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Interview with Cade Hoppe

Cade Hoppe photographed by Abner James
Cade Hoppe photographed by Abner James

Cade Hoppe is a 21 year old alternative pop artist based in NYC, with earnest lyricism and warm vocals within his catchy pop melodies, he is someone you should be looking out for. His new single 'Afterparty' is out now, so I caught up with Cade to talk all about the song, his musical influences and working with Harper James on his music.

Hi Cade, how are you?

Hi Elin, I’m doing well—excited to be doing this interview. Thanks so much for having me.

How would you describe your sound to the readers?

My really brief elevator pitch is: Imagine if The National made a Taylor Swift record endorsed by Chris Martin, Jack Antonoff, and Ben Folds—now you essentially have a Cade Hoppe record.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

From a very young age, I idolized Ben Folds as a pianist and songwriter; he was pretty much the only person I listened to until well into my teenage years and he was the reason I started writing my own songs. Taylor Swift was the next huge influence and is probably my biggest influence today as she’s the songwriter’s songwriter and artist’s artist I’m always striving to be. There are so many other artists I have been and am currently influenced by so I’ll only name a few, but some notable ones are Coldplay, The Killers, Bleachers, Mumford & Sons, Julia Michaels, Bon Iver, and Phoebe Bridgers.

How did your music journey start?

Music has always been such a huge part of my life, but I was always told it wasn’t practical to be anything more than a hobby. When we’re young in this world, people tell you that you can do anything you set your mind to; and then a few years later they tell you what to set your mind to. My music journey started from the very beginning when I’d listen to Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson’s first albums on CD in the car with my mom, but my artist journey began much later. The shortest version I can possibly tell of this story is that I moved to New York from Northern California to attend NYU to play basketball and study finance. After having very little time for music with everything else on my plate, I slowly began to realise that I needed music to be a much larger part of my life, so I started making some changes. I played a couple shows and was scheduled for more when the pandemic hit, and I had to do livestreams instead. Then I went home for the summer of 2020 and I recorded and released a 13-song project called Poor Man’s Love with my stepbrother, Nick Adams, which I now consider to be the prologue to my career. When I got back to the city at the end of the summer, I moved way out in Brooklyn and got a minimum wage job at Chipotle where I worked almost 40 hours a week—that funded all of my music over the past year. I’ve since gotten a serving job at an Italian restaurant called San Marzano that pays much better, but that year at Chipotle was a grind. Anyway, the major moment and start for me was meeting Harper James last October, ultimately leading to “Loverly High” coming out this past May and everything I’ve put out since. Finding your sound as an artist is a never-ending process, but that was the first song I wrote and recorded that felt undeniably my own; I think I’ll always consider that song to be one of the most important I’ve ever written and the real start to my artist career. Anyway, I know that wasn’t that short so maybe it’s the short version of the long version or something like that, but all that to say: always do what you love, I promise it’s worth it.

Your new single ‘Afterparty’ is out now, congratulations! How was the process of making this song for you? Was it one that came naturally?

Thank you so much! I would definitely say that this one came pretty naturally. I remember I wrote the pre-chorus of this song first, sitting on my bed in my old Brooklyn apartment—you know, the “hope has more blood on her hands than I do in my heart” part. So many of my songs start this way where there’s a lyric and/or melody that feels inspired but that I don’t really know what it means or how it applies to me yet—then I fill in the gaps later. Anyway, I wrote that pre-chorus and started thinking about a few nights before when I’d gone with my girlfriend, Maddie Regent, to see friends in the West Village where we all played cards and drinking games. And I just remember having such a great time and then totally crashing afterwards; I took the train all the way back to Brooklyn and stumbled home in the snow. So I decided to write about that, and the pre-chorus that I’d written just sort of flowed into this “if I am the life of the party, would you stay? Would you stay?” idea. Then I was over at Maddie’s apartment messing around with what I’d written, and I wrote the first verse on her bed. Maddie was just hanging out and listening, but then she made a suggestion that made the chorus better and I was like, “Wanna just keep writing the rest of the song with me?” She’s a really great artist and songwriter in her own right and we actually met when we wrote a song together, but we don’t actually write together as much as one might think. So I’m really grateful that this one felt so natural to finish writing together because bringing her in ultimately really helped elevate the song.

Musically this song is driven by its layered guitars, and when combined with your voice that gives an almost ethereal feel to the song. Was that a conscious decision, or something you wanted to come across in the song?

I love that word, ethereal. Yeah, it was definitely a conscious decision to give it that floating organic feel with a lot of inspiration from what Aaron Dessner did on Taylor Swift’s Evermore. The drums were essential in anchoring the record, but for the bridge we actually took the drums out and leaned into that ethereal feeling even more during what I consider to be the most vulnerable part of the song. The shift into the bridge with the drums coming out of the bridge and the really raw vocal stack coming in makes this quite possibly my favourite bridge that Harper and I have ever done.

You’ve said this song is about “accepting that someone can love you at your lowest and most vulnerable points”, could you explain more about that and the lyrical content of the song to us?

Being the life of the party, but not the life of the afterparty means that you’re really fun and awesome and lovable when your switch is on, but when you turn off, you’re not quite any of those things. In the beginning of a relationship, you aren’t really seeing each other’s afterparty—it’s all party, all the time. But at some point, this person that you love so much is going to see your afterparty and that’s a terrifying feeling. Because what if they finally see the less desirable qualities that you’ve been pushing down and they leave? If you don’t even love yourself in your lowest moments how can someone else? It’s tough to wrap your head around, yet somehow it makes complete sense. People love imperfect people because they’re imperfect too. I think the lyric that says it all is at the end of the bridge where it says, “And somehow you’re still gonna love me in the morning/You say I’m crazy to believe you won’t”. So yeah, that’s what the song is about—acceptance. That’s also why there’s that shift in the third chorus from “would you stay?” to “and you stay,” and from “would you leave with your love or would you want me enough?” to “you don’t leave with your love because you want me enough.” In a secure relationship, the anxiety and the questions leave at a certain point, but it takes time. It definitely takes longer than three minutes and 53 seconds, but I think writing a song as long as it actually takes might be pushing it a little bit.

Do you have a favourite lyric or line from the song?

My favourite lyric is definitely, “Hold ‘em on the west side, going against those who raised me/I’m chasing two jacks with wine”. There are a couple double entendres that I like to think would make even my favourite songwriters proud. I think that’s one of the best lyrics I’ve ever written and it might make this my favourite second verse I’ve written. Second verses are always so often overlooked because they get lost in the middle, but I’m a strong believer that they’re one of the most important parts of a song. They can be tough to get right, so I try really hard to write good ones and I’m very happy with how this one came out.

What has it been like to work with Harper James on this song, and the others you’ve released?

Harper is the best. I honestly just feel so lucky to have ever connected with him in the first place. I randomly found him through an Instagram ad he ran and now we’ve released four songs together with more to come. It’s just so crazy how life works out sometimes. Our collaboration always goes very smoothly, and it always feels very inspired. We’re very good about trying anything and everything, never shooting down any suggestion either one of us makes. I think a really important piece to that is our music tastes being very aligned, so we’re always on the same page as far as what the vision should be—in a general sense, at least. We also just really believe in the records we’re making, and we have a lot of fun making them together. We’re coming up on a year since we met and I think I always had a feeling that I’d stumbled upon a great producer, but I had no idea at the time that I’d also found a great friend, too. His future is really bright and I’m glad I get to watch him hit cool milestones as I make my own way as well.

Cade Hoppe photographed by Abner James
Cade Hoppe photographed by Abner James

What are you hoping listeners take away from listening to ‘Afterparty’?

I hope that listeners can take away that it’s okay to show your vulnerabilities because anyone that truly loves you will love you more—not less—because of them. And I ultimately hope that listeners listen, sing, and love this song because like all songs I put out, this song means the world to me. The other day I was at work and one of my coworkers was singing the chorus because it was stuck in his head and there’s really just no better feeling than that for an artist.

What’s next for you?

I haven’t made any official announcements yet, but let’s just say that October 22nd is a big day for Cade Hoppe music and that this is six months in the making. On a more general note, though, a lot of stuff is coming. I won’t be disappearing anytime soon that’s for sure. I’m excited and I hope others are too.

And lastly, what music have you been listening to recently? Anything you can recommend to us?

Oh man, that’s such a tough question because I’ve been listening to so much great stuff lately and as you’ve probably come to realise by this point in the interview, I’m not exactly short-winded about these things. But I’ve been really into Bleachers’ new record, The Killer’s new one, Lorde’s, and I’m really looking forward to Coldplay’s and FINNEAS’ new releases because their singles are great. And then also MUNA has a new song with Phoebe Bridgers that is impossible to stop listening to, called “Silk Chiffon”. As far as older stuff though, I’ve been listening to Phoebe Bridger’s Punisher (especially “Chinese Satellite”) and Bon Iver’s self-titled a bunch, as well as a lot of Taylor Swift’s Folklore/Evermore. “Renegade” by Big Red Machine (feat. Taylor Swift) and “right where you left me” by Taylor Swift have been the ones on repeat from this new Taylor era in the past few weeks. Oh, and also Justin Vernon’s project pre-Bon Iver called DeYarmond Edison has an album called Silent Signs that is pretty obscure, but I can’t get enough of it. It’s definitely worth the listen if you like Justin Vernon and haven’t heard of it before. Alright I’ll shut up now. Music is amazing and I wish I could listen to everything always.

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions for us, it’s really appreciated.

Of course, it was my pleasure. Thanks for such thoughtful questions.

Cade Hoppe photographed by Abner James
Cade Hoppe photographed by Abner James

You can go and listen to 'Afterparty' now! Make sure to follow Cade Hoppe on his social media pages to keep up with him and his music. I also loved the answer to my last question there, so many great songs and artists were mentioned, which I also suggest you go and listen to if you haven't already.

Thanks for reading, until next time...

Listen to Afterparty on Spotify here.

Follow Cade Hoppe on Spotify here.

Follow Cade Hoppe on Instagram here.

All After Midnight links here.

Music submissions and enquiries to


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