Introducing Hollie Rogers

For this second of a short series of interviews with artists appearing at this year’s British Country Music Festival in Blackpool, Hollie Rogers took some time out of her busy schedule to tell us about co-writing with a musical legend, crowdfunding for her upcoming album, and what it’s been like to play live again after so long.

Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers by telling us a bit about yourself and where you’re from?

I’m Hollie Rogers, a singer-songwriter from Penzance, Cornwall, where pirates come from (It’s no coincidence that my name rhymes with a famous pirate ship. Y’arr!) I write acoustic guitar-driven Americana/Folk/Roots music, usually about love – the noun and the verb!

Your latest single, ‘Love & Distance’, was co-written with Jamie Lawson and Robben Ford. How did the opportunity to write with them come about, and could you tell us the story behind the song?

We wrote ‘Love & Distance’ after the three of us were introduced by Chris Difford. Chris had invited us to one of his songwriting retreats and thought we’d make a good writing team. Robben Ford is, of course, a guitar legend so obviously I know his work, but I must admit I’d never seen a picture of him and had no idea what he looked like. He was introduced to me only as “Robben”, so as we got to know each other and I went on and on for about 15 minutes about my love of Joni Mitchell, I genuinely didn’t know who I was talking to. When I finally shut up, Robben coolly reclined in his chair and just said “Totally. I played with Joni from ’75 – ’79… she’s a great gal”. I died!

But then we wrote a lovely song, about being separated from somebody you love. It was written pre-covid, but I think the lyrics take on a whole new poignance in the wake of a global pandemic where so many of us were unable to be with our loved ones. Maybe that’s why it’s become my most popular release of all time on Spotify?

The single will feature on your upcoming album, ‘Criminal Heart’, due out on September 9th. What can we expect from it?

Some big hooky bangers like ‘Criminal Heart’, the title track. Some old favourites like ‘Sinner’, reworked as you’ve never heard them before. And some more gentle tunes, including one with a verse in Cornish, which I don’t speak, but Cornwall Council have a free translation service that I decided to make use of. I have no idea if they translated my English lyrics correctly – I could now be singing about pasties and fishing for all I know – but it sounds pretty!

How important has the support from your Kickstarter campaign been in the creation of this record? Do you think the fan-funded model is the best way for independent artists to finance their music these days?

‘Criminal Heart’ literally wouldn’t exist without the Crowdfunder support. So for me, yes, it definitely was the best model, but I think it depends entirely on an artist’s individual situation. If they have the funds to support a project by themselves or with help from a funding body, then that’s certainly still worthwhile and might be better for some. But there is something about crowdfunding that makes a project feel more collaborative, too. As artists we often get to collaborate with other musicians, but to be able to actively collaborate with your own fanbase is quite special. I think it’s nice for the fans too, to really feel like they’re a part of the creation, rather than just buyers of a product.

With festival season now in full swing, how has it felt performing live again?

Amazing. I played on a huge stage with my band at Cornbury Festival recently. You can never be sure at a festival show how many people will turn out to see you, but the crowd was massive and as they sang my lyrics back to me, I had a bit of a moment… I just felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I got all emotional and had a little cry mid-song!

You’re due to play at the British Country Music Festival in Blackpool in September. How excited are you to be on the bill, and why do you think country music has become so popular in the UK in recent years?

I’m really looking forward to the show; there are some great artists on the line-up and lots of friends, too, so it’s going to be a fun few days. I think more and more there is a blurring of lines between genres in the country/folk/blues/americana worlds, which is great – I don’t think any artists like to be pigeon-holed too much and if we can play to fans across different genre communities, it helps us to widen our fanbases and bring more people together.

Finally, if you could pick one female Country/Folk/Americana artist to write a song with, who would it be and why?

Laura Marling – I think she’s an absolute genius and I love everything she writes. In 40 years’ time I think she’ll have the same status as Joni. I’d be a proper fan-girl though and probably forget how to play/sing/write in her presence… so maybe it’s safer for me to go with The Spice Girls instead. They’re not Country, Folk or Americana, but I just mentioned that I’m all for blurring the genre lines and we could write a killer teen pop-folk hit. That’s what I want. (What I really really want.)

Twitter: @HollieRMusic

Instagram: @hollierogersmusic

Interview conducted by Gareth Williams (

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