Guest star: Stephanie Rogers – behind the music

Stephanie Rogers is known all over the city of Chicago for her award-winning music, and Stitely Entertainment is proud to have her as a regular performer.  Her band (The Stephanie Rogers Band) includes drums, bass, guitar, keys, sax and four vocalists, each with their own unique style.  We got a chance to chat with Stephanie, and she filled us in on her music background and favorites!

Stitely Entertainment:  Who or what inspired you to be a professional musician?

Stephanie Rogers:  I was an acting major in college, but was always intrigued by the singers and the musical theatre people in school. I grew up seeing Broadway shows and music was a huge part of my life as a kid. I never thought I could be a singer, but I fell into it when a rock band invited to me to be their lead singer. I worked really hard and found it to be so satisfying and varied, playing songs every night in different venues, as opposed to playing the same role in a play night after night.

SE:  What jobs did you have before turning to music?

SR:  I’ve had lots of regular jobs, including: teaching tennis, repping a photographer, managing an acting studio, teaching preschool, waiting tables and temping. Mainly, I was a commercial actor before I became a professional musician. Now I’m a mom and musician.

SE:  What’s your craziest event story?

SR:  We were at the Grand Hyatt and our bride got a little drunk before the first dance. She accidentally spilled a container of red wine all over the front of her Vera Wang gown. It was high drama for over an hour, in the bathroom, with five of us trying to get the stain out while the bride cried in the stall. At that very same wedding, someone was rushed away in an ambulance (I heard later that he was fine). The groom actually saved the party. He had an amazing attitude and got his new wife to laugh it off and enjoy her night. She put the stained, seltzer-soaked dress back on and they danced their first dance at 10:30pm.

SEt:  Do you have any regular gigs?

SR:  I am a part of one regular show called The Composer’s Series, at Katerina’s on Irving Park Road. We perform our own material and write impromptu songs based on audience suggestion. It’s a riot!

SE:  Do you play in any other groups besides the Stephanie Rogers Band? Tell us about them.

SR:  I play my original music regularly around Chicago. I have the same band for my original stuff, or sometimes I just play solo on piano and guitar, or with a guitarist named Danny Shaffer. I’ve just finished a new cd in Nashville that I’m promoting. I tend to perform my own music in the winter months when there are less private events and parties. Also, I sit in as a singer with other bands.

SE:  How did you become involved with music?

SR:  I was in a play in college and some of the guys from a campus band saw the play and asked me to audition for them. I joined the band (which featured Jeff Stitely on drums!) for a couple years, then another band, and another…and when I moved to LA in the 90s, I found myself doing more music than acting. When I was recovering in Chicago from thyroid cancer, I really thought about changing my

main focus to music. It felt right.

SE:  What was your first concert?

SR:  The Who, 1983!!! I was two.

SE:  If you could share the stage with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be?

SR:  It would be really cool to be at a rehearsal with Janis Joplin, to learn about how she brought such deep passion to her performances. I’d love to hang out and write a few songs with Pink. Also, I dream about working with a producer/performer named Jon Brion. His film soundtracks are unreal.

SE:  You are stuck on a desert island forever. Which three albums do you want with you?

SR:  I’m so sad that I hardly ever listen to whole albums anymore. I would definitely include “Pirates” by Rickie Lee Jones, “Skylarking” by XTC, “Aja” by Steely Dan, “Three Good Reasons” by my favorite Chicago band, Sons of The Neverwrong, maybe Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” or Tori Amos’s “Scarlet’s Walk” and anything by Stevie Wonder. That’s not really three, is it?

SE:  Beatles or Stones?

SR:  It always used to be Stones for me, with the cool swampiness of Keith’s guitar work, until I started to write songs more seriously. Then I realized the Beatles embodied an extremely high level of craft. I didn’t gain an appreciation of them until I was well into my 30s, but “Beast of Burden” is one of my favorite recordings just because of that guitar lick.


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Delivering a mind-blowing musical performance at an event is an art and planning it is a science. Stitely Entertainment has mastered both by planning and executing thousands of events.

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