J Pope and the HearNow hope that their music will do two things for you: 1. Improve your day, and 2. Refresh your perspective about the lives we all live and the spaces we share. The HearNow’s sound is a musical exploration into the deepest pockets of soul and hip-hop, lined with the dirty sonic lint of funk, as well as the sudden, sometimes unexpected twists of bebop and funk fusion. The music is topped with the lyrics of front woman, J Pope, who ziggs and zaggs between clever lyrical melodies and rapid-fire rhymes with a free-feeling flow and a sophisticated swagger.
J Pope fell in love with music in the church… “like a lot of people”, she admits. The semi-regular Sunday morning appearances by The Fleming Sisters in J’s church inspired her to want to connect with people through musical performance, “the way they would perform, the emotion they would give, and the emotion it would evoke in the people who were there” made her want to become a performing artist. At home, her parent’s often played the records of classic soul artists like Curtis Mayfield, and Sam Cooke. As she grew up, she was greatly inspired by the quintessential DC Go-go artists like Chuck Brown, Rare Essence, and The Junkyard Band. All that said, when you watch and listen to J Pope, its hard to not connect her to trailblazing black female vocalists like Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan, Lauryn Hill and fellow DC-area native, Me’shell Ndegeocello. “I think there is an internal rhythm and spirit that we all have inside… and that’s what brings us together as people”… it brought the members of J Pope and the HearNow together, and its what they hope brings the listeners of their music together, too.
When J Pope and the HearNow’s debut album, Soul Searching (2017), came out, Baltimore Magazine said that it perfectly “…highlights the fast-paced finesse of frontwoman Jasmine Pope and showcases the masterful improvisation of her dexterous band mates. From the highs of frenzied funk rhythms to the lows of slow burning jazz numbers, the HearNow touches on the ups and downs of living as a working artist. This Album is Exhibit A of the talent, dedication and hard work it takes.”
The band started in Baltimore around 2010 playing open mics, house parties, community events, and small clubs. Their head-turning live show has led to shows for thousands of people on The National Mall, on tour from North Carolina to Colorado, as well as requests to share the stage and open for acts such as Esperanza Spalding, Robert Randolph, The Wailers, The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as well as Tank and the Bangas. Eventually a phrase started getting tossed around calling the band “one of Baltimore’s best kept musical secrets”. Humbled and honored by this recognition, the band is making it part of their mission to get the secret out.