Growing up in Watts, it might be more challenging to find your purpose, but Ervin “EP” Pope’s life mission was laid out in front of him through his family and his faith. In a recent interview with the L.A. Sentinel, EP discusses his legacy in the world of music.
Ervin Pope has been in the music industry for over 25 years, he began his music ministry career 38 years ago, and has professionally done music since 1995. When asked how he stayed inspired, he said, “My natural ability to hear a song, pick it up, play it, and remember it retain it, and teach it and all those other great gifts that came along with it… and also when I saw the social the benefit to it how I was received and how I made other people feel, I fell in love with it.”
The Pope family was a musical family and the only one in their neighborhood to own a piano. Ervin would spend multiple hours after school learning the piano and his uncle, the Rev. Dr. Reginald Pope, pastor of a Bethel Baptist Church in South L.A., noticed his ability to pick up songs quickly.
Being well-versed in many musical genres (R&B, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Pop, TV, film scoring, Classic Rock, Gospel, etc.), Ervin describes faith as the corner stone of his career possessing God given talents to read, write, play, retain, and teach music. He began playing the organ for the church at the age of 16. Bussing from Watts to Sherman Oaks as a child, he learned to deal with different cultures while absorbing as much musical knowledge as possible between the two cities.
Discernment and legacy have been guiding principles for Ervin during his journey. He explains knowing when to walk away, when to be still, when to stop, and when to go, has allowed him to stay relevant in his work. He says legacy is also very important to him.
“Key words are quality, integrity and professionalism. The way this world is, especially this industry, without teaching them and leading them (artists), the art is dying. God is allowing me to be touchable, and he’s keeping me in a place to be relatable which makes me approachable which makes me teachable,” said Ervin.
Sharing one of his most memorable moments in the industry, Ervin remembers encouraging his good friend and rapper, Scarface, to keep sharing his gifts as a Hip-Hop legend.
“He was done with music, he was done with rapping, and I convinced him that he wasn’t done, that he still had it in him. He was still viable. He still had an audience that needed him,” recalled Ervin.
He adds writing hooks, producing songs, and adding new artists into the mix ultimately earned him the role as executive producer of Scarface’s album, “Deeply Rooted.”
EP is currently working on his fourth Jazz album, “Anomaly,” while also working with MAEZ301 for their upcoming album, collaborating with comedian Mike Epps, and building a foundation to give back and provide resources to the community.
He still plays music for two churches, explaining, “It’s more of a ministry for me. It’s just a way of life. It’s something that I am going to be doing because that’s what I’ve been called to do. Everything is music.”
Perseverance, humbleness, and dedication to sound and its ministry has awarded Ervin Pope many accolades amongst his peers in music and in film. He owns his own production company, The Furnace Music Group, where he continues to assist other artists in their careers while serving his community.
“If I can do it, they can do it. I’m just a kid from Watts, California, who had the audacity to dream about something. Not only dream about something, but when I woke up, I put my dreams to action, and if you do that and follow the golden rule, and also if you put God first, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish,” insisted Ervin.
“And you’re supposed to go further than I am because part of the road is already paved.”