Kenny Rogers’ nephew recollects rising up with ‘The Gambler’: I am unable to wait to see him once more’

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Dann Rogers is set to maintain the torch of “The Gambler” burning.

The singer/songwriter, who’s the nephew of nation music icon Kenny Rogers, has led a profitable decades-long profession pursuing the household enterprise of constructing music. At 15, he impressed John Lennon and went on to put in writing for quite a few artists, together with legends Glen Campbell and Dottie West, amongst others.

Most not too long ago, the artist has launched a single and music video for “Lesson in Love,” which he mentioned focuses on the tough and sophisticated choice surrounding abortion. It was a dangerous matter for Rogers to tackle, however he was compelled to share his feelings by music – one thing he has finished all his life.

Rogers spoke to Every day Put up Digital about what it was actually like rising up with an icon, how he carved out his personal id within the music business and why Campbell insisted he had the most costly rubbish can on this planet.

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Dann Rogers (left) with his late uncle Kenny Rogers.

Dann Rogers (left) along with his late uncle Kenny Rogers.
(Courtesy of Rogers & Cowan PMK)

Every day Put up: You come from a musical household. Wanting again, what impressed you to change into an artist?
Dann Rogers: My father was an R&B file producer. He ultimately owned a file firm. So I had all these well-known R&B artists in my home and my life. Rising up, my dad would take me to the recording studios or radio stations the place he was selling a music. I grew up in that surroundings. However I knew at 11 years previous that I used to be going to be a songwriter. And that’s all I needed to do since then.

At age 15, I wrote my first hit for Johnny Nash known as “My Merry Go Round.” John Lennon despatched me a private message by Johnny Nash stating that it was probably the most lovely music he had ever heard in his life. So whenever you get a message from a Beatle at age 15, you’re onto one thing. I wish to child round and inform folks, “I started at the top and worked my way down.” The place does a younger child go when he will get a message from a Beatle? I imply, that basically set the bar for me. And I needed to take my craft significantly.  Billy Cox, Jimi Hendrix’s bass participant, I’ve identified him since I used to be 17. And he mentioned to me, once I was 17, “You don’t have a choice.” And he was proper.

Every day Put up: Because the nephew of Kenny Rogers, had been you fearful that music critics would forged you in his shadow?
Rogers: That’s a pure course of I skilled once I was younger. To start with, after they would evaluate me to him, it simply felt so unfair. However as I grew up, I noticed that he was on the market opening doorways for me. And I simply need to be sensible sufficient to know learn how to react and learn how to deal with myself. And he was an enormous affect – how might he not be? He and my dad had been my two heroes.

Dann Rogers (left) described his uncle Kenny Rogers as one of his heroes.

Dann Rogers (left) described his uncle Kenny Rogers as one among his heroes.
(Courtesy of Rogers & Cowan PMK)

Every day Put up: How would you describe your relationship with Kenny Rogers?
Rogers: We had been very shut. If I ever wanted to speak to him, he was there. We had been household. We knew one another all of our lives, so I checked out him in a different way. I by no means known as him Kenny. I known as him “Uncle Money.” *laughs*. However our relationship was like some other between uncle and nephew. We supported one another.

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Every day Put up: Do you keep in mind the final time you noticed him?
Rogers: … I keep in mind we had been alone. And I knew it was the final time I might ever see him as a result of he appeared actually dangerous. He was actually worn out from being on the highway. I mentioned to him, “I want you to know that you’ve spent a lifetime creating a great name for our family. And I promise you that I will do everything in my power to keep our family name good.” He was touched. He nearly teared up. He mentioned, “Thank you.” Household was so vital to him. We hugged. I advised him I like him. We took one image collectively. And I knew that may be the final image I might ever take with him. That was the final time I ever noticed him. It was touching, but it surely was very lovely.

Every day Put up: You will need to have many, however what’s one reminiscence of your time with Kenny Rogers that makes you smile each time you concentrate on it?
Rogers: My favourite story I like to inform folks is once I was 5 years previous, he got here to our home in his model new Buick Riviera. Kenny at all times had type. Even when he was very younger, he was decided to have type and look good. So he got here to the home and requested my mother if he might wash his automobile on the driveway. She mentioned, “Sure.” He appears to be like at me and goes, “Come on Danny, you can help me.” He threw a rag at me and I used to be washing the wheels whereas he washing the automobile *laughs*.

Kenny Rogers performing on stage, circa 1978. 

Kenny Rogers acting on stage, circa 1978. 
(David Redfern/Redferns)

Afterward, he mentioned, “Come on, I’m gonna take you to Dairy Queen and buy you ice cream for helping me.” We go to Dairy Queen and he mentioned, “Tell her what you want.” And I mentioned to the girl, “I want the biggest ice cream you’ve got!”  He simply appeared down at me, grinned and mentioned, “I knew you were gonna say that.” And he tells the girl, “Give me the biggest ice cream you have.” And certain sufficient, I acquired the largest ice cream I’ve ever seen on this cone. I used to be making an attempt to eat it so quick. I went to get in his automobile and he goes, “No, no, no, no!” He made me sit exterior and eat the entire thing earlier than I acquired within the automobile as a result of he didn’t need me dripping ice cream everywhere in the automobile. *laughs*.

There’s that different time when The First Version broke up. He known as me and requested if my band might again him up on his first 4 exhibits as a solo artist. We did. Standing on stage with him was a serious spotlight for me. It was a second of delight as a result of he was one among my heroes that I appeared as much as. Nice reminiscences – I’ve lots of them… I keep in mind the instances I spent with him driving horses out on the ranch that he had… I can’t wait to see him once more.

Every day Put up: What recommendation did he provide you with on making your mark as an artist?
Rogers: He certain did. The very first thing he advised me was to at all times be good to folks. If folks such as you, they are going to exit of their method that will help you. And the second factor he mentioned was the extra success you could have, the prettier the ladies get.

Dann Rogers was determined to carve out his own identity as a singer/songwriter.

Dann Rogers was decided to carve out his personal id as a singer/songwriter.
(Courtesy of Rogers & Cowan PMK)

Every day Put up: I’m certain that was an enormous motivator for you.
Rogers: It was! *laughs*

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Every day Put up: Is it true that Glen Campbell ended up recording one of many songs that you simply initially threw within the trash?
Rogers: Sure, that’s true. I’m sitting in my condo broke one Friday evening. One among my shut mates that performed in my band was writing for Glen and taking part in in Glen’s band. Apparently, he performed a few of my songs to Glen. I get this cellphone name at evening. It was Glen Campbell. He goes, “I just heard some of the songs you’ve written and I think you’re incredible. I was wondering if you could come up to my house and play me some more.” I mentioned, “I’d love to, when do you want me?” He goes, “How about right now?”

I acquired within the automobile and went as much as his home and stayed there for 3 days. Then at some point he calls and says, “I’m in Vegas, why don’t you come to Vegas?” One among my different band members, my keyboard participant, was taking part in in his band on the time. So we ended up in his room throughout a break between exhibits. He began taking part in this riff on a keyboard. I leaned over and began singing a lyric. We acquired midway by it. I mentioned, “Oh this isn’t any good.” I crumpled up the lyrics I wrote and threw them within the rubbish can. I went downstairs and [songwriter] Steve Hardin, who I wrote it with, pulled it out of the rubbish can and performed it for Glen.

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Glen Campbell passed away in 2017 at age 81.

Glen Campbell handed away in 2017 at age 81.
(Jasper Dailey/ Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Photographs)

Six months later, I get a name. Glen was in search of me. He was doing my music on “The Tonight Show.” I requested, “What song?” I used to be advised the music I wrote with Steve, “Hang on Baby.” I mentioned, “I never wrote anything with Steve.” They usually mentioned, “Yes, you did. Glen said you did. And he’s looking for you. That’s his new single.” I used to be sure they acquired the flawed man. I hung up and 20 minutes later, it got here to me. It was that music I began writing with Steve after which threw within the rubbish can. I then get a name from Glen and he mentioned, “Whatever you do, don’t you ever throw another song until I hear it. I think you’ve got the most expensive garbage can in the world!”

Every day Put up: Inform us about your single “Lesson in Love.”
Rogers: It is a music I wrote about 12 years in the past whereas I used to be doing a 40-day quick. I hadn’t written something in a number of years. I needed to place my spirit above my abdomen and get myself in a religious state and see if I might nonetheless write once more. I acquired hungry for the reality. About eight days into the quick, I began writing and I couldn’t cease.

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This music is a few lady considering abortion. And I didn’t write it from a controversial standpoint. I wrote it from a standpoint of empathy of a person taking a look at what a girl goes by emotionally. The beauty of this music is we haven’t obtained damaging suggestions. Hopefully, it’s serving a better function for girls who’re going by this. I can’t think about what it have to be like for a lady to undergo this and ponder this choice.

Every day Put up: Why had been you so compelled to discover the complicated choice surrounding abortion by music?
Rogers: I can’t say that I used to be compelled. I simply picked up a guitar and performed. If I latch onto a musical passage, I’ll sit there, play it and sing some melody. As soon as I’ve the melody of music to encourage me, I’ll write the primary line of the music. After which the music writes itself. I had no intentions of sitting down and writing a music a few lady considering abortion. The primary line simply got here out of me. “She stares at the night alone in her room.” I assumed, “What’s that about?” And the music started to unfold. And since I had gone by the abortion course of with a girlfriend a few years in the past, I used to be capable of relate to the sentiments and the feelings. So as soon as I noticed what I used to be writing about, the music wrote itself.

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Every day Put up: Some artists could be cautious of eager to discover such a controversial matter. However you’ve described how listeners have been accepting of the music. How do you are feeling about that acceptance?
Rogers: Relieved. I did a spotlight group earlier than I launched the music. It was 50 folks – not one damaging remark. And I feel it’s due to the best way I wrote it. I needed the listener to attract their very own conclusions. I needed the message to talk to them personally. So I’m very relieved that it hasn’t offended anybody. That’s why I didn’t file this music for 12 years. I left it alone. I assumed it was too controversial of a topic.

However about 10 months in the past, I simply began getting this nagging feeling that I wanted to file this music. I used to be actually involved as a result of I by no means need to offend anybody. However as an artist, I’ve to be true to my artwork and myself once I write it. It was time for this music to be heard. I’m simply hoping it helps one one that hears the music. Then it’s going to have all been value it.

Dann Rogers said nothing will hold him back from keeping the legacy of his family alive.

Dann Rogers mentioned nothing will maintain him again from conserving the legacy of his household alive.
(Courtesy of Rogers & Cowan PMK)

Every day Put up: What else do you could have within the works?
Rogers: Properly, I used to be simply out on a farm in Nashville for 2 weeks with my producer. We’re on the point of launch a music with a brand new video this summer time… I launched a double album, “Life.” It was purported to be launched in late March 2020. Kenny handed away and I put a cease to it. I didn’t launch it till September. I simply couldn’t. I couldn’t launch a file and go on the market and discuss myself whereas I used to be grieving the lack of one among my heroes. Now, I really feel able to go on the market and keep on the household title. I need to spend extra time taking the music to the folks.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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