Interview with Charlie Rogers
Let’s talk about your latest single, “When He Was Me.” What drew you to this song?
“When He Was Me” is one of those songs that strikes you instantly, at least that’s how it felt to me. I heard it the first time in Joshua Gleave’s studio here in Nashville. I’d come in for a session & he was working on a few tweaks for the demo that Shay (Mooney) had put down. As he was working on it, I listened through the song & became immediately obsessed. I’m truly a sucker for a really good ballad, especially one that rips your heart out, so when I found the song MIA on the forthcoming Dan + Shay album at the time, I knew I had to ask if I could track it & much to my utmost joy, Shay said yes! What I love about “When He Was Me” that it speaks so eloquently to this profound regret we all have felt at one point or another when we looked around to find love lost. It doesn’t shy away from the games we play with ourselves & others where we do our best to keep up appearances, all the while being completely & utterly wrecked underneath.
What was the recording process like?
I’m a pain to record with, I’m sure Josh will attest to that. I’m very particular & often times when a track isn’t going in the way I feel it should it sends me spiraling. Not outwardly so, I bottle that up until I reach a point where I have to speak up & say “um, I’m sorry, can we start over or re-record all of these bits?” I don’t know if there’s a song of mine where I haven’t done that. For “When He Was Me,” I think we went through two or three versions of this song. The first one was a little more produced, more in line with the rest of my songs where it rides the corners of pop, rock, & country, but it just didn’t feel right. The next iteration was very similar to the one you’re listening to today except for I loathed my vocal on it. So, it got to be re-cut about four months after we’d declared the project “done.” In truth, I’ve actually had this song finished & sitting on my hard drive since 2020, it was just a hurdle & a half to get all of the ducks in a row on the business side to get the song released.
What got you into music, and if you hadn’t gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My parents got me into music, kind of against my will. You see my father had this philosophy that he needed to raise “well rounded children” with a variety of skills, talents, & interests. Kids who had tried out as much as they could & found the niche and while in theory, I think this was a great idea, it went a little too far in practice. I got into music because I was forced into piano lessons at the age of six. Now that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it once I was in it, but my parents were also mostly self-taught musicians & singers and they wanted us to be able to share that ability with the world ourselves. As far as the second portion of your question goes, I have rampant ADHD so the list of career possibilities that I would have been ‘fine’ with seems endless. I at one point was going to study marine biology & veterinary science, I wanted Adam Sandler’s job from the movie 50 First Dates. Additionally, I looked into work in the culinary arts, even going so far as to look at schools in London and France. The one thing I can tell you I would absolutely never be doing is working a desk job. Not to be dramatic, but I feel like that would be the death of me.
What do you like to do when you’re not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Well, much like yourself, I too run a blog! It’s a weekly thing that varies wildly week to week in topics. Some weeks it’s a travel blog, some weeks it’s a recipe site or a story blog, sometimes it’s political commentary or social outreach, other times it’s simply promotional or a place to air my thoughts. New postings get added each weekend, typically on Friday evening, but sometimes on Saturdays if there’s too much content to discuss or if my week was extra hectic. Additionally, I’m quite an adept amateur chef; I often get asked to cook for friends & family and have basically become the head of more and more Thanksgivings as the years go by. With my love for cooking comes my love for food & I am a massive fan of a bangin’ restaurant. Tasting menu, dive, doesn’t matter. If the food is impeccable and/or there’s a story to tell you’ll find me all over it. I’m also a diver, I find a lot of inspiration in nature, especially in the ocean where I typically film my expeditions & later piece them together into content. My creativity comes from connectivity; the way we express ourselves, our cultures, our history. The way the earth rises to meet us & we rise to meet it. I think that is the through-line in all of these things that ignites my creative spark. Connectivity.
You are based out of Nashville, how does that influence your craft?
Nashville is such an odd duck of a place. I’ve lived here now for around thirteen years, which is absolute insanity to me. I think the thing here that has influenced my craft the most has to be the people. When you’re writing, especially co-writing, you can’t help but pull from your collaborators’ experiences. Even if the idea and the song are your own, the influences of someone else’s viewpoint on that is inescapable. The same goes for production. Producers are going to be influences not only by the music they love and grew up on, but also their experience and what has paid off in the past. We’re all partially a product of our environment & my tenure here is no exception.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
I actually had a memory pop up on my timeline this morning from one! It was quite a few years ago now, but I opened for Brothers Osborne in Kansas City! The show was packed, hundreds of people there, & we ended up hanging out with the band until about four in the morning when their manager kicked us off their bus so that they could get to the show they had the next night. I also did a tour with Janelle Arthur that was more of a musical review. The entire show line was about a month and a half straight on the road and I got really close with all of the people involved with the production. There are still several songs from that set that I can’t listen to without laughing because of all of the on stage shenanigans that constantly happened.
What is your favorite venue to play at? Any dream venues?
KC Live at the Power & Light District in Kansas City is always a blast & I always love the care & attention put into The Bowery Vault here in Nashville. Additionally, Analog is an excellent venue. It’s vibe-y, it always sounds incredible, and it’s almost set up ‘in the round.’ I don’t necessarily know if I have any outside of those that I’ve played but I’d love to play Red Rocks, The Hollywood Bowl, and I have a black & white photo of Madison Square Garden that has “sell me out” written in red sharpie over it staring me down at the moment, so that should probably also make the list.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Oof, that’s a hard one. I have such a broad variety of music that I love so we’re going to treat this more like a day of a festival lineup, with the show starting in the afternoon so that I can cram more acts that I love into it while still maintaining a show that makes sense for me to be a part of. Going in reverse order: Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran, Paul McCartney, Keith Urban, The 1975, Dan + Shay, Sam Hunt, Kacey Musgraves, Lady A, then just insert me somewhere in there.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Stop pretending. Stop trying to make music that isn’t reflective of you just because it’s what’s popular. Stop trying to pigeonhole yourself into an artist that you’re not, be you and be original because at the end of the day that’s the thing that makes an artist an artist. It’s the outward expression of who they are underneath & the life experience that is uniquely their own.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I have a few that are yet to be release that were born from deep places of hurt and life, but if I’m going with the songs that I have released I’m probably going to pick either “Jericho” or “June Night.” “Jericho” came from a time when I’d gone through a horrific breakup and found myself guarded and bitter. I really wrote the song as an open letter to myself. On the other side of things, we have “June Night,” which if you can’t find it, lives under my former project “The Charlie Rogers Band.” “June Night” was a song I didn’t have a major hand in writing, but that still conveyed an almost mirror image of an exact moment in my life. “June Night” is pure nostalgia for me, “Jericho” is pure recovery.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I’ve always strove for vulnerability in my music. I want people to feel seen when they listen to a song of mine, to be able to take these three to four minute pieces of myself & apply it to their lives. I guess it all goes back to connectivity. I tend to make music that has a hard time finding exactly where it belongs along the genre lines & I like that place of the uncomfortable, because that’s where we as people live. No one is just one thing or the other, we are all a mishmash of a million different facets that create one entirely unique being.
Can we expect a music video for “When He Was Me”?
Errrr, we’re going to leave it as a “we’ll see.” If it does appear I think it will do so in the form of a one-shot video or something else simple & not overly produced.
Where can fans find you online?