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'The Voice' Jamar Rogers: 'I wanted to let people know there is hope'

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The Voice contestant Jamar Rogers has said he chose to publicly discuss his HIV positive status in order to give hope to others who might be in the same situation.

The recovering addict disclosed his condition before his blind audition on the second episode of The Voice last week, where he won the support of his idol Cee Lo Green with his performance of 'Seven Nation Army' by The White Stripes.

Jamar told reporters on a conference call: "I began to realise that we need to have a national conversation about this because there are a lot of young people that are dying from this that don't have to."

The Voice S02E02 - Jamar Rogers

© NBC Universal



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"I wanted to get the word out there that if you take your meds, take care of yourself, then this is no different than any other kind of chronic illness. It's definitely manageable. I have now been undetectable for five years. I don't even get a cold and that's just strictly by the grace of God."

"I decided to come clean because at some point you have to decide that you want to live for something greater than yourself," he said.

"Although I love music and music is completely my passion, and as hard as I was trying to become this superstar, I felt like I had an obligation to give back to my community and to let people know that there is hope for them and there's hope in time, and there is no pit too deep that you can't climb out of."

Recounting the events leading up to his decision to get clean, the singer said that he had been living in Atlanta and "using pretty hardcore for about five years", dropping to 125lbs and finding himself homeless.

"My whole family didn't even know where I was for like two years. There were Christmases that went by and they had no clue where I was. I remember just picking up the phone and asking my mum if I could come home and she was so elated. I had basically just hit rock bottom. I had nothing. I had no job - nothing."

He said that he moved to Milwaukee where he joined a church and met future American Idol contestant Danny Gokey, who he began singing with.

"The more I fell in love with music and the more I realised that I had a story to tell, it enables your sobriety and it enables your recovery," he said. "The reason I decided to talk about it on The Voice is because I had a friend that overdosed last year and he was only 25.

The Voice Season 2 Coach Cee Lo Green

© NBC Universal



> Jamar Rogers: Cee Lo is the reason I sing the way I do - video

"I figured that this is something we need to talk about. We're so wrapped up with the Kardashians and wrapped up with nonsense when there are people that are really hurting and really struggling.

"I needed to let people know that drug addicts and people living with HIV are not lepers. There's more of us than you think. The more that we're open about it, the more we set a national conversation about it, I'm hoping people stop dying."

Jamar, 29, said that he received nothing but support from The Voice producers and his family when he decided to publicly discuss his health, adding: "The support has just continued. It's actually been really overwhelming."

As for his experience on The Voice and working with his idol Cee Lo, he said: "Meeting him was probably one of the highlights of my life and working with him has been even better.

"A lot of people know him as talented and eccentric, but a lot of people don't know how wise he is and he really just spits some like real words of wisdom, like some life lessons. I always feel like I should have a notepad and a pen when I'm talking to him just because I don't want to miss anything. I want to take it all down."

The Voice airs Mondays at 8/7c on NBC.

Watch Jamar Rogers introduce himself below:

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