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

brandon-rogers-apathy

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.

brandon rogers

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

Kenyth 1

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.

Kenyth 6.JPG

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’:

holy water

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.

Ronnie Kroell: There’s a ton of heart behind that smile

I have been blessed to know Ronnie Kroell for quite a while now. I am honored to call him friend, grateful for the adventures his friendship brings me, and look forward to many more years of both! Ronnie is a model, actor, activist, artist, singer, soon to be author, and one of the best human beings I know. He founded the Friend Movement along with  Laughing Eddie Lobo  and through this, they have been feeding homeless people in LA, bringing people together, and promoting the importance of self love and friendship.

On my most recent trip to Los Angeles, Ronnie and I had lunch and lots of coffee with the best conversation, as usual. We started talking about things we wanted to do and how we  might be able to work together on something special. The idea of a Facebook Live show came up and I totally felt Ronnie would be perfect for that space. Shortly after, Behind the Smile Live was a reality that I feel was overdue and needed. We thought it would be really nice to chat about it and about the other things Ronnie has going on so we could share it with you all as well.

We’ve had many conversations over the years in private but I’m always proud to share the ones I can with you! So, let me introduce you to Ronnie Kroell, the man (and heart) behind the gorgeous smile:

Q: Tell me a little about the concept behind the Behind The Smile book and how that became Behind the Smile Live. I am honored to have been part of the BTS Live process but I want everyone to know how it evolved. 

Ronnie Kroell: The concept for my Behind The Smile book is simple really, it’s about

authenticity.

My goal is to dive beneath the surface, eliminate the filters, destroy the masks, and achieve a deeper level of human connection with my family, friends, and fans. I plan to challenge my readers to step outside of their own comfort zones, become more vulnerable, and live their most authentic lives. To do this, I will be sharing my personal life struggles, successes, and a few lessons that I’ve learned along the way. Each chapter will discuss an important topic, but the coolest part is, readers will be able to immediately implement what they have read by way of a real-life challenge that I pose at the end of each chapter!

While I am writing the book, I thought it would be fun to get the creative juices flowing and do something special! SO, I teamed up with my friend Tommy Geraci and together we created, BTS – LIVE on Facebook. It airs every Sunday at 3PM ET / 6PM PT. We have a new guest each week, share an inspirational quote, and pose a weekly challenge to motivate and energize our audience for the week ahead. www.facebook.com/ronniefriendkroell

Q: You have been on a journey to help others AND to learn more about yourself. Do those two goals ever get in each other’s way?

Ronnie Kroell: I have found that it is possible to help others while working on myself, but it is MOST important to find a healthy balance. If you give too much of yourself away, then you have nothing left and can burn out pretty easily. Practicing self-care and learning to love yourself is the key to learning how to extend that same kindness to others in our lives.

Q: Friend Movement started as an anti-bullying platform but has also evolved into so much more. Can you tell us a little about it and how it is different from other movements out there?

RK: Friend Movement believes that what you focuses on expands, thereby, if we are focused on “anti-bullying”, we are still giving bullying power. So, to counter that, we have decided to be “pro-friendship” and find ways to explore what it really means to be a friend to ourselves and others. We are in the business of preventing and healing the effects of bullying by producing fun events, edgy photo-campaigns, and inspiring diverse social media content that aims to unite us in friendship and find solutions to challenging problems.

Q: In episode one of BTS Live, you discussed how you can look at photos and know what was going on behind your smiles and which were forced. What truly makes you smile?

RK: Life is a beautiful, but often very complicated thing. It comes with complex challenges, confusing emotions, and scarce resources. Our collective society / consciousness creates and dictates how we should walk, talk, look, etc. But to me, living by those norms is SO boring. What makes me smile is when I see people breaking out of their cages, challenging the status quo, thinking outside the box, and being unapologetically themselves. It’s taken me a bit of time to become comfortable in my own skin (for numerous reasons that I will touch upon in the book), but I smile the brightest when I have no other intention than that of showing up and enjoying the ride.

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

RK: I cannot live without my friends, they are fuel and sustenance for my soul.

I wish we could all live without judgement.

Q: In episode one you also discussed the change in tone the internet can take. When social media first became big, it seemed to be nicer, more friendly. Do you think we can get that back? Go back to a global community? 

RK:The world we live in today is certainly technologically more connected than it has ever been, but yet somehow it feels we are more disconnected at times. The truth is, we are starving for real human contact and deeper connections — not the surface level interactions we have come to know. Some social media outlets have become real toxic wastelands that are breeding and perpetuating fear, anger, bullying, isolation, depression, and egocentric life-styles. I don’t think that we can go back in time, but I do think that together we can #BeTheChange on an individual level and create new healthy habits.

Q: Describe yourself using three hashtags.

RK: #KingOfHeart #Artist #Friend

Q: As long as I’ve known you, I have never heard you preach for the sake of it and I know you always walk the walk. What do you hope BTS Live will be to others and what do you hope it can be for you? 

RK: I hope that BTS Live will be a raw slice of life look into my world, my friends, and my dreams — thereby inspiring others to rise above fear, reach for their goals, and experience all the happiness and abundance they deserve in life. For me, it is another creative outlet by which to continue to challenge myself, know myself, and maybe even surprise myself from time to time.

Q: You have spoken of self love and since I know you practice what you preach, can you name three qualities you think are your strongest or that you are proud of?

RK: Loyalty

Empathy

Integrity

Q: Since we are also discussing themes of self reflection, can you name three

qualities you think you can improve on? 

RK:Patience

Delegating

Saying NO

Q: Where can everyone find you on social media and online?

www.ronniekroell.com

www.friendmovement.com

www.facebook.com/ronniefriendkroell

www.twitter.com/ronniekroell

www.instagram.com/ronniekroell

Q: What’s up next for Ronnie Kroell? For Friend Movement?

RK: My three main focuses right now are painting, acting, and taking Friend Movement to the next level! You can expect to see me working consistently in mainstream film, television, putting on art gallery shows, and speaking out about the importance of friendship through various channels, including, but not limited to — The Ronnie & Eddie Show. We could not be doing this important work without the kindness, love, and support of our growing #FriendFamily and for that we are deeply grateful.

Together we are making a difference —  one friend at a time.

I really want to thank Ronnie from the bottom of my heart for his friendship, for doing this interview and for giving me the opportunity to work on Behind the Smile Live with him. Please join us every Sunday at 3pm PT/6pm ET for a thoughtful, meaningful conversation that will start off your week perfectly! Here’s a previous episode so you can see for yourself:

 

Behind The Smile (Ep. 3)

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‪Dara Turetsky-Blaker‪ · NYU

‪Awesome interview!!!

‪Like· Reply· 1 · 41w

 

‪Tommy Geraci‪ · Promotionat /Film

‪thank you!

‪Like· Reply· 41w

 

‪Ava Parnass‪ · Writerat Self-Employed

‪Awesome interview love these traits! Loyalty

 

‪Empathy

 

‪Integrity

‪Like· Reply· 1 · 41w

 

‪Tommy Geraci‪ · Promotionat /Film

‪thank you!

‪Like· Reply· 41w

 

‪Kitchenchat

‪I love that he delivers meals to the homeless in LA

‪Like· Reply· 1 · 41w

 

‪Tommy Geraci‪ · Promotionat /Film

‪thank you!

‪Like· Reply· 41w

 

‪Tommy Geraci‪ · Promotionat /Film

‪thank you!

‪Like· Reply· 41w

 

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