The Rise of Maggie Rogers

Discovered by Pharrell Williams, Success on SNL

BY: Georgia Davis

There’s something refreshing about Maggie Rogers. Perhaps it’s her earthly exuberance and the fact she’s comfortable in her own skin that attracts people to her music. Both are qualities often missing from the flashy mainstream music industry. Her folksy, wispy vocals might not be familiar to everyone right now, but after her performance on Saturday Night Live (where host and Mid90s director Jonah Hill introduced her) it won’t be long until people know her name and body of work.

Rogers was discovered by record producer and performer Pharrell Williams during a master class at New York University. When the intro music started and Rogers’ vocals on “Alaska” kicked in, Williams sat in awe, bopping his head with wide eyes.

“I’ve never heard anyone like you before, and I’ve never heard anything that sounds like that,” Williams said during the song presentation. “That’s a drug for me.”

Alaska” was quickly turned into a music video that showcase Rogers’ free-flowing dance moves and quirky personality. From the studio of the master class to the video production, there seems to be no overt changes to the song’s mixing. That is a testament to Rogers’ instincts.

From then on, Rogers released her music independently as digital downloads. All of her videos at the time had a style as distinct as her voice. Zia Anger directed four of her music videos, including “Alaska,” “Dog Years,” “On + Off” and “Fallingwater,” which has racked up more than 2 million views on YouTube since its upload five months ago.  

In the video for “Fallingwater,” Rogers dons a red, flowing jumpsuit, which sharply contrasts the sandy dunes of the desert. For her performance of the song on SNL, she wore a similar outfit.

In her most recent video for “Light On,” Rogers ventures on a self-love roadtrip. Rogers presents similar visuals as before in her music video by dancing in front of beautiful landscapes while giving people a glimpse into who she is.  

Describing Rogers as an old soul seems to fit her musicianship and personality. From the mom jeans, tube socks and embroidered sweaters, her wardrobe surely hints at a connection to past decades. But it’s not just her fashion choices. Rogers exudes simplicity and seems to have an indescribable connection with the world. With her first album through label Capitol Records slated for a January release, the world will finally recognize the name Maggie Rogers.