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The 99% Episode #4 with Charlie Rogers

If you are looking for someone to give you a blend of country music with a touch of pop, let us introduce you to country singer Charlie Rogers. Nashville-based singer characterizes both genres skillfully like no other. He pulls string from both avenues as he conveys a storytelling musical journey. He is influenced by top-tiered artists like The Beatles, Keith Urban, and so many more. Since 2010, he’s developed a strong passion for writing and performing which led him to attend the Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Charlie’s past accomplishments include opening for the Brothers Osborne, toured with American Idol artist Janelle Arthur, and performed an event with Russell Dickerson and Jordan Kyle Reynolds. It could be his southern charm, but there’s no doubt, his talents as a singer as us in awe. Listen and read his interview on the 99 Percent Podcast below.

Listen To Charlie Rogers’ 99 Percent Podcast Interview Below:

[00:00] Steereo:

Hi guys, thanks for listening to The 99%, I’m Sean Mackenzie and today we are here with country-pop singer Charlie Rogers.

Charlie Rogers:

Thank you for having me.

Steereo:

We’ll get right into it. You’re originally from Kansas but relocated to Nashville a couple of years back. How was it growing up in Kansas, and what eventually pushed you to move to Tennessee?

Charlie Rogers:

I was actually born in Portland, Oregon and was there until I was about four. Then I moved to Kansas where I kind of split time going back and forth between there and Oregon for a while as well. During my time in Kansas I spent about three total years of that time in Oregon as well. In Kansas, I grew up about an hour outside of Kansas City in Overland Park. It’s kind of suburban and kind of rural at the same time. It changed to be much more suburban now. Things definitely move at a slower pace out there then they do in New York I’m sure. But I kind of fell in love with music while I was in Kansas. I started with piano, eventually went to cello, and that kind of blossomed my love for music. From there, I started writing songs and singing, and wanting to pursue all of that as a career. It became more than just a hobby, it became my passion and what I love to do and what gives me life. . That’s how I ended up in Nashville and up at Belmont University, studying music. I got a degree from there and here I stayed.

Steereo:

You previously mentioned playing several instruments growing up. Can you tell us about your earliest memory of playing music and getting interested in music?

Charlie Rogers:

It’s not so much a memory of mine, but there is actually video of me at like 2 or 3, and there’s a video of me running down the side of the hill singing “the hills are alive with the sound of music.” There’s a bunch of old footage of me running around singing things. There’s a memory my mom has of me escaping the church child care and I’m running down the center of the aisle asking where my microphone was. Music’s kind of always been a constant, so it’s hard to pinpoint where that blossomed.

Steereo:

You have this really cool musical mix; something you can obviously hear on a country station, but on a pop channel as well. What inspired this country, pop, sound that you wield so naturally?

Charlie Rogers:

I grew up listening to the music of the sixties seventies. My dad was a big Beatles, Eagles, fan, so I grew up on that southern rock. The Beatles are pop rock, but I grew up on that kind of sound. From there, I developed into more of a rock sound. I was a huge Green Day fan of for a long time. I didn’t pick up country until my sister got really involved in it. Rascal Flatts, Dixie Chicks, she loved Reba McEntire. She would play music all the time, so overtime she wore off on me and I picked it up as well. That’s where I really started writing songs. When I got into  country music in my early teens, I also started writing songs of the songs. What I was writing was more in that country vein, but the music that I listen to now, and my influences throughout my later teens became a little more on the pop side. Ed Sheeran, the 1975, and I really wanted to pull from all my influences. All the people, all the bands that led me here; all the sounds that I love, and make a sound that was truly me and what my musical journey has been.

Charlie Rogers via Facebook

Steereo:

You’re in Nashville now, the epicenter of country music. What was breaking into the music industry like? How did you transition from doing something for the love to doing it as a business, professionally?

Charlie Rogers:

I was fortunate. I started this band while I was at Belmont, The Charlie Rogers Band, you can find more of our stuff online, it’s there too. We played at Belmont’s Country Showcase. Essentially, there are different showcases for rock, pop, country, and anyone can apply, you don’t have to be a certain age. And they had one hundred people apply, narrowed it down to four, and we became one of the four bands as freshman, along with only seniors. That really kick started things. They tend to invite quite a few people that have pull in the industry to that event, and we got on that event. Then we got hit up by Billy Block who had a radio show out of Nashville. He was in charge of putting Keith Urban Radio for the first time and things like that. We got some radio play, and we just kind of took off. Went on college tours, so the transition I had into the music industry was more abrupt, and seamless.

Steereo:

Thinking about your music, your song Too Many Miles is burning up the road on Steereo. It’s a story who is way too far from his love, or lust, depending on how you look at it. How did you come up with the premise?

Charlie Rogers:

It all started as a group write between myself, my roommate Evan, who writes on a bunch of my stuff, and then a mutual friend of ours, Leah Burkey. We were sitting around, going through voice memos as songwriters do, saying oh I’ve got this idea or I’ve got this idea. Even had one idea, and I come into this write with two writers who are younger than I am. They’ve been writing these bubble gummy songs, so I came in with this challenge wanting them to write this song that is a little raunchy and riskay, and outside their comfort zone. We were all pitching lines, and if I pitched a line they’d turn bright red out of sheer embarrassment. Yeah it was a very natural flow of a song. We started at the top of verse one, which is very strange for me because I usually start with the tag and write a song around that. Started with verse one, plowed through the chorus, did the tag.

Steereo:

I’ve heard the song a bunch of times, and my favorite lyric of the song is “I don’t care if the lights are on.” For some, they can see this as a lust of a statement, whereas to me, it sounds like you’re speaking to your lover, trying to make them feel comfortable in their own skin. Was this the angle you were going for?

Charlie Rogers:

Yes, and I definitely pushed very hard for that line. I also tried very hard to avoid any descriptors of the other person. We tend to pigeon hole people, with Brown Eyed Girl, or she’s blond, or whatever. So I wanted it to apply to everyone and anyone. The lights being on is something that says, I accept you for who you are, I see you for who you are. I’m 100% on board with you as a person as you look and as you are. I want you to be who you are and be comfortable with that.

Steereo:

I think that’s really important nowadays when body image and self-empowerment are a hot topic. To create this song where people of all types and shapes can relate to it, instead of being pigeonholed into an ideal person. Shifting gears into what it is for you to be an independent artist, I wanted to get your opinion on what it’s like being an independent artist. Right now, it’s something people are leaning toward for a lot of different reasons. Did I want to get your point of view of the benefits of independence?

Charlie Rogers:

I think the greatest thing about being an independent artist is creative control. Oftentimes a label will want to shape you and mold you into something they’re looking for or something they think people are looking for. That’s not always a good thing because sometimes they’ll take something truly unique and confirm and turn it into something that it’s not. I think that’s a great thing about the market we live in today. With independent artists, we have all these artists that can express themselves and create their own unique sound and not have to worry about the sales of it. I mean everyone is worried about how well their record is going to sell, but not worried about meeting quotas and, “are they going to get dropped because they don’t sound enough like this or that?” I think that’s the beauty of maintaining creative control. There are some major labels trying to allow artists to maintain their creative control of there there are some major labels trying to. Allow artists to maintain their creative control and it’s doing good work and it’s having some drawbacks at the same time because they have some artists that are putting out stuff that isn’t selling. The true beauty of the independent artist is not being told what to do and who to be.

Steereo:

What are your thoughts about music technology? Obviously, we spoke about being an independent artist. I feel that music technology has given the independent artist an opportunity to be discovered on their own terms. A lot of artists have mixed feelings about how technology has evolved the music industry in general, so I want to get your general perspective on how it shifted the landscapes and your thoughts on that?

Charlie Rogers:

It definitely has shifted the landscape, especially with streaming. There’s an argument called the death of the parking lot, and it’s essentially an argument about self driving cars. The argument is that we will get to the point where we have self driving cars, and the current rate now is that something like eighty five percent of the population doesn’t trust the self driving car. Self driving cars are a destructive technology, which means you have to take this new technology and destroy your preconceived notions of how a car works, and then rebuild around the self driving car, or in this case, streaming.

Watch Charlie Rogers on BalconyTV Singing Too Many Miles:

We went from selling albums to getting paid per stream, versus per sale. For these destructive technologies, for streaming, I really battled with how to make this work. There are people that have done a lot of research, and have put a lot of time and money in finding out how to make streaming work. I don’t think we’re going to see the death of artists like so many people are predicting, and writers will see more of the death of albums because if you look at the way a streaming chart works. If you drop an album and you look at your calendar year, your plays are going to spike when your album drops. Versus if you drop period singles throughout a year, you have multiple peaks throughout the year. In my mind, I see that as people are going to start dropping more singles to begin with, and then combining those into an album at the end of all of it. I have mixed feelings about streaming because I personally like the album. I think it’s a necessary step forward, and how we learn to use it is a completely different story.

Steereo:

It is definitely interesting to see how artists are packaging the old and the new. What artists are you currently listening to, and are inspired by, past and present?

Charlie Rogers:

That’s a tough one. I listen to so much music, I’m starting to find myself have a bit of music A.D.D. I used to grab an album and know every song backwards and forwards. Now I just don’t have the time for that. I’ll listen to every album that pops up on the new music channel, every Friday, and hit anything that comes on radio. So it’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I’m listening to now. I always go back to Ed Sheeran and the 1975. My constant channel in my car is the Beatles Channel as well as The Highway. Then I can switch over to new country and see what’s charting and what people are playing. I really pull from all of those things. I definitely think my main influences are the Beatles, Ed Sheeran, 1975, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, find the bullseye.

Steereo:

When someone hears Charlie Rogers for the first time, what would you like them to feel? What sort of emotions?

Charlie Rogers:

I always strive to connect with someone. I think connectivity is important because as an artist we have to connect to our fans and we have to make music that connects to people. I think that’s an important thing to strive for. Someone that no one can relate to doesn’t sell well. I definitely think I want somebody listening to me for the first time to feel connected to me. I want them to get an understanding of who I am. I want them to have a basic understanding of where I’m coming from and the things I value and the way I view people as a whole. I think if I’m boiling it down to one thing, connectivity. I think that’s the most Miss America answer I’ve ever given.

Steereo:

I want you to fill in the blanks. Music to me is…

Charlie Rogers:

Life and the pursuit of happiness.

Steereo:

Last but not least, who is Charlie Rogers? If you were describing yourself to someone, who would they say Charlie Rogers is?

Charlie Rogers:

Naturally, I’m have a music lover. I’m a foodie, an animal lover, a beach bum, I’m a cinephile, I love movies. At the end of the day, I’m a guy trying to meet people where they are, see people for who they are and who they want to be seen as, and I try to make good music along the way. Keep my head up, roll with the punches and stay humble. That’s a snapshot of me.

Listen To Charlie Rogers with J. Gleave- Brave

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Editor In Chief of The Pulse; A creative gal living in the City of Angels conquering the world with inspired writing about music.