Brandon Rogers turns Apathy into a cathartic, emotionally-charged musical experience

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Some people were meant for music and, in some cases, music was also meant for them. Such is definitely the case with Brandon Rogers. If you’re a fan of his from his American Idol days or just a fan period and you follow his journey on social media, you see how he literally lights up when he’s singing. That light is always something I find contagious whenever I am watching someone perform. Plus, as you’ll learn, Brandon has been surrounded by music from a young age.

If you know Brandon, you know that in addition to being so talented, he’s also a really good guy. I have had the privilege of hanging out with him a few times, so I’ve witnessed his kindness and humor but again, if you follow him on social, you see that shine through regularly. Some of my favorite posts of his are when he watches Idol and shows his support for the current contestants, gives his advice, and offers encouragement. He also showcases that sense of humor on the regular, so if you aren’t following him, make sure you do so!

His new song, ‘Apathy’ is a beautiful statement about moving past hurt and difficult relationship memories. It’s also a stunning video with lots of familiar faces (My very good friend Ronnie Kroell appears in it as well). I included it at the end of this interview for you to enjoy!

Now, let me allow you to experience a little of Mr Brandon Rogers:

Q: Your journey with music has taken you so many places. Tell us a little about how you got started, did you always know you had such talent and were you always ready to honor it?

Brandon Rogers: Thanks so much for the compliment! Music has always been a part of me; I’ve been singing pretty much my whole life. My mom and dad both sang around the house growing up and my mother was even an aspiring songwriter at one time – but as she would say life got in the way.  I’ve just always been immersed in musical energy.  I’ve played piano since I was 9, played sax in bands, sang in choir in school, studied vocal performance and jazz in college, then joined a boy band right after school.  I’m lucky to have parents that always supported and loved my musical aspirations.

Q: Speaking of journeys, your song and video ‘Apathy’ take listeners/viewers on a bit of an emotional one. Where did the inspiration for the song and video come from?

Brandon Rogers: I’m sure it goes without saying, but I love this song.  I loved writing it and it was cathartic emotionally in a way that I didn’t anticipate.  When it came time to figure out the visual medium, I just wanted to convey that no matter which side of a breakup you’re on there’s going to be some sort of residual emotion that is sometimes tricky to shake.  I wanted it to feel like I was simply the narrator while all the talented actors (some of which were real couples) displayed the range of emotions expressed in the song. The flashing Edison bulb is the device I used to bind all the scenarios. I’m really proud of how well the director (Rashsaan Patterson) realized the vision.  We then sat down and edited it ourselves until we felt it had the right energy.

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Q: Being an ‘American Idol’ alum, are you glad to see it return? What advice do you offer current/future contestants? What advice do you wish you had received when you were on the show?

Brandon Rogers: I’m always glad to see American Idol return.  It definitely holds a special place in my memory.  I made some friends that I’ll have for a lifetime and it got me out there in front of the public in a major way. The advice I would give to all contestants is to enjoy it while it’s happening.  It’s easy to get caught up in the future – meaning where you’ll end up/what will you sing next week/what happens afterwards/etc but I think it’s important to just be in the moment.  The experience is singular.  Relish it. What I wish I would’ve known was that when it’s over, it’s completely up to you what happens next.  It’s can be a springboard for your career, but YOU have to do the work.  It’s not just going to happen automatically and they won’t necessarily help.

Q: ‘Apathy’ brings up a great point. “The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s apathy”. That applies to personal relationships, but in our current situation, it also applies to much of the social and political issues we face today. Do you think there is a cure for the kind of apathy that exists in that context?

Brandon Rogers: Good catch. I wish I could say that I made it up but I borrowed it, with love, from the holocaust survivor/activist Ellie Wiesel. The quote starts “The opposite of love is not hate, its indifference.” I used it in relation to a relationship, but it’s original meaning were definitely more politically salient. To me, the hard part in avoiding political apathy is that we’re so inundated by information from every angle that every new tragedy or scandal has become routine. The only cure would be realization that we all have the agency to push for changes we want to see in the world.

Q: Will we be seeing/hearing a new album soon?

Brandon Rogers: Definitely.  I have most of it written already and I’ll be releasing them one by one as they’re finished. Next up is a song I wrote called “Weekend Love”. It’s an upbeat song about that moment when you start to realize a relationship is drifting from a casual thing on the weekends to something more serious. Should be out in the coming weeks.

Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?

Brandon Rogers: The one thing I can’t live without and the one thing I wish we could all live without are the same thing : my phone. It’s definitely a mass addiction.  Maybe we’d all connect a little more if we disconnected a bit online.

Q: Where can everyone find you online to keep up with all you have going on?

Brandon Rogers: The best way to find out what I’m into is to follow me on IG/Twitter @brandonrogersla and to subscribe to my YouTube page (I need followers!)

Q: What’s coming up next for Brandon Rogers?

Brandon Rogers: I’m going to try to release more music and video at a more regular pace.  First “Weekend Love” then either a song called “Science” or “Run”. I’m on the fence.  In the meantime, I’ve got a single out with an Italian DJ Matt Strike called “I Refuse” that I co-wrote with Will Jay. Additionally, I’m just going to keep on writing and being creative every day in hope of putting a more positive creativity into the world. 

Have you met David Hernandez?

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David Hernandez began singing at the young age of six. He was chosen for one of the lead roles for a local theater company, Valley Youth Theater and decided on a career singing and performing after his grandfather took him for the audition. He took vocal coaching and training at Voices, a vocal coaching studio in Arizona. His teacher has said that Hernandez trained “whenever he could afford it” as he wasn’t always financially stable.

When David was growing up, he was a gymnast and won medals in the Grand Canyon Olympics. He’s even tried his hand at acting and was in an independent film before he entered our living rooms on American Idol. At one time, he thought of becoming an entertainment show host (which I could totally see with his humor and personality). Before Idol, he worked various jobs, including singing on cruise ships as part of a singing group called Vinyl Four, working as a server at a pizza bistro, and working at night clubs. He was also part of a local Phoenix cover group called Tribe 7.

As a teen, David went to a Arizona State University and had a job selling knives door-to-door while majoring in broadcast journalism.

After American Idol, David Hernandez made his way to The Ellen DeGeneres Show (where he performed the song “In the Midnight Hour”) Today ShowAccess HollywoodTRL, and TV Guide Network’s Idol Tonight. He was asked to perform at The Children’s Hospital of New York Presbyterian where he sang “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and “In the Midnight Hour.”

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David has toured with Diana DeGarmo, Kimberley Locke and Chikezie on a 20-city Idol Holiday Tour but these days, he’s busy with his brand new album ‘Kingdom: The Mixtape’. The album is available everywhere you get your music and I’m hoping to get my hands on a physical, signed copy one of these days.

I had the absolute pleasure of seeing David perform in NYC (for a benefit for his friend Sly, who had fallen ill) last year and then meeting him for the first time since we became friends on social media. It felt like I was visiting an old friend rather than a first meeting. I have a feeling that it’s just part of his personality from what I have seen of him over the years.

I have to say, without exaggeration, David Hernandez is one of my very favorite voices. When I listen to his album, hear him singing on his Instagram, or when I see him sing in person; I feel the power and emotions behind it all. I have said that I put him right up there with Whitney Houston, which, for anyone who knows me, is the ultimate level.

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Check him out, follow him on social media, subscribe to him everywhere, because I have a feeling we are in for so much more! (Plus, he now has this adorable puppy he posts all the time!)

Here’s his music video for ‘Shield’ and be sure to subscribe to his channel!

And I couldn’t pick just one video, ‘Never Did’ is one of my favorites, so I had to show it off: