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The word came early in March: Cassadee Pope, the season three winner of “The Voice,” had achieved platinum sales on her debut single “Wasting All These Tears.”

No other female country artist had done that since Taylor Swift sold platinum with her 2006 debut single “Tim McGraw.”

“Not a bad launch,” said the 24-year-old Florida native.

Not bad indeed. In less than a year, Pope went from fronting a regionally popular pop-rock band playing before audiences of several hundred mostly teenage girls to appearing on live TV before millions of viewers.

She takes the stage Friday at Country Thunder. And this summer, she will be on the road with Tim McGraw’s “Sundown Heaven Town” tour, which pulls into Ak-Chin Pavilion in west Phoenix May 16.

Of everything that has happened to her so far — touring with Rascal Flatts, releasing her debut album “Frame By Frame” last October, attending Sunday’s Academy of Country Music Awards in Vegas — touring with McGraw may be one of those “pinch me” moments.

“It’s crazy because I have been a fan of his for a long time. It’s surreal as a fan to be going on tour with him because it’s like a front-row seat,” she said.

Pope has performed country music since splitting with her band in late 2011. Within months, she was playing solo acoustic shows from the East to the West Coasts and had released an eponymous EP with four self-penned country songs. The EP came out in May 2012, just in time for “The Voice” auditions.

All four celebrity coaches turned around after Pope’s “blind audition” in September 2012 and Pope picked Blake Shelton. A highlight of that season was her performance of Shelton’s “Over You,” a song he cowrote and recorded with his wife Miranda Lambert.

There’s an outside chance Pope will cover the song at Country Thunder; she sang it during the Rascal Flatts tour while “Wasting All These Tears” was gaining a radio and fan following.

“I skew more toward my music now, especially now with ‘No More Tears’, ” she said. “To know that this song has reached so many people and on such a deep level is so touching. … People are connecting with the lyrics and the music. That takes you a long way.”

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642.

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