it isn’t relatable, you know, in the club and things like that? I don’t think that’s me. I love that country is getting more widely known and people are like, “It’s not just about Crocodile Dundee and things like that” [laughs].
I want to have songs that [are] fresh, I guess is the word. I want to try and find different aspects of life to write about and what people might not have even though about. I want to hear stuff that gets me thinking. Like, I just want to take a new perspective on life and writing and country in general.
I’ve read multiple articles that penned you as ‘one to watch in 2020’ and how ‘2020 is your breakout year’. How does it feel when you’re building all this positive momentum and then suddenly everything stops or changes due to the corona virus?
It’s funny because I don’t know how it would have been otherwise. It’s so weird because I’ve been in a little bubble, and I then remember only five months ago I brought out my first song. And it’s a whole new world now of Corona. My life has changed a lot and I’m super grateful it’s going so well.
It’s given me time to fully immerse myself into writing and the original music world. Obviously, there’s lots of cons to COVID, like you can’t make much money and you can’t perform (which is what I was most looking forward to) but it’s been good to live in a creative bubble. I’m planning to bring out another song before the end of the year, and then hopefully something bigger next year. But every day is different. One day I’m like, “It’s been so good.” One day like, “I hate this! I want to go back!” [laughs]
Stream Typical Bride below.
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