Pineville's Jimmy Rose talks about his 'America's Got Talent' success and his plans

kward1@herald-leader.comOctober 27, 2013 

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AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- Episode 816 -- Pictured: Jimmy Rose -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

NBC — Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Jimmy Rose is a long way from Pineville, and he's bummed about missing deer season, but the singer-songwriter said he's loving life on the road.

Since finishing third on America's Got Talent in September, Rose has been touring with America's Got Talent Live.

"This is just a tease for me," he said. "Every time I walk on that stage ... it's just an amazing feeling."

The America's Got Talent Live tour wraps up in mid-November, and Rose is hoping he'll be signed by a record label.

But regardless of what happens after the tour, Rose, 33, said he plans to continue to pursue a career in the music industry.

"I'll go after it independently," he said. "I've got a taste now, and I know what I want."

In the meantime, he's using the down time while traveling to write songs about his journey.

"A song is being lived every day," he said.

Rose's original song Coal Keeps the Lights On endeared him to the America's Got Talent judges and made him a hero back home in Bell County.

Rose said in a recent interview that he went straight from high school to the coal mines, where he worked for about a year and a half.

He also spent a few years running a forklift at a factory in Tennessee, then joined the Marine Corps. He served four years, including spending time in Iraq.

It was as a Marine that he learned to play guitar.

"Music just poured out of me," he said. "It was bottled up inside of me."

Rose said he's had other jobs since returning to civilian life, including working as a meter-reader for an electric company, working in construction and even digging ginseng to make a few bucks. He also enrolled in community college for a while.

But making a career of his music has always been a dream, and he's put in some hard work to make it happen.

"I would always play little places," he said. "I'd even sing at funerals. It wouldn't matter to me."

Two years ago, Rose made an acoustic CD of himself singing his original songs. He said he'd burn a few hundred copies of it in his living room, then sit on the side of the road distributing them.

"We gave away probably 5,000 CDs," he said. "We wouldn't be there 30 minutes and they would all be gone."

Since his run of success, Rose has been selling the CDs through his Facebook page, though he cautions anyone interested that "it ain't nothing professional."

Last year, he and his brother Chris, who also sings and plays guitar, made a float and entered it in the Mountain Laurel Festival parade as a means of getting their music heard. Rose's girlfriend of a year and a half, Heather Morgan, pulled the float in his truck.

"She's my best friend. I call her my rock because she truly is," he said. "She has got me through so much."

There's an interesting story behind how they met.

"Heather and I met in court," Rose said.

While returning from a fishing trip, Rose said, a police officer stopped him because he had a headlight out. The officer also informed him that his license had expired.

The day Rose appeared in court, Heather was there, too.

He told her what he was there for, and she offered reassurance.

"I thought she was a really pretty woman and I thought I should tell her that," he said.

Rose said he "wrote her a little note" and slipped it to her as she was leaving the courtroom, and they've been together ever since.

"That's a right-out-of-the-holler one there," Rose said, laughing.

He has a 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son from a previous marriage.

Rose said he has one piece of advice to share: "It don't matter where you come from. It ain't how you was raised. It's how you get yourself back up. Go after what you want, no matter what life's dealt you."

America's Got Talent is accepting video auditions and holding open casting calls for its ninth season. For information, go to AGTauditions.com.

Karla Ward: (859) 231-3314. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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