Carl Sturken And Evan Rodgers: “Band Members Turn Co-Writers”

Written by March 1st, 1999 at 11:02 am

Writing and producing in many different genres, Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers have found success at home and abroad. Their careers started out with work on the Beat Street soundtrack. Since then, their long list of credits includes work with such artists as Gavin Christopher (who had a Top 40 hit with “One Step Closer To You”); Stephanie Mills (a Top 10 R&B artist); Cheryl Lynn (also in the Top 10 as an R&B artist), and Donny Osmond (his comeback with the #1 single “Soldier of Love”). They have worked with artists in many different genres, from rock (The Fixx) to AC jazz (Dave Cos) to dance (Nia Peebles).

Currently they have been writing with Roland Gift of the Fine Young Cannibals for his upcoming solo album. Of the duo, Evan Rogers spoke to me. The other half of the team, Carl Sturken, was working with a string session in the studio when I called. The tandem has been together since they started out in an R&B band in Connecticut.

“We became the main writers in the group, and when the group broke up, we continued writing together,” Rogers said. Once they had found some success as songwriters, they formed a new band.

“We were in a group called Rhythm Syndicate on MCA. We had a number one hit and toured for a couple of years and said we’d like to go back to our day jobs. We found the life of being an artist a little crazy.”

Preferring the lifestyle of writing and producing, they did go back to their “day jobs” at MCA records. Besides working well together, the duo has a good relationship with MCA.

It all started with a song they had out on MCA artist Evelyn Champagne King. Rogers explains: “The song came out, and all of a sudden, our lawyer got a call from someone at MCA music. We didn’t know what a publishing deal was. I was like, what, they want to give us money? Great!”

Up until then, it had been more of a struggle to get their songs out there. With MCA on their side, however, they had access to invaluable contacts. “They’d fly us out to L.A., they’d fly us out to London to write with other MCA writers.”

“Starting out with no connections isn’t easy,” Rogers stressed. “Going into a record company straight out of nowhere. You have to hit everybody you possibly can.

“Sometimes just that friend of a friend who knows someone or works at a management company or the junior A&R guy who’s a friend of my friend.”

Now the duo has a little more power. They produce acts and can bring new artists in for the label, to look at and possibly sign.

“The production thing, we’re very comfortable with it. We don’t insist on it because we actually get more output if we have other producers working on our songs at the same time, since we can only produce so many records at a time.”

Such producers have ranged from David Foster to Trevor Horn to Dave Hall.

As for signing artists, they recently signed a pop male singing group called My Brother’s Keeper. Also, they just signed a 21-year old, blue-eyed soul singer, Don Phillip, to Jive.

“He is like George Michael (was) in his day. We brought him up there and they (Jive Records) just flipped over him.”

Though Sturken & Rogers have more power now, they still don’t have the sway of someone like Baby Face.

“Because we have a label deal with MCA, we have to get their support on an artist that we bring in.”

As for the deal with Jive, good connections with the people there opened the door for them. “We didn’t sign it through our production company, but we sort of have a guarantee that we’re doing most of the album.”

Sturken & Rogers good fortune doesn’t mean they haven’t faced rejection. The two artists previously mentioned, along with some others, were initially turned down by other record labels.

“We’ve had it happen where…labels didn’t get it, and you’re like, maybe it’s just not the right place for this artist, but I know I believe in it.”

Faith and persistence have served the writing duo well. “If you’re really the real thing, I believe that eventually it will happen,” Rogers said. “I know a lot of people sit around (saying), ‘Ah, I’m great, but you know, I just don’t have the connections.’ If you go out and get heard by everyone, I believe that sooner or later, that break will come.” And once that break comes, good connections like Willie Morrison at MCA London help a great deal.

Sturken & Rogers invaded Britain with a song done by Eternal called “Power of a Woman.” It was Morrison who then ran around and made everyone aware of the Yankee duo.

“And then we had to deliver once we got over there, and I guess people liked what we had.” Now back in the States, their part of the Roland Gift project finished (they wrote five songs with him), they will continue working with new Jive Records recording artist, Don Phillip. “That’s a big priority for us right now.”


  • http://myspace.com/amitykapri amity kapri

    i want to get in contact with these 2

  • Minerva

    can you guys help me get signed? i’m a singer

  • http://www.myspace.com/cedellapopo Cedella

    Come to the commonwealth of dominica and discover Cedella…Me :)

  • http://yankeepoo1987@yahoo.com Subrina

    hello Roger and sturken ive heard so much about your success over the past years . I am a very hardworking, determined and aggressive individual; aggressive in a positive way who thinks its time individuals like you guys give me the opportunity to shine. jus a chance!!! take care

  • Vanessa

    I have been interested in singing since the age of five. I write so many songs and eventually connect them with beats, but i always felt like i needed help on them. You two are very talented people and i want a chance to show the world what i have to offer. It would be great to hear from you. I am positive you recieve so many emails similar to mines, but i have never wanted this more then right now. Take care!

  • james wilkerson

    i know what you did for rihanna and christina you can do for me. i am an aspiring singer and song writer and i can have a vocal range that spands about 8 octaves so far. i practice everyday and pray that one day i will be able to make it in the industry. i know that i have alot to look forward to, alot to learn, and im soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ready for it. im 17 years old now and ill soon be out of my parents house, ill be on my own and ready to pursue this career whole heartedly. i used to sing at church and at talent shows all the time, but i feel that its time for me to venture out in the world as a man and make my mark. artist who influence me are michael jackson, prince, aretha franklin, kelly clarkson, adam lambert, amber riley, kim burrell, the clark sisters, smokie norful, ,marvin sapp, tonex,trey songz, jennifer hudson, carrie underwood, and mariah carey and whitney houston. i emulate all their styles in my vocal performances but i still maintain my own flavor and uniqueness. i can make it in this world, just give me the chance to do whatever you want me to do and ill can prove a great success. please get back to me through email, i can send you videos of me singing and dancing any time just give me a chance. i have the heart for this and ive never wanted anything as bad as this.

  • http://www.myspace.com/studeo74 Studeo74

    You’re looking for a producer. Hit me today before i get to big ;o)

  • Juliana

    Oi my name is Juliana has 17 years. I live in Brazil… I would very like to carry through a dream, but he is great of more and very far.
    But nothing it is impossible in the life alone is enough to want and to have who to help people to have forces and I need the vocês aid…
    I am of the state of Rio De Janeiro of a very poor community and I would like to represent the Brasil fora of the country. I would like a chance to have a producer to help me to go up my steps and to discover my brightness and who knows one day to be a Diva.
    If some producer to read this enters in contact with me.
    Email: july_juh27@hotmail.com
    In the life nothing it falls of the sky, us we have that to battle to have we want it… E I am making my part why if I not to run behind I do not go to have what I want…

  • Juliana

    Oi my name is Juliana has 17 years. I live in Brazil… I would very like to carry through a dream, but he is great of more and very far.
    But nothing it is impossible in the life alone is enough to want and to have who to help people to have forces and I need the aid of you…
    I am of the state of Rio De Janeiro of a very poor community and I would like to represent Brazil I am of the country. I would like a chance to have a producer to help me to go up my steps and to discover my brightness and who knows one day to be a Diva.
    If some producer to read this enters in contact with me.
    Email: july_juh27@hotmail.com
    In the life nothing it falls of the sky, us we have that to battle to have we want it… E I am making my part why if I not to run behind I do not go to have what I want…

  • Nathalie Clayton

    i am a 23yr old woman with a amazing gift i have sang all my life i never tried to become public because i was afraid of not being recieved but as i have gotten older my life has taken on a lot of twist and turns I have songs that i have written but i want more than for my music just to b a song i want it to be a lesson than all men and women young and old can hear and feel like thay can relate to. I eat sleep and breath music, it is me i dont want a chance to be famous i just want to tell my story share my life learned lessons with the world that maybe one day someone will say that my song changed their life. just give me a chance

  • Lauren

    Hey, you don’t know me but my name is Lauren. I was doing some research on the internet and i saw that you helped Rihanna start her career. I dont know if you are still living in CT but i live in the haddam area and…you probably get messages like this all the time but i wanted to know if you could help me start a singing career. Ive had this dream for as long as i can remember. Ive been taking voice lessons but the guy i was going to was crap and I had my last session with him last week. Ive already found someone else to give me voice lessons and I am very confident that she can help me improve my singing voice…I was wondering if when I feel like I am ready if I could audition for you..my email is campbellsoup4life@yahoo.com

  • Goldie

    HI PLEASE VIEW WICKEDWANDASTALKSHOW ON YOUTUBE CLICK ON THE DIAMOND COVERED BENZ THE SONG SECRET FANTASY WILL START PLAYING,
    THIS IS A VERY TALENTED 16 YEAR OLD SINGER FROM PHILLY, PLEASE VIEW THANK YOU.

  • Goldie

    GOODDAY
    CAN YOU PLEASE VIEW A RAPPER BY THE NAME OF CITYBLOCK ON MAJORITE ENTERTAINMENT.WEBS.COM
    THIS ARTIST HAS A HUGE FAN BASE HE IS FROM PHILLY,
    HE IS ALSO ON MYSPACE, PLEASE VIEW FAMILY OF FULL FORCE.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Tashadenaemusic Tasha DeNaw
  • senika thomas

    hi good day…..im 19 years old and im from trinidad……my biggest dream is becoming a singer ever since i could remeber,…..im willing to do lots an anything to archieve this goal but first i need a producer’s help….i need some one to discover me…..i also write songs, some are fantastic…..an im also sure of saying that any one who discovers me will not regret it at all……….

  • Coranetta

    can they or at least one of them watch my video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zS5LfUqUR6k

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