A Birmingham financier is taking to the road to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a musician with the help of top producer Gavin Monoghan.
Mark Rogers, co-founder of Water Street-based firm Clay Rogers, is taking time out from his day job to launch a debut album with Gavin Monoghan who has worked with global artists including the Kings of Leon, The Smiths, Ronnie Wood, The Twang, Ocean Colour Scene and Scott Matthews.
But the launch of the album, of which the cover will be designed by artist Eric Waugh, is not for personal fame and fortune – all proceeds will be donated to charity.
A Brave New World is two years in the making after a chance meeting with Eric – the world record holder for largest painting painted on canvas 41,400 sq ft – by a single artist.
Mr Rogers said: “I was on holiday on a cruise and I was watching a live demonstration by Eric. I am a massive fan of art and music and got to know him through our mutual interests. He told me about his charity work with One Heartland which helps children with Aids.
“When I told him I used to be in a band he asked why I hadn’t gone back to it for so many years. He said that if I wrote the album, he would do the artwork and I thought it was a great challenge. I love writing lyrics and poetry for family but I haven’t done anything musically for 22 years.”
His former band King’s New Clothes supported Aztec Camera in the 1980s but never quite got the big break.
Now, with the backing of some the West Midlands' biggest stars, including Jasper Carrott, Tony Iommi, Rick Wakeman and Bev Bevan, Mr Rogers has been encouraged to fulfil a lifelong ambition and gave his first live performance for 22 years for the launch at St Paul's Gallery in Birmingham.
Mr Waugh, who has been a guest on Larry King and held live painting demonstrations for Tony Bennett and Nelly Furtado, flew in from the US to be at the launch.
Mr Rogers, a 49-year old who lives with his partner and two step-sons, added: “It has been an amazing experience. Being in the studio after so much time was fantastic, a home from home.
“I am ecstatic about the album release - it’s a lifetime goal. I had two dreams; one to be on Top of the Pops and two to have an album which I have now done. My music is available to download on I-Tunes and more than it being a personal goal, it will help amazing causes.”
Drawing upon influences as diverse as The Beatles, Elvis Costello and Tears for Fears, A Brave New World released by new Midland’s label Incremental offers eight tracks of varied music from rock to disco inspired.
Move an Army is a new wave rock song inspired by I Fought the Law by The Clash. All I Know is a heartfelt track dedicated to three of Mark’s family members who died of cancer and Shake it Up is inspired by the novel The History of Mr Polly and is reflective of Mark’s own personal drive – if you don’t like a situation then you have got to change it.
All proceeds from the sale of album and Eric’s artwork and merchandise will be donated to charities Help the Heroes and Macmillan Cancer Relief in the UK and One Heartland, Eric’s nominated charity in the United States.