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.”