“I thought it was a dream”, is a lyric that coincidentally epitomises the past year for Maggie Rogers. Her rise to fame is somewhat unbelievable, having impressed millions as a student at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts via YouTube a year ago. Now, and for the rest of 2017 her days will be spent prepping for radio and TV interviews… when she’s not sound checking for one of her extensive world tour dates that is. The young banjo playing singer/songwriter unequivocally contradicts the way that a portion of music conglomerates would want to market a young female artist. What’s the need to show skin, when you’ve got as much soul and ambition as Maggie Rogers?
Opener ‘Color Song’ epitomises the innovative production used throughout the debut EP, where the listener is presented with two sound sources: Maggie Rogers and Crickets. What more could you ask for? The singer’s folk influences are evident within her mesmerising Fleet Fox-esque choral harmony that gives a wealth of colour, painting the evocative narrative in which Rogers pays homage to nature through rural poetry. Realistically, by modern music standards, the simplicity of an a cappella track (without autotune) should leave the multi-instrumentalist NYU grad vulnerable. However, ‘Color Song’ undeniably highlights her raw and painstakingly impressive talent.
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‘Alaska’ – that track that wowed Pharrell last year – features percussive undertones that were achieved with finger clicks and tapping her palms on the top of her legs. Anomalies such as these are evident throughout the 22 year-old’s debut EP and is one of a bag full of reasons that makes Maggie Rogers an exciting and innovative new artist. Soon after, the EP reaches it’s pinnacle with third track ‘On + Off’, which was named as BBC Radio 1’s Hottest Track at the start of the year. The dance inspired backbeat is layered with vocal hooks and is significantly more upbeat in comparison to preceding tracks, highlighting the singer’s fluid genre that has been coined as ‘folktronica’. Minutes later, the EP unwinds with ‘Dog Years’ and ‘Better’, the dissimilarity shared between the final three tracks underlines Rogers’ uniqueness, singularity and opposition to any kind of genre-labelled box you may want to put her in.
The singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist artfully achieves an aural dreamscape combining found sounds with an electronic back beat, that forms an ambitious yet distinctive sound throughout ‘Now That The Light Is Fading’. The fusion between folk and electronic music may not be for everyone, but her nonconformist approach aids in creating a divergent artefact that you just won’t hear anywhere else.
‘Now That The Light Is Fading’ is out now via Debay Sounds.