There’s a stunning young performer singing her heart out around St. Louis this summer in anticipation of heading back to Nashville to pursue her future. Her name’s Aubry Rodriguez and, yes, she is the daughter of THAT Rodriguez – Johnny, of course – making her Country Music aristocracy.
However, at 19 Aubrey is not a woman to rest on anyone else’s laurels, not even a dad who’s charted 45 singles, taking 15 to the top 10 and six to No. 1 in his 40-plus years as an entertainer. But, that’s not to say Aubrey is not aware of her father’s place in country music history.
“I am so incredibly blessed to be around the people he knows and have him to open doors for me,” she said appreciatively.
Since Aubrey knows how to walk through those doors, she began performing with her father’s band around four years ago, giving her valuable professional experience and enabling her, she said, to see first-hand “the impact he’s had on so many people.”
“I’ve always been conscious of it, and it makes me just tear up sometimes,” she confessed.
Born in 1998 in San Marcos, Texas, Aubrey is Johnny’s only child. Her parents divorced when she was small, and she and her mother, Debbie, subsequently moved to Missouri to be near and care for her material grandparents, both of whom she’s recently lost. After completing her first year as a Belmont University student in Nashville, she returned to Missouri this summer to a jam-packed schedule of performing solo at small venues and clubs.
“I do three-hour sets,” she explained, saying that she performs “mostly covers with some original songs.”
Yep. She’s a songwriter, too.
“Music just came naturally to me,” she said, noting that from her childhood she’s saved “random little notepads of songs I wrote.”
She said she was making up tunes as early as four and has continued to write throughout her life.
“Sometimes I can write a song in five minutes, and then sometimes I may write a little melody or a few lyrics, and it may take weeks for it to come together,” she said.
Songwriting talent, 12-years of piano lessons and mastery of the guitar combined with a powerful voice and a strong work ethic have enabled her to remain employed as an entertainer to support her dream of becoming a music entertainment attorney.
That’s why she’s majoring in both Music and Music Business at Belmont, a college known internationally for its music education offerings, which Aubry praised for creating an environment for people with her aspirations and background. Since there are other students there from comparable backgrounds, Aubry said it’s not unusual to meet children or grandchildren of renowned performers. Some people recognize her name, but it makes little difference as she studies and works toward achieving her goals – and doing it as independently as she can.
“I have dreamed of attending Belmont since my freshman year of high school and feel right at home on campus,” she wrote in her GoFundMe.com campaign narrative last fall when she asked for public help in raising funds for college, adding, humbly, “I would be thankful for any amount of donation and am extremely grateful for all the love and support :).”
What she did not state in her backstory is that she’s Johnny’s daughter. That same independent spirit has her performing solo around Nashville during the academic year, and she’s been on the lineup at numerous Nashville venues, including The George Jones and Manuel American Designs. Earlier this year her name was right there along with last names like Twitty, Miller, Hamilton, Hawkins, Carter, Reed and more at the 2017 Next Generation, Sons and Daughters of Country Legends at the Nashville Palace.
Aubry envisions a career in which she’s not only an attorney but also a successful performer, confessing that she hopes to someday “sell out Madison Square Garden.” She’s under no delusion that it will be easy, regardless of her last name.
“You have to be a good advocate for yourself and be assertive,” she observed.
Testimony to her belief in taking control of ones destiny is her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/AubryRMusic, which lists her upcoming schedule for dozens of solo gigs and provides links to her music, including a stirring original called “Pray.”
Aubry is taking her legacy and translating it into a future where she writes her own history in the annals of Country music.
– by Claudia Johnson
About Aubry’s Dad…
By Sasha Dunavant
Recording 15 Top 10 and six No. 1 hits, including “You Always Come Back (To Hurting Me),” “That’s the Way Love Goes” and “”I Just Can’t Get Her Out of My Mind,” Johnny Rodriquez is by far County Music’s most successful recording artist of Hispanic descent. Discovered by Tom T. Hall and Bobby Bare while singing at a Texas attraction, Rodriguez moved to Nashville in 1971 where he soon began recording and writing songs.
His debut album, “Introducing Johnny Rodriguez,” went to #1 on all three major trade charts and by 1973, he was nominated by the Country Music Association for “Male Vocalist of the Year” and won the Billboard Trend Setter Award for first Mexican-American to capture a national audience.
Since 1974, when Rodriguez had his first TV appearances, a role on “Adam 12” and a contestant on “The Dating Game” among them, he has been a favorite on national talk shows and performance format shows.
In the past 40 years, Johnny has released 35 albums and charted 45 singles. He has beat the pavement touring in every state in the U.S. and enjoys an enormous response when touring overseas.
Rodriguez has been honored for his contributions and place in music’s traditions and history. This artist brings the Hispanic communities and Country Music together with his bilingual songs. Rodriguez was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in Carthage, Texas in 2007 for his contribution to Country Music. In 2010, Rodriguez received the Pioneer Award from the Institute of Hispanic Culture
This copyrighted story was originally published in Country Reunion Magazine and Country Reunion News.