Q: “It’s My Time” is a catchy and fiery ode to seizing your moment. What inspired you to write this track and how have you continued to seize your moment during the pandemic?
ROGER: I wrote this track with Tripp Weir. It largely addressed our personal frustrations with the pursuit of a life in music, which can often feel like a series of “almosts” and “we’re not going to sign you but you’ve got a good thing going so keep at it!” conversations. It can feel like a broken record sometimes.
The pandemic was strange – it freed me up in some ways. I had been touring solo for 100+ dates in 2019 and I was lonely and worn out. It was in some ways relieving to have to stay still. Seizing my moment during the pandemic looked like actually recording and releasing this song, continuing to learn about the music business and alternative avenues to creating income with music. I also attended a couple songwriting retreats here in Northern California that refreshed me, connected me with other songwriters and challenged me to keep going.
Q: How does it feel to have your music featured on Discovery Channel, MTV and Nascar?
ROGER: It was pretty exciting to sign those licenses. It came with the realization that for the first time in my life there was a chance that millions of people might hear my songs. How cool is that?!
Q: When you’re not working on music, you love to travel. You’ve also lived in Tulsa, Nashville, and India. What have you learned from traveling around the world and how has experiencing so many different cities and cultures impacted your music?
ROGER: I’ve learned that in many ways people all over the world are the same, and in other ways they are very different! It’s been fun for me because I’ve somehow always been flexible – in high school I was sort of a nerd, was in choir, AND played sports. I somehow fit in in each place. So as I go to new cities and countries I’m much more interested in spending time with local people in their homes or places they like to go as opposed to seeing old buildings or popular tourist attractions.
I think I’ve learned to look at people’s actions with an understanding that when they do things that confuse or irritate me that it might just be a cultural difference as opposed to a character flaw.
In India specifically I learned the value of hosting people at your home. I stayed and ate with a family for six months while there, and they’ve become some of my greatest friends. I also learned sitar in India, and it’s given me some creative bends in my own music that I wouldn’t otherwise have.
Q: We see that you occasionally teach songwriting at The University of The Nations. What drew you to teaching?
ROGER: I attended a six-week songwriting school at the University of the Nations many years ago. A couple years later, some of the students I was with began forming their own schools that had songwriting components and required a couple weeks of songwriting teaching. So these friends started asking me to do it. So I guess I arrived at it accidentally? It was scary to consider at first, but I jumped in, created a week-long curriculum, and I’ve grown to really love it. I love helping people see that they have the ability to create.
Q: What is coming up next for you?
ROGER: I’ve recorded a live version of “It’s My Time.” It will be out soon both on streaming platforms and on video! Otherwise I’m still writing and gearing up to record a couple more singles this year.
Q: A lot of our readers are artists who are working hard at their craft and wanting to get to the next level. What advice would you give to artists looking to seize their moment?
ROGER: Connect with other people doing similar things to you. Grab coffee (or jump on zoom), ask what’s working well for them. And mentor others as well.
Keep learning. Attend songwriting workshops. Take voice lessons. Take production classes.
Learn about the business side of things. There are many ways to learn these days just from the internet. Sites like CD Baby and Indie On The Move constantly put out great information. A podcast I’ve been really enjoying lately is Modern Musician. Check it out!
Write and keep writing. Get feedback and learn what you could do better, but also take that feedback with a grain of salt. Not all feedback is equal (I’d get feedback from Country songwriters on my pop songs in Nashville sometimes and some of it just didn’t apply).
I’ve been writing songs for 20+ years and I’m still getting better, still learning.
And as always, keep taking risks. Knock on doors. No one will hear the song you don’t release.
Interviewed by Brynn Hinnant