Erika Rodger
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Erika Rodger


Band Pop Soul


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"Bring Her Back"

Bring her back: Although I enjoy hearing the national anthem at sporting events (I'm patriotic like that), I can't say I love hearing it at Toyota Park. Instead of getting goose bumps, I'm usually cringing or trying to hold in my laughter (I'm a jerk like that). Tonight was different. Tonight's national anthem was outstanding. If I'm the Fire, I'm trying to get Erika Rodger to sing at every home game. Make it a Fire tradition like Wayne Messmer at Blackhawks games.

Guest blogger: Steve Cavendish - Chicago Tribune blog

"Interview with Erika Rodger"

Click here to listen to Erika Rodger's sit-down interview with Chicago Music Guide's Dennis Kelly. - Chicago Music Guide

"Erika Rodger Named November "Best Vocalist of the Month""

Erika Rodger Named November “Best Vocalist Of The Month” With “Up To The Mountain”

By Dale Kawashima

Erika Rodger, a promising pop/soul singer & writer based in Chicago, IL, has won the November SingerUniverse “Best Vocalist Of The Month” Competition, for her performance of the song, “Up To The Mountain (MLK Song),” which was written by Patty Griffin. This song will be included on her upcoming album project, which she will release independently in 2010.

Rodger’s rendition of “Up To The Mountain” is in a more bluesy style with a full-band sound (with saxophone and organ), rather than Griffin’s more piano-based version. This song provides a fine showcase for Rodger’s strong, rich vocals, which starts softly, and then gradually builds in emotion and power. This recording was skillfully produced by Dan Stetzel, who also played piano on this cut.

Rodger was born and raised in Frankfort, IL, which is a suburb of Chicago. She learned to play piano at an early age, and later on she entered talent competitions (such as Chicago Idol and Star Search), and she has sung “Star Spangled Banner” at major sporting events. Rodger was inspired by listening to her favorite artists such as Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey.

After high school, Rodger attended Northwestern University (north of Chicago), where she did voice training (including opera), and eventually graduated in June 2008 with a B.A. degree in English. Following college, Rodger decided to pursue her music career fulltime.

“Early this year (2009) I recorded ‘Up To The Mountain’ and ‘Good Morning Heartache’ with producer Dan Stetzel,” recalled Rodger. “Then this past summer, I went to Los Angeles and completed a three-song demo with songwriter Lisa Mazzotte. One of the songs we recorded is called ‘Perfect Imperfections,’ which we wrote together."

Rodger recently had a breakthrough, when superstar producer David Foster selected her to perform with him at his Chicago concert on Oct. 21, as part of his David Foster & Friends tour. “It’s been a dream of mine to perform with David Foster – I sang ‘And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going’ with his band,” she said.

Rodger hopes that her show with Foster is a sign of bigger things to come. She will be flying to New York City this month to perform at the Pure Pop showcase, which will be attended by many label execs and managers. ‘In the coming months, I want to perform more and gain the attention of people in the industry,” she said. “I’d also like to collaborate with more writers and producers, and find a manager to work with.” - Dale Kawashima

"David Foster & Friends Concert Review"

At this point, David discussed the contest that is being presented by in which a singer can submit a video of themselves for consideration to perform in their city. Hand picked by David himself, the two finalists get to perform 90 seconds of a song at their city's venue. If chosen from there, they would go on to Vancouver to battle against the winners of each of the 9 other cities. David introduced the first of the two finalists, a sixteen year old boy by the name of Jacob Dow, who, while noticeably nervous, did a phenomenal job singing “Come Fly With Me” complete with pointing at David while David pointed right back.

Erika Rodger performed “And I am Telling You I’m Not Going” and did an amazing job of commanding the Rosemont Theater’s attention. Vocals that soared into the farthest reaches of the venue with a power and confidence that was truly inspiring.

David confessed that now “according to the rules of the contest” he had to pick the winner, but he opted for the audience’s response to decide. To my surprise, the audience was overwhelmingly for Jacob though it did not take long for many in the audience to yell for both to be the winners. David relented that he’ll need to think about having two winners for Chicago…. I hope they both were able to win! - Chicago Music Guide- Dennis Kelly

"David Foster & Friends LIVE!"

Speaking of new talent, the “Hit Man Talent Search” spotlight segment featured two Windy City performers plucked straight out of an Internet search. Suit-and-tie clad 17-year-old Jacob Dow performed a flawless version of “Fly Me To The Moon” a la Bublé, while 24-year-old Erika Rodger belted out “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls as a true diva in the making. - Illinois Entertainer- Andy Argyrakis

"Big voice, little woman"

Frankfort resident takes the stage with soul

by Jamie Lynn Ferguson

Erika Rodger was singing before she ever spoke a word.

Music has always been what she's wanted, and with a voice like hers, it's been exactly what she's got.

When Rodger steps on stage, she's a vibrant, animated young woman with a confident voice and unwavering tone. Off stage, she describes herself as soft-spoken, and a little reserved — it's the passion for her performance and the power of her voice that makes the difference.

"The sort of confidence I get when I step on stage … it's like I'm another person," she said. "I feel like it's not even me."

Rodger's style, which is a powerful pop, R&B soul mix, is what she said she's always sang.

"Even when I was a tiny girl I had a booming voice," she said. "People are never expecting that, but I was really influenced by big diva vocalists and lots of blues and jazz and gospel."

Rodger had the typical beginnings of an aspiring singer — performing in church during junior high, then moving on to talent competitions and show choir as she got older. When she graduated from Lincoln-Way East, her parents insisted that she postpone plans to move to Los Angeles and get a formal education first.
"My parents are extremely supportive of my music, but they were really strict about me going to college," Rodger said.

So Rodger found a professional spin to her passion and enrolled in the music program at Northwestern University in Evanston. Her audition was exclusively opera and it was her first audition for a voice program at the university level. She was accepted early decision as a soprano opera singer with no formal training, and having never taken a lesson.

"Pretty much everything before that was self-taught," she said. "I just listened to my favorite singers, like Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey … and tried to emulate them."

Rodger graduated in June 2008, and has since enacted her plan of becoming a professional singer. Now, Rodger's resume packs about as much power as her voice.

In the past year, she was hand-picked by music legend David Foster for his Foster & Friends tour, performed live on Fox News in the Morning's Chicago Idol competition, sang "The Star Spangled Banner" for more than 20,000 to kick off a Chicago Fire game at Toyota Park, and made the cut for the national television talent show Star Search before the series was unexpectedly canceled.

Most recently, she performed in the combination show Pure Pop in New York on Nov. 14.

"The New York performance is really exciting because executives, management companies and agents will be there," she said. "It's a great launching pad for unsigned artists."

And maybe that's where Rodger will catch her big break. In the meantime, she'll be taking deep breaths and performing big numbers — following her heart with a lot of soul.
- Frankfort Station


Still working on that hot first release.



Before the age of two, Erika Rodger was humming and singing before she could even talk--a talent that has never ceased and has continued to develop and grow into a desire towards a successful career as a major recording artist. Hailing from Frankfort, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, Erika has performed both locally and nationally, receiving such prestigious performance opportunities as being handpicked by David Foster to perform with him during his David Foster & Friends 2009 Tour, being chosen out of hundreds of applicants to perform in the prestigious pop/r&b music showcase event Pure Pop 2009 at New York City's famed Webster Hall, performing live on Chicago Fox News in the Morning's Chicago Idol competition-receiving praise from Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Hudson, singing the National Anthem for the Chicago White Sox, and most recently, singing at the sold-out game of the season for the Chicago Fire vs. LA Galaxy game for a crowd of 20,000 fans, making all callbacks for the reprisal of the national television talent show, Star Search (where she was set to perform for the upcoming season before its sudden cancellation), performing live at Chicago's Navy Pier Skyline Stage for Chicago 103.5 KISS FM, as well as winning a Chicago Idol competition and performing as the opening act for Richard Street of the internationally successful and iconic group, The Temptations.

Growing up, Erika was influenced by such diva vocalists as Whitney Houston, Cece Winans, Aretha Franklin, and Celine Dion. In learning techniques from these top vocalists of our time, Erika has created a powerful voice that rivals these great vocalists, yet adds a rootsy, emotional soulfulness that is all her own, stemming from her deep blues, soul, and gospel influences. Erika has not only locally and nationally demonstrated her skill as a Pop/R&B/soul vocalist, but also as a soprano opera singer, having completed studies in both vocal opera performance and English, as she received her BA this past June from Northwestern University.

Erika is now focusing on fulfilling her goal of becoming a major recording artist. Having previously recorded cover materials by such artists as Whitney Houston, Yolanda Adams, and Christina Aguilera, Erika is now focusing on songwriting, as well as gaining representation to break down industry doors. Erika has been hard at work in the studio recording new material that is both vocally powerful and soulful, creating an exciting, new artistic mixture of incredible vocals and great emotional depth that will breathe fresh air into the music industry.