Georgia State professor finds the balance between school, work and music

Candra Umunna | The Signal

With music being her first love but her second job, Andrea Rogers tries to find a balance between teaching as an English Professor, singing in a band and working on her poetry Ph.D.  

Candra Umunna | The Signal
Candra Umunna | The Signal

Rogers is quite the professor. Just talking to her on the street, people would never know that she is a professor, musician and student.

Her unique sense of humor would set a person off, but then so would her outfit choices. Students are used to seeing professors dressed in slacks and typical work clothes. However, Rogers spices it up with pleated skirts and interesting tops. Her thick-framed square glasses definitely complete her look.

Rogers keeps both her music and teaching world separate because she feels as if the two worlds should not meet.

“I think the truth is I don’t feel compelled to tell my students about it,” Rogers said. “In a way, it’s my private life, and the two don’t really overlap. I’ve also never been the kind of person who feels comfortable asking people to come to shows or anything like that, so I think telling students that I was in a band might make them feel like I’m trying to market a product to them in a way.”

Ever since high school Rogers has been in a band with partner Colby Wright. The two of them have had several bands together, but their most recent band, Night Driving in Small Towns, has been around since 2004.

Coming up with a band name is hard, especially getting a name to stick in people’s heads. Luckily, the name came about when Rogers was literally driving down a dirt road in her hometown.

“You know when you are driving along in a small town and you’re the only person on the road? I don’t know, it’s this intense feeling and you’re just listening to music and you kind of connect to it. That’s what I wanted our music to do,” Rogers said.

Her passion for her music comes out when she talks about it and the goals she hopes to accomplish, one of them being song writing. This is something her and Wright have taken up. They not only write all of their own songs, but songs for other bands too.

“In my wildest dreams I would really like for something that we wrote to take off. That’s really where the money is, but it’s kind of behind the scenes,” Rogers said.

Rogers and Wright share mutual respect for each other and work very well together because they initially know how they both work.

“A lot of bands deal with competition among its members. Thankfully that’s never really been an issue for us because she’s great at all of the things I’m horrible at. I trust her and that goes a long way toward keeping a partnership, friendship, etc. moving forward,” Wright said.

Given a copy of their album “Closure,” it is the type of music that one would listen to on a bad day. Put it on track one and instantly a smile will go across someone’s face. The songs mainly talk about love, but in a funky, fun way.

Every Sunday, Rogers meets Wright at his house, in the middle of nowhere. If something goes wrong with the scheduling that week, it messes Rogers up and her other work that she needs to accomplish.

Music does not fall short when it comes to her love life. Her boyfriend is a musician as well.

Although it can be hard with both of their busy schedules, they find the time to make it work.

“He tours full-time, so our schedules almost never line up, but we make it work,” Rogers said. “We have to plan ahead sometimes, so there are no spontaneous dinner dates or trips out of town, but that’s fine by me – I don’t really like surprises.”

When Christmas comes around, the couple will send off videos to their loved ones. This is really the only time when the couple can work together.  The videos consist of her boyfriend playing the guitar and Rogers singing a Christmas melody.

With her warm, sweet spirit, Rogers makes sure that these Christmas videos arrive in the mail on Christmas Eve, that way if she cannot be with her family that year, in a unique way they are all together.

“While multi-tasking is exhausting, I’m a big believer in the notion that you make your own path, and I’m equally certain that working hard and being nice pays off in the long run,” Rogers said.

NOTE: A retraction has been printed at the request of the interviewee. In the interest of privacy and security, the name of the second party has been removed.