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Matt Rogers Interview by Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Matt Rogers Interview by Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Matt Rogers is making sure he will reach the eyes and ears of as many potential fans as possible during CMA Fest 2018.  The Eatonton, Georgia, native now calls Nashville ‘home,’ but devotes a large part of every year to touring far and wide.

His latest project is an EP titled ‘Richest Place On Earth’ and he recently released the music video for the title track exclusively on Raised Rowdy.  The song recently won a top award in the Music City SongStar competition.

I caught up with Matt in between some of his scheduled CMA Fest appearances.

Preshias Harris: You gave up a career in the medical career to move to Nashville. Why did you do that?

Matt Rogers: Music has always been there for me. When I was growing up, I played in church. I was in a youth ‘praise and worship’ band, I had a garage band, I had a little group in college. I started writing in college and when I moved home, I started playing more and more often in bars and clubs and I put a band together.  I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I grew up.  I was really fumbling through different careers and different jobs, things like that, until I finally got a great job and a great career.  But I had a goal to move up here [to Nashville] and I had a lot of support to move up here, so I saved up some money and set my plans and my goals out. And I ‘saddled up’ and moved on up.

PH: What was your time frame for that move?

MR:  I was already coming up here often, monthly or bi-monthly, to take meetings, writing sessions, things like that. But I’d made a plan. I said, ‘In a year-and-a-half, I’ll move to Nashville.’ So I made a plan and started meeting people who could help me with that transition. At the end of that year, I found a place to rent, and I haven’t looked back since.

PH: Tell me about your EP, ‘Richest Place On Earth.’ 

MR: It’s a personal story. For the first year and a half I was up here, I wrote about two hundred songs.  So I wanted to narrow it down to just a few that would really describe who I was, not only as an artist but as a person.  I wanted a cohesive project that you can listen to, start to finish, and have a better idea about who I was after you got through listening to it. 

PH: What made you pick that title?

MR: It’s about me leaving that full-time job in Georgia and moving up here and taking the chance to do what I was wanting to do. To do what I think I was meant to do. That’s the story. I want to live out loud and break the mold.  I want to leave a story behind to be told.

PH: You’re playing about 200 dates a year.  What are the pro’s and cons of touring so much?

MR: Two hundred dates a year is a bunch! But I feel you’ve just got to get out there and grind. I mean, if you really want it, you’ve got to get out there as much as you can. You’ve got to meet some new fans. You’ve got to try to introduce them to your music. You’ve got to make your own name in this business. There are no short cuts and I think authenticity and being genuine is the only way to really do it.  The cons?  You’re never at home.  And you sacrifice a lot of personal relationships.  It’s hard for a lot of people to understand what you’re trying to do, especially at this point in the game.  It’s tough. And you have so much work to do when you DO get back home before you head out again. So it’s definitely tough, but it’s certainly worth it.

PH: Is this your first CMA Fest?

MR: No, it’s not my first.  Actually this is my third year, but this is the most involved I’ve ever been. This is the busiest year I’ve ever had. I’m playing every day. I started yesterday, on opening day. I kicked it off on Channel 5 at the Riverfront Stage at 6:30 in the morning. Today, we get to play at 2:30 pm on the Spotlight Stage. Tomorrow evening, we’re at the Maui Jim Stage at the Hardrock. Then Sunday, we’re at the Wildhorse Saloon. So I’m getting to play every day and getting to perform for some of these people I’ve met over the past two years, so it’s going to be very exciting.

PH: Who would be your ideal person to share a stage with, and why? (Living or dead!)

MR: That’s a tough question!  There are so many folks I look up to. So many folks I respect and I really dig their music. I guess in today’s world, someone who’s still really doing it and is still really relevant, I would have to say Zac Brown, just because I’m from Eatonton, Georgia, where he had a place on Lake Oconee, and I got to see that whole ascent happen for him, his whole rise to the top, and he is responsible for introducing me to a bunch of different genres, a bunch of different sounds. Things that probably I would not have found on my own. There’s kind of lot of influence from him in my songwriting.

PH: What has been one of the biggest obstacles you’ve had to face to get from Point A to Point B?

MR: Well, there are several. There are bunch of things you have to hurdle in this business. Just trying to stand out and be a little bit different is tough on its own. And for this to be Music City, it is awful hard sometimes just to get someone to listen to your music.  They’ll take a quick glance at pictures or social media or things like that, and that’s how they make up their mind a lot of times, before they even get to the songs. So I like to see the fact that it is moving back to the music and the songwriting. But it’s awful hard to just be yourself here and to not doubt the process.

PH: What is the one thing you’re looking forward to for the rest of the year?  What puts a smile on yourself and makes you get up and go?

MR: Some of the things I’m looking forward this year, I’ve got quite a few new tour dates, new regions that we’re going to be breaking into, and I love getting to meet new fans, new people, and introduce them to my music.  Also, I have several co-writes that are really exciting with bigger songwriters, hit writers, and rooms that I’ve been trying to get into for the past couple of years.  Also, I’m recording some new music, I’ve got some new music coming out soon, probably a single first.

PH: With two hundred dates on the road, it must be hard to find time to record.

MR: It’s tough. It’s part of the grind, it’s part of the work. But that’s what makes it worth it when you get there.

See Matt’s music video for ‘Richest Place on Earth’ at https://www.raisedrowdy.com/2018/05/04/matt-rogers-richest-place-on-earth-video/

Find where Matt will be appearing by visiting his website https://www.mattrogerscountry.com   and check out his Facebook page www.facebook.com/mattrogerscountry

Photo by Preshias Harris
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