Soldier pursues dream while serving at Fort Gordon
June 9, 2014
FORT GORDON, Ga. (June 6, 2014) - Serving in the military can be so demanding that at times it becomes difficult balancing work with family life. Throw pursuit of a second career in the equation, and you're bound to hit some bumps. But for one Soldier, it's all a part of the ride.
Sergeant Darius Riggins works as a systems support specialist and writer/instructor during the day. At night, and occasionally well into the morning, he writes and performs music.
"I'm still trying to find balance, but I'm able to work music around my military schedule," said Riggins, father of three.
Raised in Augusta, Georgia, Riggins, with 15th Regimental Signal Brigade, started his musical aspirations as a young child singing in his church choir. Soon after enlisting in the U.S. Army, Riggins moved to Korea in 2006. While stationed there, he met a musician who had a music recording studio, and he learned about the process of making music.
Following Korea, Riggins moved to Fort Polk, Louisiana, and competed in the 2008 Operation Rising Star and won. Despite his success, Riggins said he didn't start taking music seriously until a couple years later, while deployed to Iraq. It was the beginning of a new chapter in his military and music careers.
"It changed my entire outlook on life," Riggins said. "I missed my wife a lot … and when you miss somebody, you tend to express your feelings more."
Riggins' transformed his feelings into lyrics. While his wife remained a main source of inspiration, his fellow Soldiers came as a close second.
"You're in an environment where you become so close with guys going through different situations that it opens up a whole can of worms for songwriting," Riggins said.
Riggins directed a church choir at his forward operating base in Iraq and opened for a country music star performing at the FOB. During his down time, he strengthened his writing skills and performed his music in front of crowds. After returning to the states, Riggins took to performing at venues around Fort Hood, Texas, eventually making his way back to Augusta by way of the military.
He is currently working on his first professionally developed album, and his recently released single, "Beautiful," has drawn the attention of local radio stations.
His platoon leader, Staff Sgt. Alex Jones, described Riggins as "consistent and focused." The two met last year and bonded almost immediately when they discovered how much they have in common, including a love of music. He respects Riggins for his commitment to Army and determination to pursue something more.
"He's definitely working hard to better his Army career by doing what he needs to advance, and after hours, he goes to the studio," Jones said. "A lot of people would give up."
After almost a decade in the military, Riggins said he'd like to stay in while making music if he can. Ultimately, he will do whatever it takes to provide for his family.
"The military has been very good to me," Riggins said. "I've had a lot of very supportive chain of commands and NCOs encourage me to follow my dreams."