New York-based singer songwriter Ronand Michael "Ron" Pope (born on July 23, 1983 and raised in Marietta, Georgia) has a song that got 20 million views on YouTube and was played on several television shows, yet he remains unsigned and a virtual unknown. How did this come to be? While studying at New York University, Pope joined a songwriting circle that included fellow students and future band mates Zach Berkman and Paul Hammer. They formed the District with Chris Kienel, Will Frish and Mike Clifford. Following success as a college band, the band toured America for two years and recorded four albums. In 2005, Pope and Berkman wrote "A Drop in the Ocean." The song became an internet hit and was featured on The Vampire Diaries, 90210 and So You Think You Can Dance. Javier Colon, season 1 winner of NBC’s The Voice, covered the song as the first single off his debut album. The song’s success led Pope to pursue a solo career. A prolific writer, he has released nine solo albums independently since 2007.
Pope performed for his largest crowd yet as the headliner at Irving Plaza tonight. Much like Billy Joel, Elton John and Jackson Browne, Pope showed that while his greatest strength was in his sensitive side, he was also more than eager to pump the beat and rock out on his guitar and keyboard. While the average New York man is prone to be guarded about his emotions, Pope swung in the opposite direction with soul-penetrating and seemingly personal lyrics about love, loss and finding one’s inner path back to a healthy and harmonious being. The deep and delicate ballads accentuated his solid and sincere singing voice. Despite these strengths, Pope gave up something for the guys, and that was a few searing guitar-based rockers. Pope proved tonight that he was a worthy example of an up-and-coming artist who, via an internet-savvy public, has found his unique path to success without succumbing under the mercy of powerful record companies.