Every so often, Jameson Rodgers will get noticed.
“[It’s] here and there, nothing crazy,” he shares, calling those moments of fan recognition “flattering” and “cool.” Still, he’s glad he’s “a pretty normal-looking dude” who can get lost in a crowd if he tries.
“I don’t know if I’d really want to be worldwide famous, like a Taylor Swift,” Rodgers admits, adding with a chuckle, “That doesn’t sound like me.”
It’s not that he is uncomfortable in the spotlight — Rodgers is an artist, after all — but he’s perfectly fine not being in it 24/7.
“I love having the spotlight when I’m onstage, but as soon as I walk off the stage, I’d rather no one know who I am,” he admits with a laugh.
That’s likely to be less and less of an option for Rodgers, though, no matter how good he is at blending in in big groups. His debut single, 2019’s “Some Girls,” hit No. 1 on the country radio charts, and his follow-up, “Cold Beer Calling My Name” — a collaboration with former tourmate Luke Combs — is inside the Top 40. On Friday (April 23), he released his first major-label EP, In It for the Money.
“I think it shows growth as a songwriter, as a singer, as an artist,” Rodgers says of the project, his first in three years. The seven-song EP’s Eric Church-esque title track is, the singer thinks, the most personal thing he’s written.
“It’s just so true,” Rodgers says. “Every song has a little bit of truth it in, but that one’s all true.”
Rodgers co-wrote “In It for the Money” with Jake Mitchell, Hunter Phelps and Brent Anderson, reflecting on how he “caught a lot of hell when I left home with a guitar” and, as many do, struggled to make a living early on.
“Lookin’ back now, I don’t know how I ever got this far / But I got this far / By the sound of the crowd when the lights kick on / And the high you get when they’re singing your song / You wrote about how a heartbreak feels / Looking at the world through an old van windshield,” Rodgers sings, both earnestly and defiantly, in the chorus. “That long road to the top ain’t paved with sold-out shows / If I was in it for the money, I’da quit a long time ago …”
The song captures both Rodgers’ sincere love of making music, whether or not it makes him rich and famous by society’s standards, and some of his favorite parts of his career.
“It’s just the adrenaline during the show, and the hour or half an hour right before the show … That feeling you get walking out onstage, there’s just nothing like it in the world,” he reflects. “The moment walking out onstage is my favorite part of the whole day.”
In 2019, Rogers watched firsthand as Combs made that ascent from a newcomer with some hits to a arena-headlining superstar who likely gets noticed most places he goes. As the “Beer Never Broke My Heart” singer’s opening act, he learned from the experience.
“Luke’s just so down to earth, and he’s just never not that,” Rodgers says. “Just being you is never a bad thing. I think people crave real, and Luke is real; he’s not fake. If I learned anything, it’s to just be myself and it can work.”
In celebration of his new EP’s release, Rodgers will host two sold-out Friday night shows at Nashville’s Listening Room Cafe, both benefiting the Music Venue Alliance — Nashville, which is helping independent music venues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If it wasn’t for small, independent venues and across the country, I wouldn’t have a voice to gain new fans,” Rodgers says. “Some of my favorite venues are venues that are all just based on live music — like, if there’s not a show, it’s not open … If it wasn’t for those places, I wouldn’t be where i am today.”
Fans will also be able to livestream Rodgers’ Listening Room shows, which will also feature Carly Pearce (early show only), Jimmie Allen, Jordan Davis and Tenille Townes. Visit ListeningRoomCafe.com for more details.
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