Life is an endless sea with both high and low tides coming in from all sides. It is how one maneuver through them that defines a person. Regardless of whether one was born in a mansion or a raggedy apartment, what they accomplish and how much they put in with their innate capabilities is what establishes one’s legacy. James Rogers is one example of such an individual who did not let his background or the challenges put in front of him derail him from his journey to the top.
Born on 22nd December 1949, James originated from Chattanooga in Tennessee. He came from a humble background with no hopes for his future endeavors other than his hard work and persistence. James had one benefit; a brilliant upbringing by his parents, Hershel and Elizabeth Rogers.
The power of a good role model and nurturing a person to have strong values and beliefs is much more important than portrayed usually. James was brought up with the teachings of respect for hard work. His love for music was also a by-product of the influence of the Rogers family.
The Rogers family used music as an outlet to release all the tension that accumulated after a day of working at the textile mill. Hershel played a steel guitar as his instrument of choice, while Elizabeth sang beautiful melodies with their daughters.
The environment that surrounded James was not the best in regards to worldly standards. But the love and support of his family and the introduction of music made James’s life harmonious. He was happy and content with the little he had. James and his sister used to perform in a choir at church, emphasizing their love for melodious tunes.
Growing up, music became a big part of James’s life. He soon began to work on his craft. While still in elementary school, James was chosen to represent his class in a talent show. This moment served as an introduction to live performances. James grabbed the opportunity and flourished in the limelight even as a kid.
The Rogers family moved to Oglethorpe, Georgia, in 1958. Moving at such a tender age can be difficult for many children. Having their environment and surroundings change significantly can cause social anxiety or awkwardness, which becomes a hurdle for them to move forward in life.
But for James, his music was his comforting blanket of sorts which helped him go through this change with ease. Even at his new school, James’s talent for performing and singing was quickly recognized by the faculty as he was chosen to perform before PTA’s.
The defining moment in his musical upbringing came when he got his first guitar at 11. His days were spent either studying or going around a residential area looking for garage bands and playing with them to hone his instrumental expertise. James started his efforts for a better future at a very early age.
Having seen his parents struggle, James decided to do all he could to have a stable and successful future. In high school, he started working in a drug store on weekdays and more on weekends to get an earlier start in saving for his future. Even after constant hard work at school, studying, and while working at the drug store, his love for music enabled him to muster up energy and time to practice and play in local bands at numerous gatherings.
He aspired to have a successful life with financial security. In 1967 he enrolled in the Dalton junior college to become a successful lawyer, which guaranteed all that he aspired. His goals motivated James to level up his efforts. He also got a full-time position at a station pumping gas and changing the oil after leaving the drug store job.
James knew that his parents did not have the financial feasibility to sponsor his future studies, but the fire to succeed led him to pursue higher education. Even though he was juggling his studies and his full-time job together, he did not complain neither did the thought of self-sympathy cross his mind.
Usually, when faced with challenges of financial nature, people tend to dwell in self-pity and blame the world for all their misfortune. Usually, people try to use the absence of some facilities to become an excuse for the instability in their lives. James did not grow up with such a mindset. He persevered even against the harshest of times, facing every obstacle with a smile and believing in his self to overcome anything.
After securing his Associates’ Degree, he used his savings to finance his further education at the University of Tennessee of Chattanooga, with the goal of becoming a lawyer still fresh in his mind. He studied in the morning while working in the evening at his parent’s workplace to finance his well-being. James never even thought of his parents bearing his expenses as an option.
Independence and hard work were values James kept in high regard and always had his eyes set on being a self-made man. Being independent is a term that sounds nice to the ears but having it implemented in real-life is anything but nice.
James learned the importance of working to gain anything in life through his childhood, making perseverance an in-grown trait. His work ethic was so strong that it even over-shadowed the time he used for practice with his band The Expressions and was ultimately asked to leave.
James’s studies were delayed as he was a part of the National Guard and had to go on a six-month tour on active duty. Usually, when someone encounters a gap in any process, it becomes a reason to give up for the weak-willed.
They use this gap as the grounds for ceasing efforts but not for James. After finishing his tour, he started doing different jobs in an effort to graduate. Incidentally, one of his part-time jobs was the reason for the biggest change in his life.
A coworker introduced James to a local nightclub where he auditioned to fill in for a regular temporarily. James’s brilliant performance wowed the crowd at the nightclub. His popularity gained such heights that even after the regular act came back, the owner declined them to keep James on as the regular.
Now his career took a drastic turn as he was a professional performer at a busy nightclub. But life is not all happiness and joy. Soon his happy days came to a halt as in 1973, the building was torched and destroyed by an arsonist. One would think that by now, James would have abandoned music altogether and pursued his professional goals. This event would have broken his will, making him leave music. Fortunately, James had a slight taste of what success in music was like and he became addicted to it.
Music became his dominant aspiration, overshadowing all other goals. His love for melody became the fire that led him to success in the music industry on a grander stage. James went on to become a featured performer at the Chattanooga Choo Choo complex.
He spent a lot of his time perfecting his art by traveling the country and performing in large concerts with some of the biggest names in the music industry. He was crowned the winner at the 1983 National Music Festival at Silver Dollar City, situated in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. His production show called James Rogers and company received ample recognition and won him several awards.
James Rogers did not let life bring him down. After every fall, he stood up even stronger and more persistent in his endeavors. He pursued his passion and kept his love for music alive and well until the time of change came.
James saw what his love and talent in performing could bring him and did not hesitate to go all-in and leap at the chance of a musical career. Coming from a small house did not stop him from dreaming big and working tirelessly to achieve his dreams.
Published December 9th, 2021