Jenn Rogar Sings Her Story from a Mountain Top: the Interview, January 22, 2021
By Pieter Pastoor
Below is a short bio of Jenn Rogar.
“I started singing as a child in my room growing up in Los Angeles (Van Nuys and Woodland Hills) to singers like Elton John, Helen Reddy and Julie Andrews. I put on plays in my garage that I wrote and performed in for my neighbors. In high school I played flute in the band and was too shy to sing. During the Karaoke craze I began to perform and also sang the title song on a CD put out by my church. I sang and performed with Monkey Business, a light-hearted singing telegram service in Sacramento in the late ’80s. I have sung and performed in some fashion my whole life.
“In the late ’90s I became a singer-songwriter in the tradition of Joan Baez, who accompanies herself on an acoustic guitar, and began performing in that fashion in 1998 at open mics and farmers markets. I took voice lessons with outstanding pop vocalist Sana Christian in Sacramento, and jazz- and oper- trained Claudia Newberry in San Francisco, and a half-dozen guitar lessons with Sacramento’s guitar master Steve MClane. I never read a book or took a lesson on how to write a song. I just started writing songs after I learned about three chords.
“I picked up the guitar after a few frustrating auditions with cover bands that were more intent on hearing themselves be heard that hearing the singer. I stopped performing from 2000 to 2004 while I attended law school. After graduation I began performing again, and worked on my first CD, Place Called Humanity. My mother died in 2008 and I stopped performing again. I returned to performing in 2010 after having taken the Bar exam for the second time and I have been singing ever since with my own band or solo.
“I stopped performing when everything shut down last March. I sang for a few months every Thursday night at the Shasta Inn in Mount Shasta, where I now live, but now that is gone because all of the bars and restaurants are shut down again. I created a second CD called The River in 2013, did a music video for the title track, and was nominated for a Sammie award under the Singer-Songwriter category (Sacramento Area Music Award) in 2018.
“I was well known in Sacramento for being a topical singer-songwriter and was not one to hide my politics. I sang probably a dozen times at the state Capitol for various causes and sang politically tinged songs at those clubs or restaurants that would allow me. With time it became the in thing to do to be political and I could sing everywhere. I have sung almost everywhere in Sacramento. I sang at rallies and marches, and created and hosted numerous benefits for the homeless in Sacramento as well as attend city council meetings to advocate for the homeless.
“I wrote a lot of songs that just came to me to easily and from experiences I had. I am not writing at this time, but I wish I were and I know I should with all that is going on. I do not want to be political anymore. I prefer to entertain people and sing songs that are light and classic like, and of my neutral and fun originals or standards from the past.
I am pursuing acting because there is nowhere to sing and perform and I love to perform. I feel lost not performing. I have always wanted to act but never had the time.
“Now that I am retired as a teacher I have the time and I intend to split my time between Mount Shasta and Hollywood. I have a profile I built on a website called Backstage (at www.backstage.com(link is external)) under my real name, Jennifer Andree Rogar. This site helps you secure acting roles. I feel my experience as a performer at gigs from Luna’s to Harlows in Sacramento, or even Morro Bay and San Francisco, have prepared me well for a career in acting. I also have some acting training with the renowned acting coach in Sacramento Ed Claudio. I am going to try to sing in LA as well if and when that ever opens up again.
“There is much more on my website at www.jennrogar.com(link is external) about me and interviews that can be found on You Tube that I have done with SacTV or Listen Up! Sacramento or Soapbox!
“The best song I ever wrote was ‘Shasta,’ which is about Mount Shasta, and now I live in a beautiful home on a half-acre on the mountain. I always need to be creating art in some way to be happy, and this mountain magically keeps that alive in me. I am also interested in screenwriting. This is the best time of my life — finally free to do art full-time. I always wanted to be an actress and sing and nothing else, and now I get a chance to do that.”