Maggie Rogers on the importance of feeling like yourself

The last few years have seen Maggie Rogers explode in popularity, going from hobbyist songwriter to global sensation in a flash. But it’s more than that; in that time she’s also graduated from college, found a new life in the public eye, and finally, she feels like her career in music has kicked off.

Actually, that’s an understatement – her latest LP, Heard It In A Past Life, is killing it on every front. Now that the album is out and the songs “belong to the world” as Rogers would say, we caught up for a chat.

maggie rogers heard it in a past life interview happy mag

As her new album Heard It In A Past Life shoots for the stars, we catch up with Maggie Rogers for a chat.

HAPPY: Hey there, how are things? What are you up to at the moment?

MAGGIE: Hi! I’m on top of the world right now. I’m typing to you from my temporary home in Los Angeles with my college buddies. It’s grey and cold out, for a change of pace, and my roommates are making dinner together.

HAPPY: Your new album is out there. In what ways are you feeling different to 2012 or 2014 when you released your first records independently?

MAGGIE: I’m so excited that the record is finally out in the world. It feels like such a big breath – it’s an emotional and energetic release. I guess the obvious difference with this release and the others is that more people are going to hear it because my audience has grown so much since then, but emotionally the process of putting this record out has been really similar to those other ones. It’s my favourite part about the process of making music… you pour everything into making something and then you give it away. Those songs no longer belong to me, they belong to the world and that’s really exciting.

HAPPY: Am I correct in saying you wrote the majority of the record on your parent’s property? Do you think the space you’re in informs your songwriting?

MAGGIE: Yeah this record was made between my childhood bedroom in Maryland and friends’ home studios in Los Angeles. I think that space can really charge or colour the writing process. It can give you permission to be loud or vulnerable. I think we’re all products of our environments in some way or another.

HAPPY: I’ve just listened to the record and change is the big theme that kept coming up for me. Does this feel like a turning point in your life? How?

MAGGIE: Totally. I mean, I think that the year after graduating from college is a big year of change no matter who you are. I’ve always believed that records are a record of a period of time and this one is about the two years after graduation where I started my career in the music industry and everything changed. My very private life became very public very quickly and I found that kind of overwhelming and scary at first. The record tells the story of me navigating all of that and trying to make it all feel like me.

HAPPY: I really loved Overnight, do you have any favourite tracks?

MAGGIE: Oh amazing! I’m really proud of the vocal arrangements on that one. I think each song tells a really different story and captures a really different mood. I like to think that they all have their perfect occasions. Past Life is my favourite for when I’m at home getting ready for bed. The Knife is my favourite when I’m in the car driving at night. I’m excited to hear more about what songs people are gravitating towards and when.

HAPPY: I saw you lent your hand to Meet Me In The Bathroom – such a good read. What did sifting through Lizzy Goodman’s notes teach you about being a musician?

MAGGIE: I think the biggest thing about working on that book is that it was a chance for me to spend a lot of time listening and learning about the careers and lives of so many musicians I looked up to. The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grizzly Bear, Vampire Weekend – these are all the bands I was listening to in high school and their music was so seminal to me. Working on the book showed me that there’s no one way to do anything and that you have to find it for yourself.

HAPPY: Any favourite stories from that book?

MAGGIE: I love the story about Ryan Adams getting super high at The Strokes’ house on 7th and B and calling John Mayer to come over and play a song.

HAPPY: Looks like it’s been some time since you’ve played a show in Australia. What are you looking forward to most about being back?

MAGGIE: I’m SO excited to be back in Australia. I’m excited to get to just be present in the cities and get to see some friends. Last time I went for a great hike too – hopefully I can do some more exploring while I’m there.


Maggie Rogers’ new album Heard It In A Past Life is out now. Catch her live in Australia:

Tuesday 21st May – Astor Theatre, Perth
Thursday 23rd May – The Forum, Melbourne
Saturday 25th May – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Thursday 30th May – The Tivoli, Brisbane
Saturday 1st June – The Powerstation, Auckland

Grab your tickets here.