Roger Burnley was born and raised in Chicago, IL and began his journey into singing and entertainment at the ripe age of 12. He was singled out by a teacher who heard Roger’s amazing boy tenor voice and advised him to pursue it further.
Roger was somewhat encouraged at this point and decided before entering high school to audition for the boy’s chorus. To his dismay, Roger was informed that his voice at that time was too high! This incident set off what Roger would call his underlying insecurity in music and singing. But Roger decided to audition again, and in the fall he entered high school and to his delight was accepted.
At this point he was also noticed by the choir master, Mr. Jerome Ramsfield, who took a special interest in Roger and the next year advanced him to the junior a cappella choir which was quite an honor. In his junior year he was advanced to the senior a cappella choir and had the great fortune of singing along side the great vocalist Minnie Ripperton.
The following year Roger was encouraged to audition for the Chicago All City High School Choir which was a prestigious group that only accepted the best singers from all the city’s choirs. Again, Roger was accepted but as he recalls now, still never quite felt worthy of the honor. Nevertheless, he did have the wonderful opportunity to perform with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra which to this day remains one of his proudest moments.
When Roger left Hyde Park High School in Chicago, he enrolled in Chicago State University and joined the choir. He now found himself surrounded by many outstanding singers including the members of the later to be band Styxx. Roger began to feel that he needed some additional vocal training to keep up, so he began his study with many vocal coaches. He always felt there was more he could develop with his voice, however, he was not able to find the right vocal coach and shuffled from one to another. At this time he decided to venture into performing live and joined a rock band. He had never actually been a big fan of rock music but decided it would broaden his vocal skills. This also lead to his band being the opening act at The Rush Up Club for the group Rufus featuring Chaka Kahn. Roger soon moved to New York City and continued his pursuit.
He then found vocal coach Tony Franco who encouraged Roger to pursue Broadway, musical theatre and opera. While Roger loved the diversity of this study, he never quite felt the drive to purse that direction. He found his calling now to be pop and R&B musical styles. He began doing open mic performances and singing wherever he had the opportunity at clubs around New York City. During this time Roger also pursed other avenues of entertainment including modeling and acting. This broadened his desire for a career in entertainment.
Roger then moved to Hollywood, CA and continued his pursuit of finding new vocal coaches to help him advance his vocal ability. He also began performing at a variety of clubs and landed a regular spot at Carlos ‘N Charlie’s on the Sunset Strip. Roger was now experiencing more vocal problems the more he performed. This helped develop Roger’s desire to find the right technique to solve this. He was encouraged to start vocal coaching himself but also felt unqualified to do so. He had a chance meeting with an ear, nose, and throat doctor, Dr. David Alessi who was impressed with Roger’s vocal knowledge and decided to refer his clients to Roger for vocal rehabilitation. This experience greatly deepened Roger’s understanding of the physiology of the voice and so began his coaching career.
Roger also began his own cable access television program, “Singing with Roger Burnley” which ran for 4 years. He then began producing the live A&R showcase, “LA’s Finest” as well as continuing his own recording and performing, releasing the CD “Angel in Disguise” in 2000.