I try to keep my eye on up and coming Harrelson Clients. We have so many people all over the globe doing great things in music and life in general. Angel Rodgers is one of those that has caught my eye for some time. I finally had a chance to interview her and learn a little bit more about this talented young woman. She is truly a inspiration... ~Jennifer Sandquist
For her full bio please follow this link: http://about.me/trumpetessmusic
What horn do you play on? What leadpipe and bell? Why did you choose this set up?
I play on a Bravura leadpipe and bell 4. I selected this set up because I wanted a rich, warm sound, but not overly rich and warm. I love the horn and I think it suits me and my style of playing extremely well. Jason really out did himself. .
Do you have any advice for young musicians just starting out on the instrument?
My advice to young musicians would be to have fun. In life, we all go through various stages of growth and development. Younger kids learn by association and things that appeal to their senses. So I would encourage them to enjoy music and their instrument. I would also encourage them to keep at it. Nothing just falls in your lap, you have to work to make things happen.
How long have you been playing trumpet?
I have been playing the trumpet for 17 years now. Wow, sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s been that long. I started playing at the age of 8. My family has always be music lovers. I was raised in a strictly Christian household so we listened to gospel music a lot, but I was exposed to oldies as well, such as Motown, the Temptations, Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Smokie Robinson, James Brown, etc. When I was 8, my little brother and I went with my grandparents and church family to the national Church of God in Christ Convention in Memphis TN. It was the Friday night musical service and Vernard Johnson a gospel/jazz saxophonist was up performing. I was so excited and dancing around. Shortly after an older lady got on the stage and played the song “I’ll Fly Away” on the trumpet. I was SO CAPTURED by her performance and immediately I fell in love with the trumpet. I had been messing around with the piano and even tried to sing a little bit, but in that moment I KNEW the trumpet was for me. I told my papa that I wanted a trumpet and I would do anything to get one. He just smiled and kept enjoying the program. A few months later I wanted to join the school band, so my mom approved but said she didn’t know how I would get an instrument. I came home from school the next day and my papa handed me a trumpet case. I was the happiest kid on two feet. Lol. Turns out both of my uncles played the trumpet, so papa had the horn fixed up and passed it along to me. (I actually still have that horn, it’s a conn) That day I made a promise to my papa, I told him that no matter what I would never put down the trumpet and I promised to make him proud. I didn’t know how I was going to get there, or what I would have to go through to accomplish it, but I was determined to be a musician even at 8 yrs old.
If you could ask the seasoned pros out there anything what would it be?
I would want to know their story… how they started in music, how they stuck with it, and how they became who they are. It is easy to have a dream, but hard to work towards making that dream come true. So I would ask the great how they accomplished what they did.
Who are some of your musical influences?
Hmmmm… influences would be Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis, Clifford Brown, Blue Mitchell, and Clora Bryant. I also, learn a lot from gospel artist such as Kirk Whalum, Donnie McClurkin, Donald Hayes, Yolanda Adams, Douglas Miller, Kirk Franklin, Tye Tribbett, Fred Hammond. I just love music of all kinds.
After years of working at Harrelson Trumpets... it's easy for me to see that the Trumpet as an instrument is generally a "boys club" ... what does it feel like being one of the few leading ladies in the trumpet world?
It feels awesome. I love being a woman, and I love playing the trumpet and being a musician. I remember when I was younger, I would get kicks out of walking into a room full of trumpet players with my horn in hand, and just watching the faces and hear the bickering and snide comments, then when I put the horn to my face watch those same people hang their mouths open in disbelief. ! Those are the moments that I still draw from and use as motivation. I started working on my master’s degree in Jazz Studies in Aug of 2010, and one of the biggest challenges for me were the sexist attitudes, opinions, and comments that were thrown my direction. I was so shocked and even hurt, but I had to realize quickly that just because some “bullies” threw a few rocks, I didn’t have to stand still and allow them to hit me, I have the right to dance around, duck and dodge to keep them from hitting me. I thank God for my journey though, I really do. I feel that a musician is a musician and black, white, male, or female should not matter… the only thing that should matter is can an individual speak the language… the language of music. Can they use pitches, tone, and rhythms to convey messages, touch lives, and heal themselves and others. Ultimately, that is what music is about.
Tell me about the national association of negro musicians.... what will your role be at the conference? when is it? is it open to the public?
The National Association of Negro Musicians, founded in 1919 in Chicago Illinois, is an organization dedicated to the preservation, encouragement, and advocacy of music of African Americans. The organization is also a platform for performers, historians, and music educators.
This year’s conference will be held in Dallas, TX July 29-Aug 2 at Love Field. I will be participating as a lecturer and performer. My lecture will be a portion of my thesis work on ‘Trumpetiste’ Clora Bryant, a female trumpeter of the 1940s that performed with several big named jazz musicians, but did not receive the proper recognition. My performance will be portions of Ms. Bryant’s songs from her lone album ‘Gal With the Horn’. The conference is open to the public and I encourage all who are in the Dallas area to come check it out. I am very excited about the opportunity.
I'm curious... what's playing on your stereo most days?
Well, currently I am preparing for my master’s recital so I have been listening to my selected tunes over and over and over again. Louis Armstrong, Roy Eldridge, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, Clora Bryant… But I love all kinds of music. As I mentioned earlier, I grew up in a Christian household, so I love gospel music. I am also a fan on R&B and oldies. My friends pick on my all the time and say I am the oldest young person they know. Lol. I just really appreciate when music was music. Back in those days songs had meaning and substance.
When you're not playing trumpet... what do you do?
I am a very outgoing, yet laid back type of person. I like to have fun, watch movies, shop, spend time with family and I absolutely LOVE to travel. It is a goal of mine to visit at least 4 countries before I am 35…. So looks like I need to hurry up and get to it. Lol. Yeah, but I just like to have fun and enjoy life. I have seen people that I care about deeply be robbed of their life and the opportunity to live the life they wanted to live. Therefore, I strive to live each day to the fullest.
For more information about Angeleisha you can follow either of these links:
trumpetessmusic.wordpress.com (blog) or www.facebook.com/trumpetessmusic
Jennifer Sandquist has been at Harrelson Trumpets since it's inception. Jen spends much of her time on marketing, photography and client spotlights. She has recently started CAD design and CNC machining for custom art on horns and trim. When she's not at Harrelson Trumpets... Jen love to travel, see live music and follow creative pursuits of all kinds.