Meet Jamar Rogers, The HIV+ Bronx Man Speaking Out And Singing Loud On The Voice

Usually singing-competition shows aim for some milquetoast backstage drama with their contestants, like a lost relative or a handicap overcome.  Breaking the mold is The Voice crooner Jamar Rogers, an HIV+ former meth addict who came clean with his story in his introductory bit above.

And as empowering as the 29-year-old’s story is, it’s also sad—the part where his mother tells him he’s an “inspiration” because he’s seen such “dark hours” made up mist up a little bit.

In 2009, he auditioned for American Idol with friend Danny Gokey but didn’t disclose his HIV status on-air. He didn’t make it to the top 12, but got pretty close.

He tells the New York Post:

“I had been clean for two years when we auditioned for Idol. I had told the producers about my drug use [but not my HIV status]. But they opted not to use that as part of my story. But Idol is a different type of show. Their audience is more conservative…

“I wanted to get the word out there that if you take your meds and you take care of yourself, [HIV] is no different from any other chronic illness. It is manageable. I have now been undetectable for five years. I don’t even get a cold. That is strictly by the grace of God.”

And don’t peg him as just an inspiring story with a lackluster lust,  because his vocal chops are celestial. Here’s his smooth take on the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” which snagged him a a spot of Cee Lo Green’s team: