Maggie Rogers had a breakthrough moment when she was a student at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute. Pharrell Williams visited to her class, and when he heard her song "Alaska," his reaction was dramatic, and caught on video. The video of Pharrell listening to Maggie’s song went viral, and "Alaska" became a hit, with over 40 million streams on Spotify alone. Maggie Rogers is now playing sold out shows across the country, just a year after graduating. In this episode, Maggie tells the story of what came before that day in class—all the steps and missteps that eventually led to her writing the song "Alaska."
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Dear listening to song explorer where musicians take up their songs and piece by piece tell the story of how they were made. I'm reputation your way. Song exploder sponsored by article they make beautiful stylish furniture and because their online, only the prices are really good too. In the process of turning my garage into a studio where I can make music and where I can record song exploiter interviews and for this, you space, I a bunch of article furniture off their website- and I can't wait for it to arrive, I found a beauty four midcentury style couch that'll, be at the centre of the room there's something really exciting about raising the article site. You look at the first and you start to imagine the possibilities and, if can't decide what you're going to get right in the moment, you can save your favorites for later. In a couple weeks. I've mortar report from my new studio in the meantime, join me in getting something to spring up your place. Article is offering song exploiter listeners fifty dollars off your first purchase of a hundred dollars more to claim the steel,
the article dot com, slash song exploiter and the disks will automatically be applied at check out. That's article Dot com, slash song, explode her for fifty dollars off your first purchase of a hundred dollars or more. This So it contains explicit language. Maggie rogers had a breakthrough moment when she was a student and why use clive Davis institute for L Williams visited her class and when he heard her song alaska has reacted with dramatic and caught on video. The video of ferrel listening to maggie song went viral in alaska became a hit with over forty million streams. On spotify alone may, rogers is now playing sold out shows across the country just a year after graduating from college in this area,
those maggie tells a story of what came before that date class. All the steps and missteps that eventually led to her writing the song glasgow work done long, does My name is maggie rogers and I'm very excited to be on Grew up. Writing music and grew up producing my music, and this is something that I have always done. play banjo and made folk music and grew this rural place and identified myself in that culture. Too young to have the visions of perched on the shelf gnomes to hoping waiting for you know. I grew up in a really rural area in maryland and moved to new york. When I was eighteen, They went to the
I've, Dave's institute of recorded music to school, the arts, and why you for college, to study engineering production and in the music industry and think, because our suddenly starting to learn about engineering and production in the way that it is properly done new, really question, though at always just done it like at home, and it made me A little bit insecure and I didn't really know what to do. sure my freshman year college went on hiking trip to alaska. it was a month on a program called knolls, whereas training to be an outdoor guide and I didn't see another person other than the group. taking with through a month, ask her was really hard and tat actually was kind of amazing, but when I got back from Alaska he went through awful period of writers buck and it was really
crippling because muse good sort of always the way that I've done identified myself and my thoughts My personality outwardly I've always known what I'm interested in and when feeling, because the way my music sounds, and so suddenly there was no music. I felt super loss and it was really weird They didn't also feel like. I was a folk musician anymore during list when a half years, I definitely tried making music couple times and made some of the worst music other made if I had a homework assignment. I, like you know, you'd have to make make a minute of music and I, whenever I wouldn't feel like getting emotional and writing a real song. I would just make these like holiday, wraps jack jack zone, detect. It was just awful not being able to remember what it was like to make music like wondering how I always did this and thinking was this just something else good could outhouse candidature. If that's true,
screwed, because I face my entire life around this thing. I love to do and like maybe not there anymore. So I decided to work in journalism for a little while It made me miserable doing something else and committing and trying to have another job made me so unhappy, and it made me realize Oh, I am actually really passion about this other thing I was like hooray not going to be scared of this anymore. I had a really give this a shot, and then at least I'll know. If I'm capable. This are not too graduate from the clive Davis institute of recorded, music at n y- u you must complete, a thesis and part of I think what helped break the writers block is that I was going to school for this, and I had a final project to turn in now is going to fail so had to turn something in ireland was in trouble, so I studied abroad in paris.
during my junior year- and it was nice because suddenly I wasn't going to music school, the pressure had been lifted a little bit and address studied art and literature, and some of my best friends from why you are native berliners, so I went to visit them in
That was the first time I heard house music when I got to college and why you you know when I'd hear about the club, it was always referencing. Like sort of west village high end girls, wear high heels, there's expensive cocktails. I always thought that that dance music was which I totally see the glamour and allure of, but it just it didn't really feel like something I was interested in. So we ran Berlin. I remember my best friend layette, but she said club. I was like I dunno dude. I don't know, if that's for me, but you're getting dressed, and she said you have to wear sneakers or else they're, not gonna. Let you in on she said that to me I was like ok, I'm interested. What does this mean hearing house music was amazing, because what I love about folk music so much is that it has a sense of place. It's really intimate, but it's also really primal and it's as ancient as human culture, but also those dancing. I sort of looking around the room at this club and watching everybody move and realizing that it was also sort of one of the most primal ways we interact with music, and it was this incredible emotional release. It felt like a form of mental health to go dancing. I felt so much better about everything and also so much unity and community with everybody reacting to the same pulse. In the same way, I had never thought before dolphin two and eleven and how songs, but I started to understand that eleventh format as the same meditation is walking. The mouse click.
Also, it didn't identify with the pop world, but all of college. had the same remit shoes max. If you're gonna tell me that you dont like pop music, you need to look at your face. Every time is clearly rejects. Jepsen comes on and Oh shit, she's totally right, I think I'll pop music, and I do I love pop music, so I was like k. All of these elements are pointing to the fact that maybe I can just make music. That sounds like me, and I don't have to worry about where I fit in when I decided ok, what does it sound like if I try and make pop music? I said to myself this be way more fun, fun doing this with friends. I've never co produced before I've, always just produce mountain music. I wonder what would come out of me if I was working with other people the first person I sought out with somebody,
is a couple years above me named doug chat and I really admire his work ethic and his ability and must end Like tat out that your city, In the studio, just talking and suddenly I had this drum lip and my head I stopped us in the middle of commerce issues. It hey, hey cordless, so he recalled Where did me padding on my genes I believe as feather once and that started the session there I said, give me another track and I start snapping, and then we added this- The dropped in this like sample that he had of this congo pattern.
the men, melody through work, oh should play the metal. for me is so sing song he etc folk melody and just happened. There was no courts but you know a melody coming at a nowhere, it's not nowhere. It took me two and a half years to make that melody not actively, but it was all this is just like running around up there somewhere and then they just like hit the paper, and I pick up the pen and all the lyrics come out and that's exactly what happened. It was this like creative outpouring after all of this writers block and I just knew that, like I wanted to pick up where I left off for me, songwriting, is about storytelling and I knew that I had couple years to cover I started where I left off in alaska. I was walking in this place
ok food they soon. Streams that took but the song is not about the state of Alaska that was and promised to this day is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, but it's more about everything out processing during the process of walking through Alaska the thing I love about walking. So much is that you find a rhythm, sort of like dancing, he find your stuff I find dancing and hiking to be both incredibly meditative there are few I he doesn't know me. The precarious line, specifically I walked off you I walked us know me that came from something. I just used to explain this period of time to people. I'd say this here.
need. This happened me now until asker has walked off. So I just did the same thing of song. I just wrote exactly what I had been my telling people what type, though, irix to alaska, there's no like hidden meaning, it is like the most direct literal account of things that happened to me. I was walking in this place. I I felt like I had this transition and the beginning of my sophomore year, a cut my hair off. It's just. I guess that's totally what happened? my sue could work in full. With vowed thing. In my view, the song starts out and past. Hence I was walking and in the progress and I walked off you, but then the courses in the as intense. So it's just going back.
forth between past tense and present tense, because as I was reflecting on this experience. If a Excellent. So. There are so many sections of booze in this song that, like those function very frequently as the main sent we're leaving. Wearing the vocals I just standing at the vocal, my being like. Ok track and other track in the south, can progress, there is a group of booze that come in oh you can hear the errand than they really
aspheric! Oh, I wanted this to sound really far away. When I decided alright, I'm going to try making pop music still around to bring all of the elements of folk music too, because that's who I am and what I love so reverbs like this, giving it a really roomy atmosphere. It was a way for me to give it a sense of place. hmm the lead line, is a ton to soares and doug played that that's a morning came in to this project, all of these sound simples, knowing that I wanted to work them in and those I had been sort of collecting for the last two years on high. Sir travels just sort of
thinking like right, I'm not making music. What? If I just collect this cry an box of colours for me to play with that's and for me, is egg. It just makes me feel calm I associate that sound with slow mornings coffee It's like a little warm outside thrilling, comforting, that kind of melody comes in right at the end. When we're just gonna repeat ourselves: throat awhile, let everybody like dear thing makes me dance banger. We finish the song where it is you're pretty much just enough time for the song couple hours, doug texas,
about it. On my way home took the subway. from brooklyn manhattan, The song and I was like ah fuck. This is why the two poppy like this at all, I said to my parents, and my mom call me, and she said thrilling ice honey. Music cool. I shut my roommate when I got home and asic I don't know, I think it's too poppy choosing yeah. Maybe but look. finish something those get that feels good cool. I think the to for school, so doug, initially did a quick mix, which is what I played in class, that forever Williams came to give a master classic clive Davis that master class his reaction to maggie song was filmed wow I have zero, zero, zero notes for that.
Recorded the master class with for in march of my senior year, the video was on the internet in march of my senior year, and then nothing happened. The gradual, from college in may twenty something of my senior year of toy. Sixteen on june, one the video of me and frail went viral, and I ran away the superfluous out put Alaska out and unlike when hiking for three weeks and we use song nowadays. How do you feel about it? What are you here I think, the dynamic shape of the song you can hear me Thinking through it, it start in one place and I am like remembering and starting to come to a place of ignore alleging where I am, and by the end. It is the celebration of freedom of being free from writers, block of recognising myself as like a fully functioning adult. It's just
like knowledge of being free. The.
and now here's alaska by maggie rogers in it's entirety. The song. I see james that took that so moving. So today the swiss border show playing in a walked. A few walk does know me. Oh man, that was a dream, so let's say the good book. Then the goods into the dumpster know me the was the jury, so say the
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Transcript generated on 2023-06-16.