Since 2006 Brooklyn based, singer songwriter Ron Pope has been gaining significant amounts of attention. His track A Drop In The Ocean has almost 30 million hits on YouTube since it’s initial release. Performances on the likes of MTV’s TRL and the use of his music on popular TV shows such as Vampire Diaries has spread the word of his music globally.
Even as an independent artist, Pope's gigs attract the same numbers as musicians signed to major labels. His current tour is selling out dates right across the States and in Europe, and demand for the singer songwriter is stronger than ever. Ahead of two Irish dates this weekend Ron spoke to Goldenplec about life on tour, visiting Dublin and advice he would offer independent musicians.
His current tour will see him travel all over the UK and continental Europe before finishing up in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the end of March, but for Pope, the touring experience is an enjoyable one.
"I've been so many places and I've never been anywhere that I didn't enjoy playing," he told Goldenplec. "That feels like a cop out answer, but it's the honest truth. I used to play in bars where no one cared if I showed up. These days, wherever I play, people come and they are enthusiastic. You can't really beat that as an artist."
Ron has played Dublin before but has not yet had the time to discover it properly. He told Goldenplec that is he looking forward to enjoying some down time with friends in the city over the next few days before the show. “I'm hoping to see some sights. I have friends in the city, so hopefully we'll raise some hell.”
Despite not spending too much time in Ireland in the past, Ron is enthusiastic about Irish Music. “On my last tour, Gavin James opened for me,” he said. “Gavin is an incredible up and coming Irish artist with a gorgeous voice [and he's a really nice guy]. I've been a U2 fan my entire life; The Edge's playing has always influenced my approach to the use of effects as a guitarist. I saw them live a few years ago and it was positively life-altering."
While major signed acts such as U2 and Arcade Fire might be some of his main influences, knows that his path as an independent artist Ron has to be a different one. He is happy however to share advice with unsigned acts. "Be prepared to do hard, focused work for a long, long time. It's not 1995; no one will find you singing in a cafè, think you're incredibly talented and throw five million dollars worth of promotions behind you.
"You're going to have to build your own brand, be a business person, produce, write, perform; all the things that used to fall under the "A&R" or "development" arms of a label are now up to you.
"To get to the top, you'll need to be prepared to outwork everyone else around you. Don't go out trying to find a manager/label/agent/producer when you don't have anything happening; create something legitimate on your own and people will come find you."
Ron Pope will play Madela Hall, Belfast on 1st of February and Vicar Street in Dublin on the 2nd. Tickets available via usual outlets.