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.
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?
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.
I first met Daniel Alexander in Ft Lauderdale, Florida while I was on vacation. At that time he told me all about his passion for his music and his desire to make some changes to his career. He was feeling like he needed to experience more, get out of his comfort zone, and find his voice in more than just a musical way. We’ve kept in touch since and one night when I was leaving The Abbey in Los Angeles I literally bumped into him on the street. At the time, he was planning to move to Los Angeles but I hadn’t realized he had arrived already.
Last year, we hung out at LA Pride, where he told me about some of the changes he made and shared with me his plans to release new music soon. Well, the time has come for that music to be shared with everyone…… so, I got him to agree to a little interview……
Q: You have said that Just for Tonight is autobiographical. It’s a deep song that definitely seems to have lots of meaning behind it. Tell us what the inspiration was behind it?
Daniel Alexander: While Just For Tonight has elements of a fun Pop song, it is actually a deeply personal track about my struggles with anxiety and making it in the music industry. “It gets real late at night, I walk the street alone. These LA city lights always set the tone.” The song was inspired by a 3am walk I took down Sunset. I was thinking about how far I’ve come and where I want to be. I wondered if I’d ever be good enough or if I’d ever become the artist I’ve always wanted to be. The “boy” in the song is me. It’s the younger version of myself who I’ve been trying to live up to my entire life. That little boy with the big dreams of becoming a Pop star.
Q: You write your own songs so would you say they are all autobiographical or do you incorporate others’ experiences into your work?
Daniel Alexander: I have to say that most of my songs are inspired by something I’ve been through. Even the party tracks are written after an insanely fun night. Whether they are dramatized for the sake of the song or not is a different story. However, I’m an artist. I tend to see things in a more dramatic light than others would. I feel things in a more intense way. My life is a movie and I always have the lead role!
Q: You appear to have definitely come into yourself as you made other changes in your life. How was it to move across the country and sort of start all over?
Daniel Alexander: Leaving where I grew up to move to LA was one of, if not, the hardest things I’ve had to do. Before I left, I really underestimated the challenges and mental strain it would have on me. However, I knew that staying where I was and not taking the leap would have a greater effect on me. My drive and passion for music is what allows me to breathe. It’s the reason I wake up in the morning. I knew it was the right thing to do.
Q: Speaking of starting over, you also did a little re-branding and redirecting. Was that all as a result of what you learned about yourself from moving?
Daniel Alexander: The re-branding started happening before I moved. I grew up, went through so many life experiences, breakups, makeups, etc. The essence of who I am is the same but, I’m also a completely different person. In turn, a completely different artist. I didn’t see myself through the lens of my old music. While I still love it, this sound, these lyrics represent exactly where I am at this moment. Moving across the country definitely affected me as well and I’m so excited to have written and recorded this track a year after my move. It’s so representative of what I’ve been through here in LA.
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self about taking the path to the music business?
Daniel Alexander: To buckle up and get ready for the ride! “It’s going to be a crazy one!”
I would tell myself to never lose confidence or take my eye off the prize. To keep my head up and to only listen to the people who believe in what I’m doing. When I was younger, I would take what people said to heart. As I got older, I started realizing that people won’t support something they can’t understand or have the confidence to do themselves. “Just keep going and believe in this! You’re on the right track!”
Q: What’s one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you with we could all live without?
Daniel Alexander: One thing I couldn’t live without is my iPhone! It’s how I communicate with the world, share my music and interact with everything that keeps me going. It helps me share my music, discover new music and put myself out there. As well as set up dates and a bunch of B.S! Haha. “Let me call this Uber right quick…”
Q: How do people find you online to keep up with all you are doing?
Daniel Alexander: Instagram is the social platform I use the most. It is the central source of Daniel Alexander. You can follow me @dalexandermusic. You can also reach me on my official site: dalexanderonline.com
Q: What’s up next for Daniel Alexander?
Daniel Alexander: I want to travel the world! I’m so excited to set up this promotional tour and just get out there! New music and an EP is also on the way! 🙂
Derek Jameson: Going back to self-worth, I would look at magazines and feel like I should look like the guys I see on them. I was reallllllly skinny. In retrospect I completely understand that it was my journey of learning to build armor and make myself stronger so that I could teach others how to. I discovered that if we have the idea, then it lives inside us waiting to manifest. I wanted to help uncover what they already had inside them. I thought this was done through physical fitness, but now I see that it was SO much bigger than that. Being a trainer has allowed me to bring people out of the dark. It has given me radio, TV, and film opportunities as well. Being in Los Angeles, I have had the opportunity to work with high-profile entertainment clients to assist them on their journey. People want to say “luck.” I know it’s just about knowing what you want and following your inner guidance.
Q: When it comes to physical training are there certain things you can say we should never eat or is that something that varies from person to person? Is there a big list of no-no foods one just need never consume?
Q: In your experience, what are some of the most common questions and concerns individuals have when they come to you for spiritual guidance/healing?
Derek: They typically don’t even know what they want, but they know they need something. I typically get first timers who have trust in me enough to sit with me. The issues they are facing typically arise naturally. Many are going through a major cleansing and shift in their vibration and they don’t fully know how to approach it. I bridge that confusion by clearing out the unnecessary helping them to realign to their inner being and offer soul support. You would think it would be a lot of relationship stuff, but it’s been more about aspects of their life that aren’t working. This just goes to show you that we are ALL connected and everyone is going through this major shift. It’s so beautiful lol!
Derek: Self worth is the most detrimental component to seeing, trusting, and carrying out true life purpose. Everyone is talented. Only some have the balance of self worth that allow them to surrender to what they came her to do. No one’s life purpose is your life purpose. So, comparing yourself to what others are doing isn’t even a valid activity. Fear is an illusion that tries to keep you from what you came here to do. Everyone knows what lights them up. If they say they don’t it’s because they have fear surrounding it that they aren’t ready to face. People must choose to look at themselves in the mirror in order to walk through it.
Q: We are always talking about and hearing there are major shifts going on. What do you do if you aren’t feeling them? Does that mean they weren’t for you or are you just not open enough to feel them?
Derek: Peace of mind. Fear.
Q: In regards to music, who are some artists you’d like to do collaborations with?
Derek: Most of them are not well-known, but in their style communities. Haelos, Birdy, Vini Vici, Matt Nash, Kaskade, EDX
Q: Where can we find you, your work, and your music online?
And, of course, some of his music:
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 Show, Access Hollywood, TRL, 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.”
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.
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:
Brandon Rogers has worked as a professional backup vocalist, and was the 12th place finalist on American Idol, season six. He also co-wrote “Happy Little Pill” for Troye Sivan and “I Built a Friend” with Alec Benjamin.
Brandon got his first big break as part of a Sons of Harmony, a band brought together through a radio boy band competition as part of The Kidd Kraddick morning show on 106.1 KISS-FM in Dallas, Texas in 2000. They had originally put together an audition as a joke to see if they could really create a boy band, but they ended up with five talented singers which they named Sons of Harmony. Mexican pop singer Marcos Hernandez was also a member of this band. When the group broke up, Brandon moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in music.
He auditioned for American Idol in Los Angeles, where the judges, who included guest judge Olivia Newton-John, were impressed with his vocals. Judge Simon Cowell later said he was the best who had auditioned from Los Angeles.
Brandon has been a professional backup vocalist on Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera’s 2003 Justified and Stripped Tour and Anastacia‘s 2005 Live at Last Tour. He has also worked as a voice coach and wedding singer. In 2008, he even guest starred on one of my favorite TV series, Bones. He also appeared as a recurring character on a web-oriented series “Valley Peaks” and released his single “Broken”.
I’ve noticed that Brandon continues to support American Idol and the contestants on his social media accounts (he frequently watches and posts his reactions in his Instagram stories during the season).
This year we saw the release of his latest single, Apathy, which is about dealing with a broken heart and getting over someone. Hopefully, you got to see him perform this year as well. I know I’m looking forward to it very soon and possibly sitting down to chat with him for an interview! I have had the pleasure of meeting Brandon and hanging out with him on a few occasions so I can attest to the fact that he is not only a talented artist, he’s also one of the good guys.
Be sure to check out Apathy wherever you get your music and follow Brandon on social media.