HIStory

 

   Joby Rogers (as Michael Jackson) is a gifted entertainer whose talents have gained him international recognition. Rogers is the only Michael Jackson Tribute Artist to appear on the cover of the Rolling Stone magazine.  Joby Rogers was personally chosen by Michael Jackson as his number one choice of Michael Jackson Tribute Artist after reviewing 116 of the top Michael Jackson impersonators in the world. Rogers's national television appearances include MTV, VH1, NBC, CBS, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Conan O’Brien, E!, Jenny Jones, Ricki Lake, Comedy Central, and many local TV appearances. Rogers has performed on tour in arenas, theaters, casinos, and colleges for corporate and private functions in the USA and internationally. Rogers frequently tours and stars in Las Vegas review shows such as LaCage Aux Folles, Hollywood Superstars, and Legends Alive." USA Today, News of The World, London Now, New York Post, Forbes, Marie Claire and numerous other printed media have all featured articles on Rogers.

 

Beginnings

 

    In the 80‘s, Rogers’ career began accidentally when some friends asked him to impersonate Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean during a break dance routine at the high school prom. Soon after the prom debut, the father of one of the break dancers began booking shows for the teens at a local restaurant, and 16-year-old Rogers was hired to make appearances as the ”King of Pop” at birthday parties.  Life forever changed for Rogers when he entered his first Michael Jackson Dance/Look-alike Contest at Weaver High School in Hartford, Connecticut, winning first place and a $1,000 cash prize.  “It's then that I realized that I could make money at something I truly enjoyed doing,” says Rogers. Rogers decided to pursue a professional career as an entertainer when he landed his first weekly gig as an MJ Tribute Artist at “Café Society"  an off Broadway club that featured a 'LaCage' type Vegas review starring all Female Impersonators  “This is where I first learned how to do my makeup so well,” Rogers explains. 

 

Making Way

 

    An avid fan of Michael Jackson & The Jackson Five. Rogers attended numerous Michael Jackson concerts during the 80’s − the Victory Tour in 1984, then 1988’s Bad Tour where Rogers got his first encounter with the legend himself.   Foreshadowing Rogers’s unparalleled talent as a Michael Jackson Tribute Artist, Rogers fondly recalls while at one of  three Jackson’s 'BAD' concerts he attended, “I was dancing to Billie Jean in the aisle and suddenly found myself under the spotlight and on the jumbo screen. This event garnered mass media attention!” This first dance was only the beginning of Michael Jackson’s respect and recognition of Rogers’s talent.  In 1989 MTV presented Rogers with a personalized RIAA official Platinum “Thriller” Album Award. Celebrities including Angela Basset, Lenny Kravitz, Adam Levine, Howard Stern, Howie Mandel, Mark Wahlberg, Jon Bon Jovi, B.B. King, Kevin Bacon, Cyndi Lauper & The Jacksons are familiar with his performances. Joby has appeared on National television shows including Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, E! Entertainment, MTV & VH-1 among many others.

 

Troubled Times

 

    In 1993 and 2003 when Michael Jackson was accused of child abuse Rogers feared the worst. Knowing the humanitarian that Jackson was, Rogers never for a moment believed that his hero could be guilty of such acts upon children. For years Rogers dealt with the negativity of naysayers and down right verbal abuse from people who disliked Michael Jackson.  "Nothing anyone said was going to stop me from performing as the greatest entertainer of our time." "I believed Michael Jackson was innocent and would be proven so. I always believed it was about money." Rogers stated on a local ABC affiliate before the 2003 not guilty verdicts vindicated Jackson. Rogers continued to perform and has always remained really cautious when it comes to doing appearances as Michael Jackson. "I prefer to make appearances as Michael in performance settings. Rogers is so committed to preserving a positive memory of Jackson, he said he has refused roles on television and in movies such as "Scary Movie" and others that sought to ridicule the pop star. I was offered several major movie and television roles that parodied Jackson in a negative light. Miramax Films and I communicated for weeks about what it was exactly they wanted me to do. I turned them down when they refused to give me the details of the scene I was to portray Michael in. When I finally viewed the scene I was relieved that I had not participated.  I do not believe in adding to the negative media surrounding Michael. In 2005 I  was interviewed by local, national and international media about the recent trial surrounding Michael Jackson and it's effect on the business of impersonating. I went on record declaring my belief that Michael Jackson was innocent and would be verified as such. 

 

Arrival (The Letter)

 

    Rogers continued his career as an Tribute Artist throughout the 1990’s, and into the new millennium. Performing all over the world and perfecting his emulation of Jackson in appearance and movement.  Rogers, explains his work as an Tribute Artist, “It has given me the opportunity to travel all over the world and visit places that I could never have dreamed of setting my eyes on. Making lifelong friends from all walks of life and adapting to cultures from all over the globe. This journey to many lands has been the education of a lifetime.” In 1999, Rogers was personally picked by renowned celebrity photographer David LaChapelle to appear as ‘Michael Jackson’ on the December Millennium 1999 Cover of Rolling Stone Magazine, becoming the 1st and only credited Tribute Artist to do so. Then, in 2003, came the greatest honor of Rogers’s then 19 year career as a Michael Jackson Tribute Artist. Michael Jackson conducted an international search for a Tribute Artist to appear as a decoy at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in NYC. Rogers bio and video were submitted by J. Valentine of the CWA Agency in Nevada. After viewing 116 submissions, Michael Jackson himself proclaimed Rogers to be the Best Michael Jackson impersonator for the event. Rogers still has the letter bearing Michael Jackson’s signature with his Official Statement naming Rogers as his “Official Substitute”. "To garner the attention of Michael Jackson is  absolutely the greatest honor you can achieve as a Tribute Artist" says Rogers. “Needless to say I was thrilled and very grateful.” In 2009 Joby  was invited to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show.  That invitation alone authenticates Joby’s international recognition and drawing power as the #1 Michael Jackson Tribute Artist.

 

Tragedy

 

    News of Michael Jackson’s death reached Rogers via the text messages, phone calls and emails he received when the news first broke.  “When he passed, it really felt like I lost a sibling,” says Rogers. “I’m devastated. He was definitely the greatest entertainer ever. There was nothing like him on stage.  He could just stand there, center stage, motionless, breathing, and people would go crazy.” 

 

    Upon Michael Jackson's passing Rogers was besieged by Media and Fans worldwide, hearing from The Oprah Winfrey Show, Billboad Magazine and News of the Word to name a few. Rogers released this official statement to the press: 

 

    "I cannot begin to find the words to express my sorrow for the loss of Michael Jackson. I have performed as “The King of Pop” for 25 years. I have traveled from  Alaska to China and everywhere in between. My likeness to Michael landed me on the cover of Rolling Stone in Dec. 1999. To say that Michael has had a profound impact on my life would be a severe understatement. The journeys I’ve taken, the places I’ve seen, the friends I’ve made along the way, would never have been possible if not for this caring, loving, inspirational, giving human being. Over the past few weeks I have been inundated with heart felt support from friends and fans all over the world. I’ll take this opportunity to say thank you. The world has never seen anything like Michael Jackson and never again will this planet be graced by the presence of such a profound talent. 

 

“Michael Jackson always equaled himself to Peter Pan and Peter Pan was never intended to be fifty.”

 

Moving Forward

 

    Rogers is committed to keeping the music and spirit of his late hero alive. Rogers was honored With an invite to Madame Tussauds of Hollywood In August of 2009 to perform in front of the World Press paparazzi and unveil the museums newest MICHAEL JACKSON figure. December of 2009 brought Rogers his greatest concert to date with a sold out performance of his “Ultimate Michael Experience:” show at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. “It was an incredible experience to get out there in front of 10,000 fans” Rogers stated. Rogers plans to continue his career as a Michael Jackson Tribute Artist. In 2012 Rogers was honored to meet the Original Jackson Five at the Famed Apollo Theater in NYC. “This meeting was very emotional for me, to stand where Michael use to stand was quite overwhelming.” 

    In 2019-20 Joby will be featured in FilmMode's Major Movie Documentary, "Mirroring Michael Jackson" A documentary starring Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Seidah Garret, and other Artist who have played a prominent role In the Life of Michael Jackson.

As for the Future. “I’m going to do what I’ve always done and give the best performance in honor of Mr. Jackson that I can.”