Frazee woman to sing in prime time at WE Fest
Cassandra Jopp isn't sure what the future will hold, but she does know what she'll be doing on the evening of Aug. 8: belting it out at Soo Pass Ranch's main stage in front of WE Fest's 50,000-person crowd as an opener to headliner Tim McGraw.
"I get so busy throughout the day, that sometimes it'll go through my mind, and I'm still in shock," the 24-year-old said. "It's the biggest thing I've ever done."
Jopp, whose parents live in Frazee, was this year's winner of the annual Karaoke Roundup, a six-state contest for a chance to sing at Soo Pass' flagship summer event.
A couple of years ago, Jopp said she sang with a band during a short daytime set at WE Fest.
"There weren't a lot of people there," she said, "but this is a chance to perform the last night before one of country music's biggest stars, so it's way better than that."
In addition to winning the chance to sing on stage, Jopp won $2,500, two VIP tickets to WE Fest along with an RV to stay in during the festival, and time in a recording studio, among other things.
The competition was a series of cuts over six months, beginning in January before they announced the winners in early June.
"It's always exciting because there are so many talented people, but even with smaller competitions I still get a little nervous," she said. "As it gets bigger, it gets a little more stressful."
Last year, she said, she placed fourth, just missing the top three berth to sing on stage. So, she went for it again this year, and had a last-minute "nerve wracking" surprise.
At the finals, the girl singing right before Jopp had picked the same song: Carrie Underwood's "Flat on the Floor."
"When I heard her sing, I was like, 'Oh no,' but you run into so many talented people and I knew there was some good competition," Jopp said. "She was very good, and I just had to tell myself to go out there and do what I do, and hopefully it will pull through, and it did."
The girl, Katie Lynn of St. Paul, wound up taking second place, and Jopp said they joked about singing the same song later.
At her WE Fest performance, Jopp said she's decided to sing the two songs she won with: the Underwood song and Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," songs she said she's had success with in the past when she sang with a band.
"Don't Stop Believing" is one that really shows my voice and a lot of people are familiar with it," she said. "The Carrie Underwood one is fast and will get people going."
Jopp will have a little more time to prepare: after years singing with her musically-talented family and playing with a band, Jopp currently does a Thursday night acoustic set with a friend at JT Cigarro in Fargo.
While she now works and lives in Fargo, she said it will be fun to have lots of local fans around to hear her on the big night.
"There are a lot of people in the area that have supported me and my singing," she said, "and my friends and family have been totally pushing and believing in me."
And although her performance could open doors, especially since she'll get to record both covers and originals in the studio and potentially send it to record companies, Jopp said she's also completely content to stay where she is.
"Right now, I am very happy in Fargo," she said. "I have a good job and I love my acoustic gig and we have a lot of people come out to see it. If I ever get the opportunity to see my name in lights, I'll go for it, but I'm very content."