Two years ago, Joshua Rogers was attending classes as a senior in high school. Today, he is touring the world as gospel music’s favorite new sensation. Affectionately called “young buck” in season five of BET’s wildly successful Sunday Best television talent competition, the nineteen-year-old vocal champ secured the series’ crown as the youngest and first male winner before topping Billboard’s gospel chart with his inaugural EP in 2012. His first full-length record, Unconditional (Music World Gospel), bowed at No. 2 last fall. Catching up with the seasoned youth, CCM asks Rogers about newfound fame and how to stay grounded.
CCM: As a new member of a genre full of celebrity veterans, do you feel pressure to prove and secure your place at the party?
Joshua: I don’t feel pressure as much as I feel honored to stand on the shoulders of artists I have grown up listening to and admiring. To stand next to them on a national platform is a dream come true for a young guy like me from a small town in South Carolina. My “dad in the gospel,” Donnie McClurkin, my mentor on the show and “mother in ministry,” Kim Burrell, along with the entire Clark Family, have especially opened up their hearts and homes to welcome me with such amazing love and guidance.
CCM: Jet magazine, BET specials and salutes, sharing stages with gospel music veterans — how have you kept the focus on the music and message in the middle of such broad-based attention?
Joshua: To maintain focus, I minister. I stay in the face of God. I focus on what He tells me to do. The Bible says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of these other things will be added unto you.” So I focus on loving God and serving Him, realizing that just as He has given me this amazing opportunity, He can take it away. My gift is to Him and Him alone.
CCM: Do you have other dreams and aspirations aside from your music career?
Joshua: Yes. I desire to act. I would really enjoy doing some plays and movies. I also want to start my own clothing and shoe line. I want to start a youth foundation for fatherless children, helping children who need positive role models to encourage them to go after their dreams. I want to be a well-rounded artist.
CCM: At the end of the day, why sing?
Joshua: I believe this is the ministry God has assigned to me. And I love singing more than anything. Singing is my expression in life. I’m not big on expressing how I feel a lot of the time, but when I sing I feel at peace and free. Music has been my best friend and hobby. It is one of God’s greatest inventions. I just love music!