While writing this article about the recent success of a local making it big in the music business, the song “Alaska” started playing on the Easton radio station. It was written, produced and performed by 22-year-old Country School graduate Maggie Rogers. “Making it big” is no longer the correct description of Maggie’s career. Maggie’s music career has exploded.
Earlier this spring, Maggie toured in Europe to sold out venues. Currently she is conquering her North American headline tour, but good luck scoring any tickets, as they sold out more than two months in advance of its launch. She plays close to home in Washington, D.C. on April 8 at U Street Music Hall.
In mid-February, Maggie released her debut EP “Now That The Light Is Fading” on Capitol Records. It features four original songs written, produced and performed by the multi-instrumentalist, including the tracks “Alaska,” “Dog Years” and “On + Off” that have more than 136 million plays combined across all platforms.
Within a few days of her EP release, Maggie made her television debut on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” performing her single “Alaska.” Maggie actually received a nod from artist/writer/producer, Pharrell Williams, during a master class at NYU Clive Davis Institute. After listening to her song, Pharrell was all but speechless, but managed, “Wow!” He went on to exclaim how Maggie’s song impressed him and moved him immensely. “You’re doing your own thing. You are singular,” he told her.
Maggie admits in a later interview on YouTube that she didn’t know what to do while Pharrell listened to her song in front of the entire class and ended up watching his foot tap. Pharrell went on to recommend to the staff at “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” to book Maggie.
“Alaska” saw early success and charted in Spotify’s Viral 50 in 40 countries and hit #1 in 23 countries, including the U.S. With more than 26 million global streams to date on Spotify, it earned Maggie a place on the Spotify Best of 2016 list and set the stage for widespread international acclaim. Maggie recently premiered the video for her new track “On + Off,” directed by her frequent collaborator Zia Anger, who also helmed the visuals for both “Alaska” and “Dog Years.”
According to Wikipedia, Maggie started out as a 7-year-old harp player, eventually learning piano and guitar as well as pursuing songwriting. She plunged into banjo music at St. Andrew’s School in Delaware before heading on to New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. She experienced burn out and decided to study in France. There, she rediscovered dance music. She told Pharrell that she had a spiritual experience in France with dance music. Previously she found it to be superficial and unnatural. Suddenly she understood the “release of it.” She also spent time in Alaska hiking. Today, she can’t make enough music, joining her folk imagery and harmony with the backbone and energy of dance music. Pharrell added, “I can hear your journey in your music.”
Everyone can be sure to experience Maggie’s journey as her musical career continues to blossom.