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. 

Kenyth Mogan Dives into the Holy Water

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Kenyth Mogan last took us over the rainbow with his Wizard Of Oz LGBTQ video for his song ‘Unlock Your Heart’ which featured a great friend of mine, Ronnie Kroell as the Tin Man. That music video has garnered over 2 million views to date and now he is following it up with his latest song ‘Holy Water’, which tackles the very serious subject of addiction.

I got to speak with Kenyth about the song and a few other topics recently, and as usual, it was a refreshing conversation.

Q: Your new song, ‘Holy Water’ is about someone struggling with addiction. Tell us a little more about it. Is it something close to your own heart?

Kenyth Mogan: Yes. It’s one of the reasons I gravitated to this song (it was written by Tim Feehan and Tiffany) feel like a lot of people can relate to the struggles of a loved one grappling with addiction – especially in the LGBT community.  It’s a situation I’ve found myself in on more than one occasion. From family member’s struggling with alcohol and cocaine to a boyfriend who ended up spending time in prison because of an addiction to meth.

Q: What would you tell someone who has a loved one who is struggling with addiction?

Kenyth Mogan: No matter how strong you are – it’s nothing you can ( or should have to ) deal with on your own. Sometimes saving the one you love means letting them hit the bottom.

Q: Who are some artists you like to cover when you perform or just around the house or in the car? 

Kenyth Mogan: There’s a ton. From artist like Alexz Johnson and Mika to Meatloaf and Linkin Park.

Q: Do you have a wish list of collaborations you’d like to see happen for you? 

Kenyth Mogan: I’d really like to work with Teddy <3, Leland, or Zedd

Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?

Kenyth Mogan: Don’t be such a doormat. Opinions are like a**holes. Everyone has one, and no one knows what feels right for you, but you – and don’t be so scared. Jump. It’s fun.

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Q: How about some advice for those how are currently struggling with their own identities or struggling with coming out? 

Kenyth Mogan: It’s trite but true: Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter. Don’t do it for anyone but yourself.

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

Kenyth Mogan: I couldn’t live without music to listen to. I wish everyone could (and think they probably can) live without making stupid people famous .

Q: Where can we find you, your music, and your videos online?

Kenyth Mogan: All social media counts Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – everything is @KenythOfficial

Here is the official press release for ‘Holy Water’:

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In 2015 singer-songwriter Kenyth took us over the rainbow with his LGBT Wizard of Oz themed music video UNLOCK YOUR HEART. Three years and two million views later, he’s taking listeners to a much more realistic place with his newest single HOLY WATER. “The song is about a loved one struggling with addiction,” Kenyth states. “It’s something I feel a lot of people can relate with – especially in the LGBT community.” Though the official music video will not be released until early next year, Kenyth release a special acoustic version of the song featuring fellow LGBT artist Zee Machine. The song is a step in a more mature musical direction for Kenyth, which is something he’s ready for after years of being referred to as the cute gay geek. “I wouldn’t change what I’ve done, but the time for rainbow kisses and unicorn stickers have passed,” he says. “I’m excited to introduce people my new sound.” Written by Tim Feehan and pop icon Tiffany, HOLY WATER (Basement Acoustic Mix) will be released on November 30th.

Jordyn Pollack is a man who is all about the love with no time for hate

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I enjoyed my interview with Ryan Santanna so much (I hope you all did as well and that you learned a little something from it) that I decided to reach out to a friend of mine I have known through Instagram. Jordyn Pollack has shared his journey as a Trans man on the social media platform and on YouTube, much like Ryan has. Their stories are similar but I feel (and I’m sure you agree) that we need to hear all the stories because each of us, no matter how similar we are, are so unique. There is always more to learn from each other, more to experience through each other’s eyes, and more bridges to build.

I really love how brave Jordyn has been by sharing his top surgery photos, progress, his experience with testosterone, and most importantly his feelings throughout. I know he is helping so many others, he is inspiring me, and he is allowing people in similar circumstances to know they will be OK!

The power of social media has always been in the sharing, in being a voice for individuals who don’t feel they have one, and in showing them there are others who are experiencing the same things we are even if we feel alone.

Jordyn is someone you need to follow, someone you need to know, and I believe someone who is making the world a better place. Let me introduce you to Jordyn Pollack:

Q: When did you first realize you didn’t identify with the gender you were when you were born?

Jordyn Pollack: This is a difficult question because I truly believe since I was a young child I knew deep down I wasn’t comfortable with being categorized as a “female”. I truly have realized now that all of my actions back then relate 100% to me taking the step and transitioning. When I was a child I would dress all my “female” dolls as “males”, I would cut their hair, dress them in more masculine clothes. I also remember lying in my bed some nights and just wishing I could be a “boy” for one day, which is crazy to think now that my wish came true about 17 years later. Growing up I always played sports and tried to hang out with all the “boys”, even going into middle school I was very into skateboarding. I dressed in “boy” clothes, when I wasn’t at school, at the skatepark, or even hanging out with some of my friends. One year for Halloween, I believe I was 12, I dressed as a “boy” and went into the guys restroom at Disney Halloween, that is one of my favorite childhood memories, not going into the restroom of course, but having that feeling of passing as a “male”.

Q: What age did you start to become vocal about it? What was the reaction from your family and friends?

JP: I came out to my parents and partner about two years ago, I was 24. Then I came out to some of my close family members, and then I made a Facebook post. Everybody reacted as I expected, luckily I am blessed with a huge immediate and extended family that excepted my transition with open arms. From my Uncles, Cousins and Grandparents they all use the correct pronouns and still love me just as much or even more now. The person I am now is much more confident, outgoing and just loving to be around. My family is my everything. My fiancé told me she would always love me as long as the person I am inside never changes, which how could it, because that is who she fell in love with and wants to marry. Ziggy has never cared about gender, she just wants me to be happy and true to myself. I will always be Jordyn, that is my birth name and I chose to keep it my name. That is who I will always be and was, It just took me this long to get here.

Q: Did anyone surprise you in a positive or negative way as you became more open about it all? 

JP: The people or should I say children who surprise me most are my cousins. I have a very big family as I said above, I would say about 10 cousins on my Moms side and even more on my Dads. From the ages of newborn to my age, they have all been amazing. Validating me every chance they get, reaching out after my surgery. I truly couldn’t feel more love and support.

Q: I’ve seen you posting about your journey on Instagram and it has inspired me so. Does that help you during this process?

JP: Instagram has been an amazing outlet for me during my transition and even before. Social media really helped me come out and realize that transitioning was what I truly wanted to do. Being able to see other people’s journeys, helped me a lot. That is why I post so frequently and try to connect with all of my followers. I truly think being a part of a community and knowing we can have each-others back when nobody else understands means so much.

Q: What are some misconceptions you would like to clear up about trans people?

JP: Honestly, the only thing I would like to clear up is that we are no different from any other human being. We are all equal, but different in so many ways and that is what makes the world truly a beautiful, magical place.

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Q: Other than Instagram, where can we find you online? Have you documented your journey elsewhere? 

JP: I have a YouTube account, it is just under my name Jordyn Pollack. I will say, I have not made any update videos recently, but I will make one soon on my Top Surgery experience.

Q: Do others reach out to you and what advice do you/would you give them if they were struggling with their own identities?

JP: Yes, others reach out to me daily through social media. Whether it be to tell me I inspired them, to ask for advice, or just to say hi. I like to connect with my followers as much as possible, as I said before to me having a safe community is so important. I would tell someone struggling with their identity, to for one second try not to worry about anything else in the world besides themselves and in that moment how do they want to look when they see themselves. How do they want to feel? How do they want to be treated? If you are struggling just give yourself time to find who you truly are. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, YOU are the only person that knows how YOU feel inside and out.

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

JP: The one thing I could not live without is Ziggy. She is truly my everything. I have never met a human being who is so kind-hearted. Ziggy makes me feel special every day. Yes, we have had our struggles, but who doesn’t. The best part about her is that we can communicate and at the end of the day we have each other no matter what. She is the first thing I see when I open my eyes and the last thing I see before I close them. I am more than excited to spend the rest of my life with her and marry her, that way I will never have to live without her.

The one thing I wish we could all live without is HATE. It is as simple as that. If all humans had more love, compassion and understanding in their hearts we would have a better world.