Last March, Pharrell Williams' YouTube channel i am OTHER released a video from an NYU Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music masterclass in which the famed producer critiqued student works.
Roughly halfway through, an artist by the name of Maggie Rogers takes to the black rolling chair beside the music industry giant. Cuing up her song "Alaska," Rogers bobs her head along to the beat as the track unfolds, all while an incredulous look spreads across Williams' face.
“I’ve never heard anything that sounds like that," he praises afterwards. "That’s a drug for me."
Considering his reaction, it’s remarkable to learn that Rogers did not start her path in the music industry inside her current genre. Instead, she began in high school as the self-proclaimed creator of "banjo music," releasing two EPs before "Alaska"—The Echo in 2012 followed by Blood Ballet in 2014. However, after spending a semester studying abroad in France, she fell in love with electronic music and discovered how dance instrumentation and rhythms could complement her already fine-tuned folk style. By integrating her natural sample-based folk harmonies and electronic dance production, a merging of natural and synthetic took place to give birth to Rogers' catchy, hard-hitting sound.
Since the release of that video, Maggie Rogers has been an artist to watch. She self-released “Alaska” shortly after the video went viral and has since received considerable praise and upwards of 18 million plays on Spotify to date.
Her new single, “Dog Years,” was released late last week as a preview of material to come. On it, her breathy folk vocals serve as a mellow top end to the lush, dance-inspired electronic production. Her lyrics, like on “Alaska,” are intimate, youthful, and creative: "I count my time in dog years. Swimming in seven slow, dancing in seconds oh, and I'm the one who loves you. And I'm the one who loves you." As a follow up, "Dog Years" certainly does not disappoint. It reinforces Rogers' eclectic style and solidifies her standing as an artist capable of producing unique, high-quality material.
Having recently signed to Capitol Records with plans to release an EP early next year, Maggie Rogers is certainly one to keep an eye on.