Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

After the Show: Ron Pope & Taylor Bickett

Sean Alexander
Ron Pope performs with a full band at The Triple Door, Feb. 27, 2024, Seattle WA.

15 years ago musician Ron Pope, who had previously been making music in obscurity, released his album “Daylight,” launching his career and turning him into an internationally known independent artist. Pope looks at the release of this album as a demarcation: there is him as an artist before this album and then him as an artist afterward. 

That’s where the decision to conduct a 15th anniversary tour of the album came from, a desire to revisit the turning point of his career. The album tells an amalgamation of the stories of that period of life, the lived experiences of a young twenties musician moving through the world.

We had the opportunity to chat on the phone the day after the first show of his tour.

SA: I noticed on your Instagram that you put ‘father’ and ‘husband’ before you put ‘maker of music.’ And so with being on the road, being on tour, how is the balance between you the musician, and you the family man?

RP: At home, I have so many more hours to spend with my family than if I was a dentist, let’s say. Right. I’m working from home. I’m taking my co-writes at my house, I’m practicing in my house, and so my life when I’m not on the road is really rooted in the house unless I’m in the studio. … You know, I’m a husband and a father first and that’s who I am. And while I love my music and it’s part of me, certainly, I mean it’s what I do—that’s not who I am anymore.

SA: What, do you think it was with Daylight that caused it to be that pivotal moment to resonate with listeners so much?

RP: I have absolutely no idea. I think that nobody knows when they’re making a hit record. I mean, maybe, I dunno. Quincy Jones probably knows when he’s making a hit record, but I certainly don’t… So I just try to make art that I believe in. 

SA: And then kind of tying into people’s response when you make music, are you hoping to evoke a certain experience or a certain feeling in your listeners? 

RP: I write for myself and then I edit for my audience. I sit down and I write and I see where my mind takes me… I get a sense of, ‘oh, we could do this, we could do that. We could tell this story, we could speak on this.’ And that is part of the magic. You spend your whole life learning to be a songwriter, and that is a trade… but the magic is that somewhere you have to sprinkle some fairy dust on the thing, and that’s when you make a song that people care about and that people react to… I’m trying to make stuff that makes me feel inspired.

SA: Is there anything you want to talk about, the tour, any other projects you’re currently working on or really anything in general that you would like to speak on?

RP: Hmm. Well, this tour is something that I’m so excited about because we’re celebrating this album that I have loved so much and is so special to me. And we put together an incredible band. It’s the first time I’m touring with a band, like a big full band in four years… So I’m just excited for people to see this evening and experience it.

SA: I normally ask this first, but mainly ’cause of my own curiosity, and I like asking everyone this question is, what are you listening to right now?

RP: What am I listening to right now? Let’s see… Tyler Childers’s Country Squire album. So that was the very last thing I listened to. And then, let’s see what else is in here. I got the Eagles in here. Kaitlin Butts, Bella White, Joy Oladokun, Jensen McCray, Robbie Hecht, Rod Stewart and lots of children’s songs.

Opening for Pope on this tour is Taylor Bickett, a singer-songwriter new to touring who just released a single with Pope.

Taylor Bickett performs at the Triple Door, Feb. 27, Seattle, WA. (Sean Alexander)

SA: If you had to pick a song of yours to play to someone who has never heard your music, which song would it be and why? 

TB: This is a hard question… I would probably say “QUARTER LIFE CRISIS” because, aside from being my most well-known song, it’s also just really honest and vulnerable, with a little self-deprecating humor, which I think sums up my personality pretty well. 

SA: What was it like creating “I’m Not the Devil” with Ron Pope? 

TB: Prior to the tour, we talked about recording a duet, which was first of all a tremendous honor, as I’ve been a fan of Ron’s for a long time. “A Drop In The Ocean” was the first song I ever learned on guitar! He sent me “I’m Not the Devil,” and I fell in love with the story of the song. There’s something so raw and nostalgic about it. We had a great time recording it too.

SA: You have your new music coming out soon. Anything you would like to say about it? 

TB: My new single, “I Like Mondays,” comes out this Friday, March 1. I feel so deeply connected to this song, and it feels incredibly special that people on the internet have already connected with it as well. It’s about my battle with perfectionism, and at its core, the song is an affirmation, a reminder that we all deserve grace. I hope that it can bring comfort to other people the way it has for me.

Throughout the concert, Pope shared stories about love for his family as well as eclectic little stories about his life and the events that inspired his music. 

If you’re ever out to a trivia night and they ask you the question: What musician wishes Caddyshack was on the TV every time he presses the power button? The answer is Ron Pope.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *