Maggie Rogers on the Rise
I’m calling it now. Maggie Rogers is pop music’s next big thing. The highlights: Rogers, a recent alum of NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, began her studies as a folk artist (check her out on bandcamp for early tracks). She grew up in rural Maryland, played the banjo for most of her career, and seemed destined to be a folk artist. However, during her time abroad in France, Rogers’s sound began to evolve as a result of a “spiritual” experience with dance music.
Shortly after returning from Europe, she recorded the demo of “Alaska,” the song that would be her first single. The track is trancelike, and traces a subtly grooving beat under lyrics inspired by a hiking trip through Alaska the artist took several years prior. When she sings “and I breathe deep, I’m inhaling / you and I, there’s air in-between” it feels like an almost-meditative focus on the simplest of actions.
It probably would have been a sleeper hit, had it not been for a masterclass session with Pharrell Williams that ultimately went viral. Rogers presented “Alaska” to the producer and her classmates, with almost unbelievable results. Visibly moved by her work, he gave her track nothing but praise, comparing her musicality to a drug.
The description isn’t inaccurate. Her tracks are fresh and utterly listenable, to the point of being addictive – Rogers harnesses a driving, tribal beat that, when combined with her confessional lyric style, is unlike anything in current pop music.
Her second single, “Dog Years,” was released in early November. Slower and more introspective, it impressively showcases Rogers’s vocal range, and proves that she is the farthest thing from a one-hit wonder.
So far, she has formally released only two tracks, but keep an eye on her Spotify, because Rogers is scheduled to release her debut EP sometime this year. Hopefully it includes more of the catchy, masterfully crafted crossover art that put her on the map.
Image via Paste Magazine.