Interview: Ron Pope

Ron Pope is an established singer/songwriter from the United States who has built quite a fan base over here, and having listened to the new album I can understand why. The new release is ‘Atlanta’, his first album to see an Australian release. He will also be in Australia later this year to play some intimate shows. In the wake of the album release, and lead up to the Aussie shows I was able to question Ron a little about his music, the album and the tour.

When did you know you wanted to make music for a living?

I think at some point every kid says, “I want to be a rock star” or a ball player, or a movie star…something in entertainment that seems impossible. I realized that it might be possible for me to excel at this when I was in my third year of college. I joined a songwriting circle where I met some incredible writers and they all encouraged me. At that point, I figured, “If people this good think I can make it, I might have a shot.”

How did you get started in the music industry?

I always made music, and then when everyone else stopped and got a real job, I refused to. I spent a bunch of years living really broke, without health insurance, paying my rent by playing music in the subway. Then, gradually over the span of a few years, my fanbase grew online and started to become a substantial thing.

Atlanta is your recently released album, and the first we’ve seen released in Australia, can you tell us about it?

The thing I’m most excited about with the “Atlanta” album is that I was able to really reach out and experiment with the production in a way I never had before. We took a lot of seemingly disparate elements that I love and combined them to create something really distinctive. There are rootsy elements like fiddle and pedal steel, but also crazy guitars, giant harmonies, driving rhythms…lots of things I wanted to combine to create something that felt like me.

Ron Pope

How would you describe your musical style?

I do lots of different things. At the end of the day, I’m just trying to write songs that feel honest. Beyond that, you never know what you’re going to get out of me. I’m always trying to reach out and challenge myself in new ways, so sonically, I live in a lot of different places depending on where the muse leads me.

Where do you get your songwriting inspiration?

I know it may sound like l’m oversimplifying this, but honestly, I just pay attention. I’m doing my best to speak on things that feel universal and real.

November sees your first Australian tour. You are here for three shows, how did you pick your cities?

My incredible booking agent Paul Boswell (from Free Trade) usually tells me what he thinks and nine times out of ten that’s what we’ll do; he never leads me astray.

What has been your career highlight to date?

This year, I got to play an incredible show in London at a gorgeous venue called Union Chapel. The fans erupted when we hit the stage and the entire night was overwhelming from that instant on. I love the experience of connecting with my fans face to face; there’s nothing else like it.

Your three Australian shows are across 1 weekend, are you going to have time for any sightseeing?

I hope to sneak in at least a little bit of sightseeing while I’m in town! It would be a shame to travel all the way to the other side of the world and not get to do a bit of looking around.

Is there anything you particularly want to see while you are here?

I don’t know if this is a possibility, so please don’t tell me if it isn’t because it’ll break my heart, but I really want to hold a koala. If that koala could be a baby, I’d be even more excited.

(Yes, I’m pretty sure that’s something you could do Ron. You’d have to do some homework to find out where though.)

What’s next for Ron Pope?

I’ll be touring all over Europe in January, then I’m going to get to work on my next album! 2013 will be a busy year, for sure.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Ron, I hope you have a wonderful Australian tour, and all the best for a busy and successful 2013!

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