Georgia born-and-raised singer/songwriter Matt Rogers got his first taste of music singing in church and playing with youth praise bands. Before he made his way onto the Nashville scene, Rogers dabbled in various other genres, trying to find his voice in the industry.
“I had an affinity for guitar, so I wanted to play solos and rock out all the time,” Rogers says of his early years. “I had a garage band through high school where we played rock music. I started writing songs in college, playing covers for free wings and beer.”
After earning his undergraduate degree, Rogers spent some time away from the music scene. A few years later, while simultaneously furthering his education and working in the medical field, he found his way back to his country roots. At the time, he didn’t intend to make a career with his music, but the hobby grew, and Rogers couldn’t deny his calling.
“Music has been one of those things that’s always been there for me,” Rogers explains. “I started playing on the weekends back home in Georgia. In 2014, I put out my first song. It quickly began gaining traction, and I realized we were building a fan base as we started touring further and further from home.”
As he gained popularity, Rogers faced a difficult choice—stick with his medical career or dive headfirst into music.
“It was tough getting back at one o’clock in the morning each Sunday and being in surgery at 6 a.m. the following Monday,” Rogers recalls. “I began traveling to Nashville every month or two, meeting and writing with other songwriters. In 2015, I was given the opportunity to write songs for a living, and I took it. As they say, the rest is history. I’ve been up here grinding it out ever since.”
Although he now calls Tennessee home, Rogers still finds inspiration from his Georgia raising for the music he writes.
“You can’t run from who you are,” he asserts. “There was no escaping country music in the nineties, especially in Georgia. You start thinking about the things that you grew up doing, and you realize that it’s pretty red-dirt country.”
Rogers honors those 1990s influences in his single, “Billboard,” which is on his 2022 album Coal, even including the iconic ‘90s band Shenandoah in his music video for the track.
“The music that I grew up on that still lives in the Muddy Banks going through Macon, Georgia,” Rogers continues. “You just start writing about your life and your experiences and it takes you to where you end up. I don’t try to border myself with genres, but it’s country to the bone.”
Rogers isn’t the only Georgia native who’s making it in the country scene. He’s both inspired and encouraged by fellow artists at various levels of fame, from little known writers to internationally acclaimed musicians.
“I’ve gotten to see a couple people from Georgia come up and make it,” Rogers reflects. “Zac Brown was in my hometown area when he was putting his band together out there on Lake Oconee. He had all these songs, and we were like, ‘God, these songs are amazing.’ Well, turned out we were right. I think Zac had like five or six number ones on that first record. He’s a true artist.”
Music City Dreamin’
As he puts down new roots in Nashville, Rogers remains in awe of the musical genius all over the city. One benefit of living in the hub of country music is that there’s no lack of inspiration for a singer/songwriter.
“It’s pretty crazy the amount of talent that’s in this town,” Rogers says. “I have some incredible friends here. Some of them aren’t even household names, but they inspire me daily. Any given day of the week, you can go anywhere in this town and catch a writer’s round or an event where somebody’s playing, and it’ll just inspire you.”
That same inspiration serves as motivation to keep growing and succeeding, too.
“It kicks you in the butt a little bit,” he admits, laughing. “I’ve questioned if I need to go put all my stuff on eBay and move on because these people are this good.”
All jokes aside, Rogers feels blessed to be part of Nashville’s shift back to the foundations of country music.
“Nashville, in particular—the music, the style, and everything—was getting a little too far out there on the limb,” Rogers states. “I was ready to see it get back to the basics. Guys who have been doing it on their own for 10-plus years are now getting back into the mainstream of country music. I think that’s a good thing. I don’t try to say what country is or isn’t, but I do like to believe the true-blue stuff shines through.”
Country Boy Dreams
When he examines the career path he’s taken so far, Rogers notes the most impactful moments for him are the ones with ties to home.
“There are certain bucket list venues where my heroes and my biggest inspirations played,” Rogers reflects. “I got to play in the Macon Auditorium, which is where the Allman Brothers played a lot of shows. That’s such sacred ground.”
One of Rogers’ greatest dreams became reality in 2021 when he and his band cut their latest album, Capricorn.
“Last year, we went down to Capricorn Studios where all my heroes recorded some of their best works in Macon, Georgia, for the Capricorn record,” Rogers reveals. “It still smells like the seventies. It looks like the seventies.
“We got to go in with my band and record some live tracks of songs off my full-length record,” he continues. “That was an unusual experience. You could feel the energy running through you. It was a pretty wild moment.”
For the Love of Country
Through it all, it’s more than the music that keeps Rogers going. For him, it’s about the singers and songwriters who help keep country, country.
“There’s a lot of great songwriters in Nashville that they call ‘Americana’ who are just as country as anybody else,” Rogers explains. “Some of these guys are phenomenal. There are just tons of influences. I try to listen to all of it. I try to draw from the best of the best and influence my music that way.”
Not only does he gain inspiration from all kinds of music, but also from the people making that music.
“Country music is a big family,” he reveals. “During the busy time of year, spring into summer, you’re all over the place. Everybody’s on the road doing different shows, festivals, things like that, but it’s always cool to get to hang out with everybody.”
As his following increases, Rogers remains humble and grateful for the privilege of spending every day doing what he loves most.
“I’m very, very fortunate,” Rogers says. “I love country music. I love making music. I love the whole process. I love writing the song. I love being in the studio and producing it. I just love writing songs and playing ’em in front of people.”
Learn more about Matt Rogers at mattrogerscountry.com or find his music on Instagram at @MattRogersCountry.
This article about country music artist Matt Rogers appeared in the Winter 2022 issue of Western Life Today. Click to subscribe for more!