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Andrea Rogers, Night Driving in Small Towns

Photo of Andrea Rogers, Night Driving in Small TownsBatterman Photography

How would you describe your music?

Night Driving in Small Towns is an indie pop/rock band. Our sound has been compared to that of Headlights, Stars, Rilo Kiley, Essex Green, and The Sundays. To borrow from our press release, "Night Driving In Small Towns’ music displays characteristically mature lyrics juxtaposed with a youthful sensibility.;"

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

Currently, I am the band manager, booking agent, lead singer, butcher, baker, and candlestick maker. In the studio, I take a backseat to my co-writer, Colby Wright, who is the recording guru, but we are co-pilots in the writing aspect. I am the chief person responsible for business and marketing decisions. I discuss these decisions beforehand with the band, and with my (female!) publicist, Marcela Gonzalez, and my (also female!) label manager, Kerry Gibson.

Describe your gear.

I play a mini KORG onstage but also have several keyboards.

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

"It is very, very different. If you are a strong, independent woman in the music scene, you are often labeled as a ""b****"" or a ""diva,"" whereas a man displaying the exact same characteristics is often labeled as a ""go-getter."" I am very much a go-getter, and I seriously dislike the labels I've often been given as a result of being a strong female. Additionally, there is almost always the pressure of being ""presentable"" when playing live or meeting prospective business connections. I am often dressed to the nines while the men in my band look like they just woke up from a long winter's nap. Lastly, I often find myself in conversations with people who assume I'll ""just give up"" when I'm ""ready to have a normal life"" or family. I find this viewpoint not only sad but misguided. This is my normal life, and my family and friends are the people I surround myself with now. I'm a very stable, hard-working person with advanced degrees (a Master of Arts in English), so I don't appreciate the ""unstable"" preconceptions that come along with telling people ""I'm a musician.""

There have been many moments that have made the difference between being a woman and being a man in the music industry clear to me, but one in particular sticks out. I had a conversation with someone (who will remain nameless) who encouraged me to stay single so that I would still ""appeal"" to male audiences. I am in a stable relationship with my boyfriend of over five years, who is also a musician, and I have the same expectations and hopes as every person in a stable relationship. It truly hurt me to think that I would not be ""appealing"" to male audiences because I had a ring on my finger, whether my music was enjoyable or not."

Related Themes: Old School vs. New School Onstage Cashing In

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

Yes. I feel that a lot of women in my generation and the generation directly preceding mine come off a lot harsher because they struggle so much to be successful while still retaining the characteristics that make them distinctly female. It is very difficult to retain your femininity in a way that, say, Connie Francis did. Instead, we have flashy, oversexed, photoshopped versions of what women are supposed to be; and on the other side of the scale, we have hyper-masculine, overly made-up, trans-gendered versions of women. Some may say this is a result of women breaking out of the patriarchal machine, testing the limits of sexuality and gender roles. But it may very well be just another female survival mechanism inherent in the music industry.

Related Themes: Onstage Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

"I have been offered handfuls of advice from males and females alike. My mother is one of the strongest people I know, and she gave me the best advice ever when I was just a little girl: ""Do your best. That is all you can do, and that is good enough.""

If I had to offer advice to a woman just starting out in the music industry, it would be this:

Work your ass off. Ignore the stereotypes. Never give up and never give in. Work with people who respect you and appreciate your time and talents. Get out there and do it and don't ever regret working to achieve your dreams."

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

We had a piano in my house growing up. My mom played piano while she was pregnant with me, so the joke is that she instilled it in me before birth. I remember clunking away as a kid (there are pictures of me sitting on her lap around age 2, clunking on the keys). I started "really" playing around age 7 or 8. I remember the first song I learned, which was "Sandman's Lullabye" (not to be confused with "Enter Sandman").

Related Themes: The First Time