Cassadee Pope Leans on Voice Mentor Blake Shelton

Cassadee Pope: Frame by Frame Premieres Oct. 4 on CMT

Cassadee Pope hit the ground running after being crowned champion of the third season of The Voice. But while recording her debut album and starring in an original CMT docu-series, Cassadee Pope: Frame by Frame , she realized the need to lean on those close to her for support — including mentor, Blake Shelton.

“He’ll check in on me every once in a while and make sure things are running smoothly,” Pope tells CMT Hot 20 Countdown . “He’ll be like ‘Is there any asses I have to kick?’”

Shelton convinced the one-time rocker to try a country direction on the show, and the move seems to fit Pope naturally.

“I had been contemplating which ballad to do, and then I decided to do ‘Over You,’ which just came to me one night,” she says. “I was like, ‘Man, this song is so special, and it related to Blake and he’s my coach.’ … I thought it was just gonna be a very beautiful song and hopefully people liked my rendition, but it kinda catapulted me to the front. It just got such a great reaction, and I just wanted to keep going with that.”

Ultimately, country music’s way of telling a story won Pope over.

“It had a lot to do with the lyrics,” she admits. “If I connected to the lyrics, then that’s all I cared about, so it just so happened that country music has some of the best lyrics.”

She continued to follow that guiding principle in the studio, while also tempering her excitement with patience.

“If the music’s good and the songs mean something, it’s going to react,” says Pope. “I want to do this forever, and that takes time.”

Watch the premiere of CMT’s original docu-series Cassadee Pope: Frame by Frame on Oct. 4 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.