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:

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  • Alex Sarmiento

    I prefer Jamar’s voice to Danny Gokey’s. I was horrified that Danny made it as far as he did on Idol, and for the most part it was because of his back-story: his dead wife Sophia. No other Idol-related sob story, legitimate or otherwise, annoyed me like that one. (It’s not the fact that Danny had a dead wife, it’s that the producers made it ALL ABOUT THE FACT THAT DANNY HAD A DEAD WIFE, and that Danny, rather than allowing himself to grieve in his own time, pretty much allowed them to make it all about the fact.) About the only thing that the producers didn’t do was reanimate or digitally reconstruct her remains. I would have preferred Jamar’s story instead. At the very least, Jamar is trying to be more than just a recovering drug addict/person living with HIV.

  • soakman

    Honestly, Jamar is a favorite of mine so far for his voice alone. He’s got a raw edge a lot of other soulful singers don’t seem to be able to pull out.

  • Aki

    Danny “dead wife” Gokey has a new not dead wife now. He got married recently

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