There isn’t an artist alive who hasn’t had their world upturned by 2020, that’s just a fact. For Ron Pope though, his life upheaval started a little bit earlier and his music has changed with it.
It was 2018 when he became a father and as anyone who has ever had a child will tell you, the world spins a little differently once they put that newborn baby in your arms. Not long after that, a terrifying incident where he narrowly sidestepped an armed robbery attempt further changed Pope’s perspective on a lot of things. All of a sudden, mortality was a real thing. He wasn’t just living for himself anymore, he had a family to protect and provide for.
Consequently, Pope ditched an album’s worth of recording sessions and regrouped, spending the bulk of 2019 crafting a much more introspective collection of songs. When all was said and done, his album Bone Structure dropped on March 6th of 2020, unfortunately just five days before the World Health Organization declared a worldwide pandemic. As the world lit itself on fire, all subsequent tour dates, promotion, and everything else was cancelled. His plans, destroyed. His album cycle, uprooted. His business model, decimated. Tough for any artist to withstand but damn near murderous to an independent.
As the pandemic wore on with no end in sight, Pope opted to utilize the time as a gift instead of a setback. Splitting his focus between spending time with his young family and creating new music, Pope has been releasing a new song every other week since late July. With the calendar (thankfully) running out of days in 2020, January 7th is the date circled for his first release of the new year in the form of “Minneapolis Cold.”
“Minneapolis Cold” is about a time in my life when I ran hot,” outlines Pope. “In that stretch, I seemed to exclusively attract the ‘Do you think we can jump from this roof to the next one’ sort of folks. I met a girl who described the smell of dope cooking up in her childhood living room, running away from the Pentecostal Church or the idea of America or her grandmother or the sound of her own voice in her head, I don’t even know; she talked a great deal but said very little.
“Some days, I woke up in love. Other days, I woke up in a holding cell. She was there and then she was gone and someone else took her place lying to me and daring me to gamble with my life and my sanity; the details changed but the meat of it all seemed to stretch on indefinitely. Then one day, I decided to put all that down and grow up a little. It’s exhausting just talking about this; I have no idea how I lived it. I’m glad it’s over.”
Gliding along intensely angelic harmonies “Minneapolis Cold” is a realization, a waking from a foggy state of mind to that initial clear-headed view. Almost like scenes in a movie, you hear the cobwebs shake loose as Pope realizes how he not only got to where he is in that moment and where he needs to go.
“For a long time, because I was so lost, it seemed that I only met other lost people. It’s like I stepped off the trail and wandered into the woods; everybody else out there had also rambled off and gotten lost. Sometimes, I’d think somebody was my best friend for a few weeks, or I’d fall head over heels in love for a weekend and then it was like I’d come back to consciousness after hitting my head. This is the story of one of those momentary absences from reason; some of it actually describes the exact moment that I came back to my sense. ‘I don’t think that I love you…’”