Country singer Cass Hopetoun shares the inspiration behind her latest single, ‘Fortune Teller’
It has been a prolific year for Blue Mountains-based country singer-songwriter Cass Hopetoun. It began in January with her winning the Tamworth Songwriters Association Talent Quest. In May, she signed to Compass Brothers/Universal Music.
Influencers including TMN were hailing 2020 as a breakthrough year for Hopetoun, with her first two singles for the year – ‘Shots’ and ‘Typical Bride’ – landing on the TMN country charts. Country radio and TV embraced her as part of the new wave of Aussie country – flash, cheeky and with a rock star fashion sense.
This week, she was named a Golden Guitar Awards nominee for New Talent of the Year alongside Darlinghurst, Allison Forbes, Melody Moko and The New Graces.
Hopetoun ends the year by returning to the studios with producer Matt Fell to work on her debut album. All she needed to round off the year was a phone call from US country troubadour Brandy Clark, whom Hopetoun cites as a major inspiration, asking if she wanted to write together. Both have a similar approach to their songs, examining how their characters are coping from the good and bad decisions they made in life.
Hopetoun might have had a dream run in her first 12 months in the biz, but she says she’s not really surprised – a fortune teller predicted it last year. She and partner Blake Dantier, also a country music singer-songwriter, were visiting New Orleans and she had her horoscope read.
“The New Orleans stopover was only for a few days but it was the highlight of my trip,” she tells TMN.
“I’m really into the supernatural, so I checked out the voodoo shops in the French Quarter. In a dark room at the back of a shop, this man told me a couple of things, two of which were right on the money.
“One was that we’d be engaged within a year, which we did in six months. The other was, ‘You’re going to start a new creative endeavour, it’ll be involved with what your partner is doing, it’s going to go really well for you next year’.”
At the time, Hopetoun had no intention of singing original country songs. She’d grown up a fan of Delta Goodrem’s and started to play the piano to sound like her. Her career path lay in music theatre having studied musical theatre at NIDA. Last year, she was making a living as a wedding singer.
The reading was such an interesting experience she ended up writing ‘Fortune Teller’ about it. Asked if she believes in destiny, she responds, “Yes but you can change your fate. But in a way, what is meant to happen will happen.”
Talking about Aussie country she says, “It’s a really great time to be part of it, there’s a lot of really good music coming out.”
Hopetoun’s interest in musical theatre has meant that as she writes a song, she’s conceptualising the accompanying video. She relays this to her video director Bruce Dawson as they work together.
The clip for ‘Fortune Teller’ was shot at one of Opera Australia’s rehearsal studios to bring out the song’s sense of theatre, and includes a dance troupe to accentuate its moody vibe. The videos fit in with her sassy image, and the way younger women relate to her songs.
“I like to think my songs resonate with a wide audience,” she says.
“But I’m hoping that through my songs, young girls feel independent, empowered, and they can go their own way without fitting into a box.
“For instance, ‘Typical Bride’ was having the wedding that you want, not what people want you to do.”