TIDAL Rising: Maggie Rogers
Maggie Rogers is perhaps the name to know in the new year.
The singer-songwriter modestly describes herself as “a banjo player from the eastern shore of Maryland,” though this characterization is far too simple for an artist so nuanced, pure and unique. Spending the last few years finding herself traveling between Maryland, New York City and France and crafting her sound, she’s a recent graduate of NYU’s Clive Davis Institute.
She is most well known for her upbeat debut single “Alaska,” which blew up before even being released thanks to a viral video featuring Pharrell Williams shedding tears while critiquing the song. Williams can be quoted as saying “I’ve never heard anything that sounds like that. That’s a drug for me.”
Having already released videos for her two official singles, “Alaska” and “Dog Days,” Maggie is out today with “On + Off,” the third installment in what she’s called a trilogy. Her debut EP, Now That The Light Is Fading, is set for release this coming February.
We sat down with Maggie Rogers to get to know her just a little bit better.
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Who is Maggie Rogers? Can you please introduce yourself?
Well, hey there. It’s nice to meet you. I’m a 22-year-old creative thinker living in Brooklyn, NY and I love making music.
Congrats on being one of TIDAL’s Top 5 Artists to Watch in 2017! Tell us about your 2016.
Thanks so much for thinking of me, TIDAL. 2016 was a bit of a whirlwind. I graduated from college, became a meme, wrote and produced some songs I’m really proud of, and got a band to start playing them.
What’s been your proudest achievement so far?
I’m proud of my work ethic. I wake up every morning and think about creativity and efficiency. The music industry is the coolest place because one good idea can change the way everybody does something and there’s so much space to customize the world around your music to be so completely unique to you and your expression and ideas as an artist.
When and how did you first get into music?
Music has just been something I’ve always been naturally drawn to. I started playing piano and harp when I was about 7 or 8. I taught myself guitar in middle school, banjo in high school. When I started writing songs around 14, I started really getting into production. I love producing and working on music because there is such a natural flow to sketching out a track and an idea. It’s the coolest thing to be able watch a melody from my voice memos turn into a full on song.
Who were your musical heroes growing up?
When I was young, I was totally obsessed with Vivaldi and Gustov Holst. Especially Holst’s The Planets. It was just the coolest thing that you could hear the solar system and the personality of each planet in his orchestral arrangements. I spent a lot of time in my room listening to him, but also I have really early memories of loving the soundtrack to the Lizzie McGuire Movie. These days, I really look up to rad ladies like Carrie Brownstein, Björk, Kim Gordon and Patti Smith.
Name an album, artist or experience that changed your perspective on music?
I remember the first time I went out dancing in Europe. I was in Berlin with a bunch of friends who are all locals. I was a banjo player playing bluegrass at the height of dubstep. I always thought that dance music was this really aggressive thing and that going out and finding in a city meant tight dresses and alcohol – things that are totally cool if it’s your vibe, it just didn’t fit my personality so much.
I remember getting dressed to go out in Berlin and my friends told me that if I didn’t wear sneakers, then I wouldn’t get in, because it meant that I wasn’t really there to dance. I was super inspired by the freedom and connectivity that dance music provided. It made me think of rhythm as something that’s actually just super inherent to humans and the way we feel and process music.
Can you share a fun fact about you or your music?
I made this music so that I could play it live – so that I could wear crazy eye-shadow and jump around on stage…and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing all winter.
What’s your favorite activity besides music?
I love being outside. I find a lot of inspiration there. Reading is great too. I like writing essays.
Can you pick another Rising artist you believe in?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Declan McKenna’s stuff recently. I just love his words and perspective. Topaz Jones is another real favorite too. And The Overcoats. Good vibes. Been happily driving around listening to Big Thief for the last year. So much cool music happening right now.
What’s coming next for you?
I’ll be touring in the US and Europe from January to April and my EP, Now That The Light Is Fading, is coming out in February. In the meantime, I’m steadily working away at a record.
And finally, if your music was a physical object what would it be?
A small, functioning city that could fit in the palm of your hand.
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