Salt Lake City certainly isn't known as a hotbed for emerging hip-hop artists.
That's not stopping 22-year-old Alex Rogers from trying.
The recent University of Utah graduate is looking for a job, but also looking to produce his first hip-hop album under the moniker A-Rodge. Rogers already has produced two mixtapes and performed live twice since he started recording last August. In between searching for marketing jobs, he's hard at work self-producing and writing lyrics for his album, which should be finished within three weeks.
What began with one song done as a joke has turned into a passion.
"I made a goofy joke song and then started making more," he said. "I started writing more seriously because I realized that I could actually do this."
Rogers grew up in Issaquah, Wash., just east of Seattle, and moved to Salt Lake City when he was 10. He learned how to play the trombone in school and took a liking to the drums when he was a teenager. His brother was in a metal band and, in 2009, Rogers was the drummer when they produced an album.
He put aside drumming when he went to college, because lugging the drum set around dorms was too much of a hassle. Now that he's producing beats, Rogers found his prowess with percussion is beneficial.
"That comes naturally, but I have no background in piano," he said. "I'm doing pretty basic things right now and taking it slow."
Basic is all the young artist can do right now because he started with Apple's GarageBand for sound editing and recently upgraded to Logic sound-editing software. But what isn't basic are his lyrics, which possess a bevy of positive messages on every track.
"I wrote about things that actually mattered and telling stories and sharing insight," Rogers said. "The cool part about hip-hop is you can directly say things."
Rogers majored in economics and interpersonal communication at Utah, which might explain his interest in the English language. He said inspiration for his lyrics strikes at any moment, and when that comes, it comes with a flurry.
"I'm an upbeat dude, and I'm a happy guy," he said. "I write about the mood I'm feeling at the time, and I like to be able to share it."
While Rogers isn't well-known in many music circles, he said a tight group of fans is keeping him going. He's searching for shows he can open for, and working on building a website to better present his work.
"I want to play live shows throughout the area now," he said. "Salt Lake is sort of a tough town for my specific genre. There is a scene coming up now, but it's hard to find a niche that I can play with."
In the meantime, he's appreciating the small triumphs, such as when his cousin played his music for her baby daughter.
"They were blasting my music in the living room, and that's awesome," Rogers said. "Music is a great way to express your feelings, and it's nice way to be able to talk about it. These songs aren't that emotional, but they're upbeat."
Download and listen to music from Alex Rogers: