Country Next: Jameson Rodgers
We take pride in introducing fans to country music’s brightest new stars through our Country Next series. Here, we chat with Jameson Rodgers.
Jameson Rodgers; Photo Courtesy Sony Music Nashville
Jameson Rodgers is ready to leave his mark on country music with the release of his debut single, “Some Girls.”
Unlike many country artists who began writing songs and performing at a young age, the Mississippi native didn’t pick up a guitar until he was in college. He quickly taught himself to play, began to write songs and ultimately made the life-changing decision to move to Nashville when he had less than 15 college credits remaining.
Once he moved to town, he hustled his way around Music Row until was offered a publishing deal. One thing lead to another and he eventually landed a record deal with River House Artists/Columbia Nashville and an opening slot on Luke Combs’ Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour.
Just as “Some Girls” makes its official debut at country radio and the accompanying music video drops, Country Now is pleased to introduce you the rising star.
Continue reading for our exclusive Q&A with Jameson Rodgers.
Lauren Black: How did your upbringing influence you as an artist?
Jameson Rodgers: I grew up in Batesville, Mississippi – a small town with 10,000 people. My parents loved country music. I was always listening to ’90s country. I love ’90s country. I was born in ’87, so by the time I was old enough to start really listening to music, it was Garth [Brooks] and Travis Tritt. I played baseball as well and I always loved all of the songs they played between innings. I call it baseball music, like AC/DC, American rock ‘n roll type of stuff. Those are probably my biggest two influences.
Black: If you had to pick just one, which artist would you say has influenced you the most?
Rodgers: They were all so good. Honestly though, Garth…his songs were so good. I just feel like they were stand out songs. I’m just a fan of great songs.
Black: Speaking of ’90s country, there seems to be a bit of a resurgence of that sound right now. What are your thoughts on that?
Rodgers: I love it. Honestly, I think it helps me. I don’t consider myself ’90s country but I’m definitely more ’90s country than I am pop. Do you know what I mean? Anything that shifts the music in that direction is in my favor.
Black: What were your first performances like?
Rodgers: It’s funny, I was a late bloomer. I didn’t pick a guitar up until I was 21-years-old. The first time I remember singing on stage was karaoke when I was like 16. My dad would always go sing karaoke on the weekends, so I would go too. I would sing ’90s country songs.
Black: Wow. So when you were singing karaoke, did anyone in the crowd ever approach you about how good you were?
Rodgers: Everybody. They always would say, “man, you’re really great!” I always loved singing. I would even joke around with my friends like, “I’m going to move to Nashville one day,” just saying it lightheartedly. That way, in case I didn’t go they wouldn’t judge me. But yeah, I was just a late bloomer on picking the guitar up and writing songs but I always loved singing.
Black: What inspired you to start playing the guitar?
Rodgers: I played baseball for forever. I played through junior college and then went to this school in Memphis. I got recruited by this coach and basically the second day in the semester, he held a team meeting and he was like, “guys, I got offered a job at Pitt. I’m leaving tomorrow.” They brought in a new coach, but it just felt like the end of the road for me in baseball. My roommate at the time played guitar. My dad had gotten me a guitar when I was in high school, I just never took the time to learn how to play it. I thought, “maybe I should learn how to play too.” We would just sit around the house and learn Eric Church songs and I remember learning “In Color” by Jamey Johnson because that song was on fire at the time. Then I moved to Southern Miss.
Black: So your guitar skills are all self-taught?
Rodgers: Oh, yeah. I could play like five chords. I got down to Southern Miss and I had a roommate who could write. He wrote spoken word poetry. I know that sounds strange, but he was an insanely good writer. We would sit down and write songs together. Pretty soon, people would request us to play songs at parties, around a campfire, bar, wherever. It was really cool.
Black: What eventually sparked the move to Nashville?
Rodgers: Pretty soon, he was done with school and I had like 12 credits left. I talked him into moving to Nashville.
Black: How did your family respond to that?
Rodgers: My parents were just like, “alright, but you’re gonna finish that degree online, right?”
Black: Did you?
Rodgers: Yeah, I finished it online once I got here. My parents were completely supportive. They’re number one fans, always have been.
Black: What were your first days in Nashville like?
Rodgers: Scary. [laughs] I didn’t know a soul. I just went to every open mic night I could and met as many writers as I could and asked to write with them. I wrote a bunch of bad songs with a lot of people and finally wrote a few good ones. I had to grow as a writer, and a singer, and an artist. I worked at FedEx and Dick’s Sporting Goods and I’d go back to Mississippi and play some acoustic shows on the weekends to make a little cash. I was very poor, but I continued to play all the open mic nights. I finally got a publishing deal [in] 2014. That opened doors that had not been opened yet.
Black: Can you tell me more about the single? Why did you decide to lead with “Some Girls?”
Rodgers: This is a rare one that I didn’t write, actually. When you come to this town you become buddies with so many other songwriters. You come up together in the trenches and become like family. Everybody shares demos with each other and this is just a demo that got sent to me. Three of my best friends, Michael Hardy, C.J. Solar and Jake Mitchell, wrote it. I’ve had this demo for like three years and I listened to it a thousand times. I always thought, “if I ever have an opportunity to record it, I’d love to.” I knew if I’d listened to it a thousand times and it’s still not getting old, it’s probably a good sign. It just seems like it’s the right fit for the first single. It’s about how some breakups are harder than others, some girls are harder to get over than others. I’ve definitely lived that. If I’ve lived it, everybody else has lived it.
Black: Is that one of your main goals as an artist and songwriter, to connect with fans on a personal level?
Rodgers: My favorite artists and songs that I like to listen to give me chill bumps, or they help me get over something, make me happy or make me sad. I just hope my songs make people feel something.
Black: I have one final question for you. If you could go back in time to when you were 16 and singing karaoke with your dad and tell your younger self that down the road you’d be here sitting at the Sony Music Nashville office promoting your debut single, what would you have said?
Rodgers: Oh my God. I probably wouldn’t have believed myself. I’m just a dude from Batesville, Mississippi. It’s crazy, it really is. You can literally do anything you want in life. I mean, if I can do this, anybody can do anything.
Lauren Jo Black
Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.