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Jake Wesley Rogers’ time to shine is anything but ‘Momentary’

Jake Wesley Rogers
Jake Wesley Rogers

Jon Ali is In The Know’s music contributor. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram for more.

Jake Wesley Rogers’ time to shine is now, and it’s hardly going to be “Momentary.”

Though the Kansas City-bred singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is hardly a stranger to the spotlight, it feels like we’re just now getting our first real glimpse into the true artist that is Jake Wesley Rogers. It’s a good place to be, considering the long journey they have had to get to this moment.

Jake was introduced to music at an early age — their lessons consisted of guitar from age six, followed by classical voice and piano at age 12. Their mother worked in radio throughout their childhood, and she would often bring them to the concerts of their heroes, like the Luminaries, Lady Gaga and Nelly Furtado.

Jake Wesley Rogers
Credit: Warner Records

For Jake, music didn’t simply define their childhood; it enveloped it and informed their future. Songs began to mean more than just catchy hooks and melodies — they started to train themself to listen for things like authenticity and genuine artistry early in their life. That’s when songwriting became their escape, and it would eventually lead them to audition for Season 7 of “America’s Got Talent” at just 15 years old, where they managed to make it through to the quarterfinals.

A few years later, following their run on the series, Rogers began releasing singles independently in 2016 with early originals like “The Ghost in You” and a stunning cover of “I’ll Stand By You.”

They continued to put work into their craft and dropped several tracks for the next few years, generating 20 million-plus streams independently. They captivated a growing fanbase all on their own with their singles and debut EPs “Evergreen” in 2017 and “Spiritual” in 2019, and they ultimately ended up catching themself some real industry attention.

Grammy-nominated hit-maker Justin Tranter heard the powerful and poetic “Jacob From The Bible” from “Spiritual,” fell in love with Jake’s music, and signed them immediately to his label Facet Records/Warner Records in 2020.

“Jake is truly one of the most talented people I have ever, ever worked with,” Tranter told Paper Magazine in a statement. “The songwriting, the vocals, the visual concepts, the live performance, it’s all at the highest level. Most importantly, the way that they live their truth so poetically through their music makes me wish there was a superstar like them on the radio when I was young.”

Through their mentorship and collaboration with Tranter, Jake has turned their most formative years into some of the most stunning and evocative music you’ll hear this year.

“I don’t think my story has been fully told,” Jake told Paper. “There are so many forms of art, but the reason I make music is that my soul is at its happiest place when it’s singing and performing, and I resonate at the highest level in those moments.”

Credit: Warner Records
Credit: Warner Records

Jake kicked off their biggest, boldest and brightest chapter yet with the release of their major-label debut single “Middle of Love” last month, to widespread acclaim.

It’s a powerful, propulsive pop confessional that captures the hard yet wonderful lessons learned through love and heartache.

“I wrote ‘Middle of Love’ when I started to notice that love was causing destruction all around me,” Jake told Paper of the single. “I saw my grandpa dying slowly after the loss of his wife, I read about my LGBTQ+ heroes who were mostly all murdered or exiled, and I witnessed my own romantic relationship exploding right before my eyes. When I finally sat down to write ‘Middle of Love’ with Justin Tranter and Eren Cannata, it was the perfect storm; all my guts just spilled out.”

And while “Middle of Love” is surely a necessary part of Jake’s story, they’ve already begun to let us in even more with their perfectly timed Pride single “Momentary,” which sees them paying homage to LGBTQIA+ luminaries Marsha P. Johnson, Oscar Wilde and even Peter Pan.

On the track, strings stir in between the cinematic piano chords, crashing drums and Jake’s signature howling voice. They pay homage to a bevy of classic figures before the powerful admission, “I thought that love could set me free, but it was momentary,” recognizing the fleeting nature of passion.

Meanwhile, the Se Oh-directed music video serves as the perfect complement as it highlights Jake’s inimitable presence with a vignette of their emotive performance on a crucifix.

About the single and its stunning visuals, Jake said in a press release, “‘Momentary’ is a funeral and celebration of life. As a queer person, I think it’s important to recognize the complex tapestry that began before I was here and will continue after I’m gone. In the song, I pay respect to my heroes, both fictional and actual, from Marsha P. Johnson to Peter Pan, who didn’t get a chance to grow old. In the music video by Se Oh, I boldly sing in fishnets and a loincloth while being crucified on a cross, a powerful representation of the impermanence of love and life. Everything truly is momentary.”

With just “Middle of Love” and “Momentary,” Jake is already proving themself to be quite the necessary queer voice, with a knack for true artist vision and unquestionable passion.

I think it’s safe to say that Jake’s forthcoming debut EP, expected to be released this fall, will be quite the impressive treat. The moment to get familiar is now.

“Momentary” is available to stream everywhere now!

If you enjoyed this article, read about Allison Ponthier’s debut single “Cowboy.”

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