What do you get when you mix a Louisiana-bred, Watts, CA-raised, church-boy with a family history deeply rooted in music and rich in talent? Meet keyboard aficionado and super-producer Ervin "EP" Pope, whose accomplishments in the music industry are nothing short of amazing! Having been exposed to and a student of many genres of music throughout his life, EP says: "I take a little bit from each of those genres, blend it in like gumbo, and I just make good music." EP started playing the piano at the age of eleven for a church in Watts, CA where his beloved uncle was pastor. His uncle replaced an old piano at the church and gave it to EP's family with the hopes that his oldest sibling would take an interest in playing. Piano lessons passed through a few siblings, neither of which displayed a real interest in or talent for the art. EP, the fourth of six children, expressed an interest in playing the piano of his own volition. He would often be the first one up in the morning and would go straight to the piano--waking everyone else up, play late into the evening or whenever the "spirit" moved him, much to the dismay of his brothers and sisters! However, as it goes with a talent that you truly embrace and have a passion for, he would not be deterred! He practiced and played relentlessly, honing and perfecting his craft, and it soon became evident that this boy was born to play! The passion and creativity he possessed led him to form an all-male gospel group, Perfect Number, which performed at his home church and several others throughout the Los Angeles area for several years. EP also penned several of his own gospel productions during this time. Though his gift has taken him beyond the walls of the church/gospel ministry and into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry, he remains humble, grounded, and faithful to his first love and his first call of duty – ministering for the Lord. He still plays for the church/pastor under which he received his training and got his start. Realizing that working a '9 to 5' was severely hampering his ability to indulge his passion and pursue his aspirations in the music industry, EP took a huge leap of faith, said goodbye to the corporate world, and has moved full speed ahead without looking back! His gift is his bread and butter; hence, he has become a master on the keys! He is a self-supporting producer with an independent, fully-stocked studio and his own production company, The Furnace Music Group. His productions are fresh, unique, have a flavor all his own, and his talent knows no boundaries! His awesome talent and genuine love for what he does is evident in every stroke and every note! He has proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with and that he will not be deterred! He is a consummate professional and his relentless pursuit of a career in the music industry has forced the best in the business to take note and bring him on their projects as keyboardist, producer, and/or executive producer. The work and accolades continue to flow! EP's body of work includes: Janet Jackson (Damita Jo); Brandy (Afrodisiac); Ne-Yo (In My Own Words); Angie Stone (The Art of Love and War); Jay-Z (The Blueprint 2.1); G-Unit (Beg for Mercy); Ben Harper (Fight for Your Mind, Welcome to the Cruel World); Common (Be); Syleena Johnson (Chapter 3: The Flesh); Diddy (Press Play); Twista (Kamikaze); Kurupt (Digital Smoke); Kanye West (The College Dropout, Late Registration); Dorasel (Unleash the Beast); Snoop Dogg (Snoop Dogg Presents…Doggyhouse Allstars: Welcome to Tha House, Vol. 1); The Game (The Documentary, The Doctor's Advocate, LAX, Life After the Math); Mack 10 (Soft White); Michael Jackson Motown Re-release (Universal); Glasses Malone; Murs; Rick James; Jamie Foxx; Swizz Beatz; Eve/Ruff Ryders; DJ Skee; A.J. Jamal; Rodney Perry; Chris Spencer; and many more. He shares credits for several Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified Gold and Platinum Sales Awards, which are proudly displayed in his studio. Scoring and Theme Credits include: Mission Impossible 3; Undisputed, Banged Out (Blockbuster); C Walk (Documentary); My Wife & Kids (ABC); 2005 Classic Comic View (BET); Dance 360 (UPN); Video Hot Mix (UPN); Starbucks Double Shot Commercial; Deion & Pilar: Prime Time Love (Oxygen); and Bastards of the Party (HBO Documentary). EP has been featured in interviews for DUBCNN.com, newsblaze.com, iBEATtheODDz.com, LOUD.com, Brandon Magazine (now 360 Magazine, ThreeSixtyMagazine.com), and has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. His most recent accomplishments include working with one of the most coveted and respected producers in the business, Dr. Dre; and licensing several of his music productions for use on some of the most popular television shows on the air today: Bad Girls Club, Untitled Bad Girls Club Dating Show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Khloe & Kourtney Take Miami, The Real World/Road Rules Challenge, and Styl'd. Route 101, EP's five-piece jazz band consisting of top-notch instrumentalists and formed in 1997, has also enjoyed great success and is still going strong. They have a large, loyal fan base and have been actively pursued to provide the musical entertainment for several private and corporate events, to include weddings, receptions, anniversary parties, birthday parties, holiday events, church functions, and much more! They were a featured act at the popular Monsoon Café at 3rd Street Promenade, Sunday Brunch at Delzano's by the Sea, and have hosted the hugely popular and successful Route 101 Mother's Day Gala for several years. If Jazz, Soul, Neo-Soul, R&B, Blues, and Gospel music are your flavor, Route 101 will take you there! The band is currently working on the release of their first jazz CD featuring all-original productions, which will be available soon. In addition to his musical talents, EP also has a big heart and a passion for mentoring the youth, particularly young men growing up in a similar environment and circumstances he did. He formed and leads a mentoring group called the "Big Homies", which organizes community forums open to the public where youth, parents, and all who are interested can share and learn valuable life lessons, survival strategies, success stories and tips from knowledgeable and experienced individuals from all walks of life: law enforcement, the judicial system, the entertainment industry, business men and women, clergy, former gang members, drug addicts, convicts, and more. Big Homies has made a difference in the lives of many youngsters by being positive role models, providing guidance, support, sponsoring outings, and other outreach efforts. EP's recipe for success is no secret: putting God first, faith in God, faith in himself, trusting his instincts, hard work, determination, ambition, drive, perseverance, commitment, reliability, excellence, and giving back, to name a few. Ervin Pope can be contacted through Facebook and his MySpace page: epmusic1.
The legendary multi-platinum hit making machine, Ervin “EP” Pope sat down with us to talk about his process when it...