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Songwriter Cade Hoppe Delivers a Strong Introduction

It’s rare you hear a baritone vocal among male singer-songwriters. In this regards alone, newcomer Cade Hoppe stands out.

On October 22, Hoppe released his debut EP, Tell Me How It’s Worth It, collaborating with producer Harper James of Eighty Ninety over five indie-rock influenced tracks.

Hoppe’s distinctive voice sets the stage for – and adds a bit of depth to – songs about love, loss, and a broad spectrum of life experiences and emotions. 

Both a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Hoppe hadn’t seriously considered a career in music until recording a collection of songs in 2020, titled Poor Man’s Love, with his stepbrother Nick Adams.

This created a spark in him, and close to a year later, Hoppe made his official debut with “Loverly High,” released in May 2021. 

“Loverly High” made its way onto Tell Me How It’s Worth It, along with four other tracks on which he sings about taking risks, unrequited love, and having to say goodbye. We had a chance to speak with the 21-year-old singer-songwriter about his release. 

Tell us about your Tell Me How It’s Worth It EP. How did this release come together?

There are so many ways I could answer this question, but I think the most important thing to say is that this release is the product of a lot of patience, hard work, and dreaming.

Countless hours were spent in my room writing songs, in the studio recording, and working a minimum wage job at Chipotle to fund it all (thankfully I’ve found a better job since then), and I can’t even tell you how proud I am of myself for even having this EP to put out.

Some things in life are worth it and others are not, but believe me when I tell you that betting on yourself in order to follow your dreams is always worth it. 

Since this is your debut, what was your vision? What were you trying to say as an artist?

As an artist, I want to be as honest as I can be about who I am and the feelings I go through—good and bad—so when it came to my debut EP, it was really important to me to take a nice first step in that direction.

My vision was to put together an honest telling of what it’s like to leave someone or something behind for what you really want, which is what I’ve done over the last year or so.

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This project has taken more time, work, and money than anything I’ve ever done in my life, so one thing I’m trying to say is that I’m serious about my music and I’m here to stay.

You worked with producer Harper James on this release. How did you meet, and what was it like working together?

Harper and I actually met a year ago in October of 2020, and it all happened because I saw an ad he was running on Instagram. I honestly still can’t believe how random and lucky it was looking back on it, because he is such a brilliant producer and collaborator.

From the beginning, we’ve both been really good at coming to the table with an open mind and a lot of really creative ideas—most of all, we just have fun making music together.

We’ve spent so much time together over the last year, and we’ve become really great friends now, which I can’t imagine happens every time an indie artist sees an Instagram ad for a producer.

Anyway, we’re always having a good time making music, and ultimately I think that’s how the best records are made.

Why did you select the five tracks you did for this release?

I started writing songs for this EP in August of 2020—I wrote a song called “Loverly High” (which was the first single I put out for this project), and there was definitely this moment of, “Okay, this one feels different and special,” and I knew right away that it was going to be part of whatever I did next.

There were dozens of songs I wrote that I thought about recording and putting out with this EP, but ultimately, I chose five that felt important to my journey as an artist and a person over the last year or so.

Each song can be read on a couple different levels in the narrative of leaving something or someone behind for the thing you really want, and it was important to me that every song had multiple meanings in different contexts.

As a precursor to this release, you recorded a collection of songs with your brother titled Poor Man’s Love. Tell us about that. 

Yeah, that was a really special project that will always be one of the most important chapters in my career.

It was a 13-song project that was almost like my own personal greatest hits from ages 14 to 20, and it served as the perfect bookend to those first few years of songwriting.

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Nick and I spent the whole summer 2020 recording and producing the project ourselves, and even though it wasn’t the most polished-sounding music, it proved to us both that we could do it—we could create a whole body of work and put it out in the world, which is a lesson both of us have taken with us.

Putting out Poor Man’s Love is the reason I had the confidence to put everything I had into music and find a producer in New York and make the records I’m putting out now.

What’s been your journey up to this EP? How did you get started as a songwriter and performer?

So I started playing piano at seven years old, and I learned by playing songs I loved.

Ben Folds was my idol growing up, and I learned as many songs of his as I could; at my first few talent shows, I covered his songs.

When I was 14, my dad took me to see him play with the San Francisco Symphony, which was my first concert, and it was so inspiring to me that I wrote my first original song a few weeks later.

Since then, I’ve always dreamt of being an artist that could inspire someone the way that he inspired me. I’ve met him a couple times in the last few years, and I actually had the opportunity for him to critique one of my songs—in so many ways, he’s the reason I had the courage to truly chase this dream and take the path I’m on now. 

I played my first full-length concert back at the end of 2019 when I put one on for my family and friends at my childhood home in California. I played my first New York show a month or so later.

Then, when the pandemic hit, I put on Instagram livestreams and wrote dozens of songs while I was stuck in my apartment alone for three months.

After that, I went back to California for the summer of 2020 and recorded Poor Man’s Love, which I put out in October after I moved back to the city in August.

I took a gap year all last year so I could focus on getting new music together to put out and that’s what led me to meeting Harper. I went through a breakup and started a new relationship during that time, too, so there was never any shortage of songwriting inspiration.

But yeah, that’s been the journey up to this EP. I could say a lot more about how I got here, but I think this covers the main points.

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Who are your influences as an artist?

I’m such a student of music and songwriting, so I have a million different artists I could name, but I’ll name a few that come to mind first.

Taylor Swift, Ben Folds, Bleachers (Jack Antonoff), Coldplay, The Killers, Mumford & Sons, Bon Iver, and Phoebe Bridgers are just a few of so many artists that have had a significant influence on all aspects of my music.

What tends to be your process for writing a song?

Every song gets written just a little bit differently, which is one of the reasons I fell in love with songwriting in the first place.

If a song needs to come out of me, then it’ll find a way to do that; something will trigger it, whether it’s a line, melody, riff, or even just a sound.

Actually, the only thing that is always the same is that I always wear glasses when I write, and I’m very superstitious about that.

What should listeners expect from you next? Will you be performing anywhere anytime soon?

I’ve got a lot of stuff up my sleeve, so you’ll be hearing from me again really soon. I’ve been such a huge music fan all my life, so I know what I always want from my favorite artists and I’m working hard to reward fans of my music similarly.

I guess what I’m saying is that It’s a really good time to become a Cade Hoppe fan, if you aren’t one already. I’ll be playing on November 4th at the Bowery Electric in NYC, and I’ll also be accompanying my girlfriend, Maddie Regent a few days earlier, on November 1st, for her show at Bowery Electric.

You’ll be able to find all that info on my website and on my Instagram @cade.hoppe. Thank you so much for a great interview!


Ivan Yaskey is a Philly-born EDM and synthpop enthusiast and interviewer who recently relocated to beautiful Boston, MA.