About eight months ago, I was in my room on a lazy Sunday afternoon and knew full well it needed a clean. I had a pile of clothes that needed sorting and stuff laying on the floor. I like to be organised and sort things out but I wasn’t going to start without some background music. Playing music while cleaning or doing chores is probably universal, and in case it’s not, it’s something I like to do. I clicked ‘Shuffle Play’ on a Spotify playlist that was probably called Indie Arrivals or Indie Mixtape, I can’t remember now. I will admit I’m not usually clued up on the latest indie artists, though I can say I generally like most indie pop music.
Away I went sorting out my clothes, putting them in the appropriate piles ready for their respective drawers – pyjamas, active wear, tops, underwear, stuff to hang up. Then came the song that started it all. Give A Little by Maggie Rogers played through my speakers and I had to do a double take. I played it again, and again. This song was full of energy and had unique sounds throughout. Maggie’s voice was authentic and you could hear she wanted to be there. I then opened up YouTube to watch the video clip. A group of young girls skateboarded around an empty swimming pool in someone’s backyard. Maggie was wearing red shorts and some kick ass white boots. Her hair was natural and flowing and she was having a great time with her mates. It was suburban play and youthful energy all in one. I was hooked.
After my room was clean and the days and weeks went by, I progressively listened to more of her singles – Alaska, Split Stones, Fallingwater, Dog Years, On + Off. The sounds in Alaska, the bridge in Split Stones, the lyrics of Fallingwater, the chorus in Dog Years, and those colours in the video clip for On + Off were all reason to keep listening and watching and reading YouTube comments from other fans around the world. Simply put, her music has a way of lifting you up and making you feel something, it makes you want to dance, it makes you want to sit down and have a moment of reflection, it makes you stop and listen.
Fast forward to January 2019 and her debut album Heard It In a Past Life was released. I now had more tunes to embrace – Burning, Back in my Body, Overnight. She started to perform on American shows, including Stephen Colbert and Saturday Night Live. I later discovered she’d performed Alaska on The Tonight Show in 2017. These live performances had her dancing like a teenage girl does when she’s alone in her bedroom. She simply let go and let the music move her body, whichever way that was. The way she danced was relatable and it was fun to watch!
As soon as I heard Maggie was touring Australia, I knew I had to see her majestic dance moves in the flesh and hear that authentic voice. I bought myself and two friends tickets to her Melbourne show, held at Festival Hall. This concert was now less than a week ago and I’m very glad saw her live. I was a brand new feeling to see an artist live and know every single song. I realised I really had been listening to her album on repeat. Being in her audience was like a little bit of therapy and a dance party all rolled into one. Her songs have enough variety in their lyrics, sound and meaning that you can experience most feelings on the spectrum. Before playing the song Dog Years, she told us it was ‘about friendship’. Listening to these lyrics live and knowing that’s what the song was about, to me, was lovely. Here are the opening few lines:
I count my time in dog years
Swimming in sevens, slow dancing in seconds
Oh, and I’m the one that loves you
Having recently listened to a freakonomics podcast about how Spotify has in fact enhanced the music industry, rather than disrupt it, I can now vouch for Spotify exposing one to new artists. Maybe I would have discovered Maggie Rogers’ music another way down the line, or maybe it was that moment in my bedroom, with my Spotify playlist, that really started it all. I look forward to watching Maggie grow as an artist, and listening to her music for years to come. For now, I’ll be cleaning my room while listening to Heard It in a Past Life.