November 14, 2013
By Shonassee Shaver
LAWT Contributing Writer
Meet super-producer Ervin “EP” Pope, whose accomplishments in the music industry are nothing short of amazing!
With a body of work including Janet Jackson, Ne-Yo, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Swizz Beatz, Jamie Foxx, Dr. Dre and so many others, Pope has certainly made a name for himself in the music industry.
Raised in Watts, CA Pope got his start with music in the church playing the piano at a young age, having been exposed to and a student of many genres of music throughout his life, the young ingénue was able to pick up sounds by ear.
Piano lessons passed through a few siblings, neither of which displayed a real interest in the art. However, it was Pope who discovered an interest for the musical keys.
His talent quickly paid off as he produced gospel group ‘Perfect Number,’ it was at this time that he developed a skill for writing and a platform to produce songs.
Pope who didn’t make a transition into mainstream music acknowledges “I still play at two or three churches every Sunday.”
Not only is he dedicated to his roots but feels gospel music encompasses all genres of music from blues to rock. According to Pope, “if you take the lyrics off of a song you wouldn’t be able to tell if it was R&B or rap.
Despite the naysayers, he feels music is a job and as long as he isn’t doing anything that’s not going to discredit his beliefs, transitioning from gospel to mainstream is not a problem.
Speaking of gospel versus mainstream, the newly reality TV show “Preachers of L.A.” has garnered a lot of controversy, Pope weighs in stating, “I don’t have a problem with the wealth, what I have a problem with is the exposure shown in a different light to someone who is weak minded that maybe driven away from God forever.”
Not having a major company backing him, Pope was able to build his name in the business, “if I saw you I would approach you, once I accumulated a certain amount of work I was referred.”
Having accomplished music, he has ventured into film and television, scoring music for ‘Mission Impossible 3: Undisputed,’ ‘My Wife & Kids,’ reality TV shows ‘Bad Girls Club,’ ‘Keeping Up with The Kardashians,’ and ‘The Real World.’
Along with his feats in music and TV, he has developed his own production company, The Furnance Music Group.
“You have to be a smart owner which entails keeping good contacts and relationships because this business is based on business the talent is second,” he states on owning his music company.
Pope has escaped the pits of being a producer who does not receive credit for his work, “you have to learn the ends and outs of your profession, being taken by the gratification of your music won’t work.”
EP who once worked in corporate America remained true to his passion, he felt his job at the time was secondary, “I just did that to keep the lights on, at night I would go to the studio and fall asleep in the meeting the next day,” he said.
Pope has certainly made the right choice; as he has been fortunate to produce great music.
“I take a little bit from each of those genres, blend it in like gumbo, and just make good music.”
The producer prefers live instruments and feels a lot of people aren’t investing music in our youth; he implements instrumentation in 95% of his production.
He feels music executives aren’t looking for anything diverse.
However, EP looks to the internet as an alternative platform for artists, “the power is only in the executive’s hand we have to change the cycle by putting good music out on the internet.”
EP is working on a jazz project and is the executive producer on rap artist Scarface’s new album.
Pope has a documentary film coming out where he produces and composes the entire score.
On where he see’s his career, “I am going to ultimately end up in television and film because you can use all types of music to complete a show as oppose to being stuck with R&B or hip hop, I can do rock, jazz, blues and gospel all in one show.”
November 07, 2013
By Cory Alexander Haywood
Complain, protest, boycott all you want, the ever-controversial rapper Kanye West only hears the beat of his own drum.
West’s most recent stunt for public attention is wearing the confederate flag on the sleeves of a green bomber jacket, photographed recently.
Last month, the “New Slaves” multi-platinum selling recording artist announced plans to feature the racially-charged image on merchandise for his nationwide “Yeezus Tour.” Apparently, he wasn’t bluffing. During an interview with Los Angeles radio station 97.1 AMP, explained the reasoning behind using the flag – which was adopted by the Southern states during the American Civil War but has come to represent a symbol of racism and hate to many.
“React how you want,” he said. “Any energy is good energy. You know the Confederate flag represented slavery in a way – that’s my abstract take on what I know about it. So I made the song ‘New Slaves.’ So I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag. It’s my flag. Now what are you going to do?”
Never one to display humility, West often makes a point of boasting about his “genius-like” creative music abilities. Granted, his album sales and multiple trips to the Grammy’s offer validation for such thinking, but even Kayne’s fans have grown tired of all the bravado (warranted or otherwise).
No matter your sentiments about the Chicago-bred lyricist, it’s hard to deny his talent, which played an integral role in the development of hip-hop mogul Jay Z’s critically acclaimed, 2001 classic opus “The Blueprint.”
Shortly thereafter, MTV tapped West as an emerging artist in 2002 during a segment of “You Hear It First.”
It’s no secret that a large sector of the Christian community doesn’t approve of Oxygen’s new, controversial reality show, “Preachers of LA.” Like moths to a flame, scores of viewers tuned in to watch the highly-anticipated season opener.
With critics up in arms behind the show’s premise, a group of flashy clergyman shoving their congregation-driven wealth in the faces of America, Bishop Noel Jones, who appears regularly on the documentary series, recently addressed his City of Refuge congregation, defending his decision to participate.
Despite faltering health and a recent hospital stay for heart issues, Jones — a pastor in Gardena, C.A. – has managed to keep his ministry in tact, keeping him busy and financially empowered. During his message to the church, he mentioned owning a Porsche and insisted that his detractors, including fellow preachers, would receive only love in return for their criticism. Jones admitted on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” that like everyone else, he has flaws. Sybil Wilkes, co-host of the radio show, fired back at Jones, saying:
“You have a lot of great, fancy words but what you see in this, is men of God who are preaching the word, who are now seen as just regular guys but it is in such a disturbing way.”
To that Jones defended himself by telling Wilkes that every preacher he knows is flawed in some way and that they are just messengers of God and not the message itself.
By Blair Adams
Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper
Rumors are flying around the entertainment industry that Kerry Washington, star of the hit ABC series “Scandal,” is pregnant with her first child.
Sources told E News, US Weekly and People that they thought Washington was pregnant at the Emmys in September, when she wore an empire-waisted gown that “hid her tiny figure.”
“She’s about four months along,” a source told US Weekly.
This will be the first child for Washington and her husband, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who were wed in June after dating for one year.
But “Scandal” fans are wondering how Washington’s real-life pregnancy will affect her onscreen character, Olivia Pope?
Washington could not be reached for comment and her reps have declined to comment on the star’s personal matters. In a recent interview with Glamour magazine, Washington said she preferred to stay silent about her personal life.
“I learned through experience that it doesn’t work for me,” she said. “I’ve had earlier times in my career when I did talk about it. But I couldn’t just turn around and say, ‘I only want to talk about the good stuff, but not the bad stuff.’ So I just thought, ‘Okay, no more.’”
You feel centered this week and full of efficient energy. Use this week to accomplish tasks, make plans, and finalize arrangements that need to be made. Face into personal responsibilities with love and pleasure now.
You can build a bridge with your imagination to reach the person you want to meet. Build the very best bridge your imagination can afford. Your soulmate will then cross over to you. Your intentions are warm and sincere.
While those around you may seem disagreeable, mind your own business and don’t take anything personally. Focus your mind on the project you most want to work on this week and put your beautiful energy into that with love.
A happy week is in store for sociable you. Lots of friends and a party or two or three will keep your energy bright. Use caution while driving and watch for a pleasant surprise or two this week.
Lots of creative energy available this week, and you can use this in many creative ways. Whatever your heart tells you to focus on, focus on that. Maintain emotional balance by taking periodic breaks from your work.
Your sense of self is feeling unusually well-defined. And it’s causing you to look confident. People will notice your regal bearing and noble outlook this week.
The week may start off cloudy but will soon turn bright if you keep your outlook positive and your thoughts on higher, more optimistic ideas. Be thankful for your wise and generous heart. You have a shining spirit.
Who is your spiritual family? Celebrate your life with these people this week. Offer praise and grace-filled vibrations, and share your blessings. Things on the mundane level are clearing up and working out perfectly.
You've been having these crazy dreams lately, and they're all you can think about Monday. What could they possibly mean? Are they just bizarre and absurd or is there something to them? (And anyway, your normal life has been feeling a bit absurd lately.) People like hearing about your dreams, and Wednesday and Thursday, someone you know might be in the mood to be entertained by one of your wild stories. This weekend, you and your friends have so much fun just sitting around and talking, who needs to spend money
There's a chance you may need to call on someone for help, but everyone always calls on you for help, so there's no need to feel guilty. There is a lot you want to get done by midweek, and some of it is going to seem impossible. Rest assured, it's not. When you and your best pals put your heads together, there's really not very much you can't do. Persevere and you will prevail. Even this weekend, an unexpected (and positive) outcome is going to prove that the world is aligned in your favor
You were all gung-ho about your career just a couple days ago, but at the start of the week, you're not so sure. The thing is, you haven't really figured out what you want yet, so it's hard to know if you like what you have. You're in a good place, but could you be in a better place? Hard to say. Midweek, it's worth asking a friend you respect (and who is in love with their career) for some advice. On Friday and over the weekend, plan to spend some time with people who have nothing to do with your professional life whatsoever. Take your mind off things. Have some fun.
You're happy to help people out on Monday, but you're not exactly thrilled about your suspicion that people are perhaps taking advantage of you. Is that what's happening? Or are you just being over-sensitive? Friends -- they can be so confusing. Just keep your wits about you, and the moment you feel like someone might be taking you for a ride, call them on it, especially Wednesday. (Nothing commands more respect than just being upfront with people.) On Friday or possibly over the weekend, someone you adore is going to ask you for some help, and you're going to be perfectly happy to do whatever they need.
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