ACL Interview: Jake Wesley Rogers draws fans in with colorful style, dynamic ballads

Arts and Life Editor Erianne Lewis interviews artist Jake Wesley Rogers after his Austin City Limits set.

By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor

Dressed in a white polyester jumpsuit and sparkly eyeshadow, I instantly understood why Jake Wesley Rogers has been compared to none other than the illustrious Sir Elton John. Jake has earned this comparison not only with his unique and colorful style but also with his powerful ballads that draw in listeners and fans.

A pop musician and songwriter, Jake first appeared on America’s Got Talent in 2012 and 10 years later has made a name for himself in the music industry. The 25-year-old Springfield, Mo., native signed to Warner Records in May 2021 and made his TV debut on the “The Late Late Show with James Cordon.” He began touring as an opener for Panic! at the Disco, on their Viva Las Vengeance tour in September. I was able to sit down with Jake to talk about his ACL 2022 performance, creating new music and what’s next for him.

How did your ACL performance go?

Jake: “It was so fun. I’m kind of new to festivals and stuff, so when people show up, I’m always a little surprised. I expect to look out and see my four friends I knew who were coming. So, there’s people there and they were singing along and it’s so special.”

What has been the most enjoyable part of this experience?

Jake: “I haven’t experienced it yet, but I am going to get a massage in the artist village, and I’m very excited about that.”

What would you say is the most challenging part of creating music to you?

Jake: “Just how uncertain it is. It’s a very frustrating art, in that, I don’t understand it. I don’t think I ever will. I don’t know where it comes from. If I did, I’d go there more often. But it’s so rewarding when you can finally tell your story within a song and then put it out and connect with others. It’s really special.”

Who or what do you look to for inspiration?

Jake: “I look towards life, in general, just living and relationships. There’s always enough material around you at all times. I like to read a lot. Reading is kind of a place where I feel like I can step out of music world and read someone else’s story and get inspired.”

What is your creative process?

Jake: “It’s just a lot of paying attention. I journal a lot and write down little things that interest me, little titles, then it sometimes manifests in a song. I might hear a melody and just start singing and record it. Sometimes songs take like five years to write or like ten minutes.”

What’s next for you?

Jake: “Well my next EP comes out on Oct. 21, it’s called ‘Love.’ I’m working on my first album and my first headline tour.”

Has the ACL experience taught you anything?

Jake: “That I should check the weather before coming to Texas and not wear polyester when it’s 90 degrees.”

*Laughter ensues*