OFFSTAGE: Was Cassadee Pope Born Country?

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Is Blake Shelton powerful enough to turn a pop singer into a country one? From the looks of Cassadee Pope ’s career so far, that would be a “hell, yes.” When Pope started off as a contestant on The Voice last season, she was all pop, doing songs from Gavin DeGraw, Avril Lavigne, Maroon 5 and grunge rock band Ednaswap right from the start. But then she joined Shelton’s team, and voila: Pope now has a single on country radio, she’s making a country album and she’s playing the Grand Ole Opry. But how much of that is the Shelton Effect, and how much of it was already inside Pope? “People don’t realize that country music is my background, and that’s what I sang as a kid,” she told The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville. “I went through my rock phase, but now I’m back in a place where I feel the roots coming back from country music. I’m just infusing all of them into one.”