"The Voice" has crowned its third-season champion, pop singer Cassadee Pope, and it's clear from her victory, won after the most votes ever cast for a "Voice" finale, that America wants her to have a long and successful singing career. But as those who've followed Pope's pre-"Voice" career know, the sweet and personable singer has been working hard to make it in the music industry for quite some time now.
The Florida native discovered her love of singing at a young age and cultivated her talent as part of her middle school's award-winning jazz band. Things didn't get serious until 2008, when she became lead singer of the newly formed pop punk band Hey Monday. The band was discovered by Fall Out Boy frontman Pete Wentz, and they later signed a joint record deal with Wentz's label Decaydance and Columbia Records.
Hey Monday at the time consisted of Pope, guitarists Mike Gentile and Alex Lipshaw, drummer Elliot James and bassist Michael "Jersey" Moriarty. Thanks to tours with Fall Out Boy, the band enjoyed success in both the U.S. and international markets, but eventually struggled with growing pains and the departure of band members.
MTV News interviewed Pope with her bandmates Gentile and Lipshaw following the loss of Moriarty in the fall of 2010. Although the three remaining members were genuinely sad to see their friend leave the band, they hoped to maintain their relationship with Moriarty and to keep making music.
"With the whole Jersey thing, that really sucked and we were upset about it, but we were more upset about losing a friend, and we never really sat down and were worried about 'Oh my God, is this the end of the band?' " Pope recalled. "Because the three of us are so passionate about it, and we've talked about it a million times, about how this is our dream come true, and not to say any of us could quit tomorrow — you never know. But no one has to worry, the show must go on, and we're really excited and nothing's going to stop us."
Unfortunately, something eventually did stop Hey Monday from pushing forward because the band announced their hiatus in 2011, leaving Pope with an opportunity to audition for "The Voice."
To Pope's credit, throughout her time on "The Voice" she frequently spoke about her anxiety over leaving the band to pursue a solo career. For now, however, it has clearly paid off.