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This Album Changed My Life: Cass Hopetoun

8 March 2024 | 12:09 pm | Mary Varvaris

Cass Hopetoun is celebrating her new single 'To Be A Lady' by delving into the album that changed her life: Brandy Clark's '12 Stories'.

Cass Hopetoun

Cass Hopetoun (Source: Supplied)

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Today is International Women’s Day, and Australian singer Cass Hopetoun has released a fitting new single that fits with the themes of the day.

To Be A Lady dismisses the pressures put on women to always look nice—putting on makeup every day, “glamour and poise,” wearing uncomfortable high-heeled shoes, and a need to be lazy. Flanked by banjo, guitar, and a full band, Hopetoun has offered a catchy, ultra-relatable tune that serves as a reminder to be a bit rebellious sometimes.

“I was sick of doing makeup,” Hopetoun admitted in a press release. “Why do I have to just because it’s the norm? Sometimes you just can’t be bothered.”

She shared her frustrations with co-writer Sarah Buckley and husband and producer Blake Dantier, and To Be A Lady was born.

“I was craving a really slow production process, where we could really take our time adding bit by bit to the song... and what better way to do that than in your loungeroom!” Hopetoun continued, “I also feel like Blake knows me nearly as well as I know myself so that made decisions super easy.”

You can check out To Be A Lady below.

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To celebrate the release of To Be A Lady, Cass Hopetoun has written about the album that changed her life for Countrytown.

Hopetoun chose 12 Stories, the 2013 debut album by American singer Brandy Clark. Less than two months after its release, 12 Stories peaked at #23 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart.

This Album Changed My Life: Cass Hopetoun

Before I met my husband, I didn’t know much about Country Music at all… but Blake 100% did. He would have it on day and night, and I soon realised ‘this country thing’s pretty cool’! Haha. Once Blake realised this, he started recommending albums I should try out. One of the first ones was Brandy Clark’s 12 Stories

From the first song, I was like…am I just listening to a friend vent about her life? I was so into the simple storytelling that came across so casual. Nothing sounded like it was trying too hard. 

Then came the second song, Crazy Women, which basically is about women being pushed to breaking point and causing havoc on men… and playing with the idea that maybe it’s the men that make these women crazy. I thought, damn!

This girl is taking sassy to a whole new level, and I’m here for it. This song was co-written by Brandy but has also been recorded by LeAnn Rimes… after hearing the LeAnn version (which is still killer!), I thought… no, Brandy’s version is the way the song was meant to be. Nothing too flashy because it doesn’t need to be; the lyrics have that sorted, and that’s how Brandy operates on the whole album. 

Next favourite from the album is Stripes, which is about another woman being cheated on and wants to take revenge (hardcore style) but, the only thing holding her back is that she doesn’t look good in orange… or stripes. It’s such clever writing and catchy as hell. I just loved that she had this way of being cheeky whilst tiptoeing around the theme of murder.

Hold My Hand is a ballad on the album and, honestly, one of the best I’ve ever heard. It’s so simple and so easy to relate to. It focuses on bumping into your partner's ex while you’re with them and wanting them to hold your hand… to choose you 100% so that the ex knows that door is shut forever. Once I heard this, I was all in with Brandy. This album had sass, fun, and heartfelt moments. She was now superwoman in my eyes. 

Overall, the whole album also sounds authentically country but modern at the same time. It’s classic and timeless. I was really inspired to become a better writer from this album, and I look up to Brandy so much. I want my songs to feel like a vent with your best friend so that my fans can have the same feeling I had with this album. 

Fun fact: she is my girl crush and if I got to write a song with her, my life would be made, haha. I’ve probably listened to this album over 50 times, and this is your sign to go do the same!