"Not only does she make astoundingly beautiful music but she is thoughtful, reflective, and courageous." - No Depression
Jean Rohe writes one-of-a-kind narrative songs, concerned as much with the interior lives of her narrators as with the wider world outside them. Her latest full-length record as a bandleader, Sisterly, produced by longtime collaborator Liam Robinson, is a collection of songs about communication and missed connections, and tackles topics from love, lust, and longing to prisons, police violence, and migration. Sisterly won best Adult Contemporary Album at the Independent Music Awards in 2019.
A prolific songwriter, Jean is perhaps best known for her video single, “National Anthem: Arise! Arise!” an aspirational alternative national anthem performed live with brass ensemble and choir, which has now been covered hundreds of times by soloists and choirs across the US. Most recently, her co-write with Liam Robinson, “The Longest Winter” was featured on the 2020 Hadestown cast holiday album. Her award-winning 2013 release Jean Rohe & The End of the World Show was hailed by an Elmore Magazine reviewer as “enchanting” and “remarkable in so many ways I can think of no comparison.”
Her writing and performance styles are the product of 20 years of experimentation and practice, learning on her feet as a side-person and bandleader in New York's wide-ranging music communities. “I grew up in a household where music-making and storytelling––far from a rarified vocation for prodigies and professionals––was an act woven into the social life of our family and friends, ” she says. “I carry that spirit with me into the music I make today.”
Jean tours internationally as a soloist, bandleader, and with Robinson & Rohe, her rootsy songwriting duo, but she is also a devoted songwriting mentor, working with adult writers and youth alike to foster a love of the writing process. For nearly a decade she has been an artist in Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute, creating lullabies with incarcerated parents on Rikers Island through the Lullaby Project and mentoring songwriters through Musical Connections at Sing Sing Prison. She offers private and group songwriting lessons periodically through the year, and recently joined the part time faculty at The New School Jazz and Contemporary Music Program teaching songwriting.
Upcoming projects include the release of Wait & See (Robinson & Rohe), a new collaborative album with Charlie Burnham, Skye Steele, and Rashaan Carter, and 74 Corridor, a new song cycle (2022 Brooklyn Arts Council grant recipient). She also continues work on The Odysseus Agreement, for which she's received fellowships from MacDowell, the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project, and others. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.