Updated: Aug 29, 2019
Chicago is known for many legends and Grammy Award-winning artists such as Kanye West, Earth, Wind, and Fire, and the late Sam Cooke. We now present another Chicago native, the sensational R&B/Soul artist, Dante’ Pope. Dante has worked and toured with incredible artists from Dom Flemons to Raheem DeVaughn, truly leaving a beat everywhere he goes.
“My start in music is quite frankly, me being born; I've been beating on things sense I was a kid,” Dante’ states. It all started with his grandmother giving him a lot of chopsticks, after she took notice of his musical gift. At three years old, Dante’ began playing for his local church with the help of his mother and father who was the church’s percussionist. “By the time I was nine, I went from my church’s children choir, to the old people choir,” Dante’ then lets out a big laugh. After his father transition to preaching, Dante’ then took over the role as the church’s percussionist.
Growing up in the music scenery of Chicago, Dante’ shares that he had access and was around huge musical stars during the nineties. He states, “Looking back, it’s humbling to know I had direct opportunities to these individuals.”
Moving along, he continued to evolve and pursue his craft, attending and studying at the Merit School of Music, in downtown Chicago. He states, “It was one of the most galvanizing experiences, a little boy from the west side of Chicago can have.” In college, because of the lack of musical majors, he moved on to study political science at the historical black college, Fisk University. There, he joined the inspirational ensemble, the Fisk Jubilee Singers.
We then asked Dante’ who inspires him; as he ponders on the thought, he decided to turn it around and speaks on what inspired him instead. He then says “Comedy. Specifically comedian/actor Damon Wayans, he’s a very funny guy and I love the way he delivers (comedy).” As these memories come back, he chuckles and speaks on when he was growing up. “You had “American Gladiator” at night and right after “In Living Color.”” Dante’ also loves making people laugh and is very much interested in comedy. He says artistically as another profession, he would certainly consider being a comedian. “It’s one of the bravest things to do, especially stand up,” he said.
Two years from now, Dante’ hopes to release three albums and perform at many festivals. “This way I can achieve the goal to get my message out and have my music be heard globally,” Dante’ states. He also aspires to meet new people and travel to as many countries as possible.
Apart from music Dante’ is dedicated to educating the youth with positive thinking and encouragement. “If we come to our kids, with the idea that we can save them, as an individual, then we have lost it already.” He says that it truly takes a village and eventually would like to open his own school.
Read more about who Dante’ Pope is with a closer look below.
If you didn't have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
If I didn’t have to sleep, I would read.
What would you tell an aspiring artist?
I would tell the artist to always have an artistic goal. As well as, to write down the vision you have and to be open to help, because you can’t do it alone.
Favorite Venue to Perform in D.C.?
I do, genuinely enjoy performing at the Songbyrd Music House and Record Café, as well as Black Cat D.C.
Dream collaboration with any artist that has passed or alive?
I would make a group with Sam Cooke, Gregory Porter, Whitney Houston, and Abbey Lincoln. With so many textures and soulful harmonies, it will create a powerful message.
What is the most memorable performance you have done to date?
My residency performances at the Strathmore in D.C., because usually I’m a percussionist but, I was able to present my vocal talent in a very focus way. Secondly, I would say opening for Raheem DeVaughn at the House of Blues Chicago, just me and my guitar singing jazz tunes. The crowd was so quiet, supportive, and focused on me.
In one word, what makes you musical style different from others?
In one word, I would say dreamy.
Magnified Topic of the Week: Dante Pope’s “After 5 Music” EP
Dante’s title “After 5 Music”, refers to the old saying “Letting your hair down.” Being able to be your true self in a relaxed environment. Dante expresses the many layers of who he is, as a solo artist. Inspired by barbershop tunes and artist like The Temptations. He creates the perfect mix of blues, gospel, and soul traditions.
Written by Dejah Moné