Maggie Rogers might seem like an obvious natural on her debut album Heard It In A Past Life. Her vocals mirror those of singer/songwriters like Sara Bareilles and Chantal Kreviazuk, but if it wasn’t for a video of Pharrell Williams reacting to the then-NYC student’s song Alaska, we might never have heard her.
Maggie Rogers became an unexpected artist to watch in 2016 after her song Alaska went viral. Since then, she has released additional tracks, performed and honed her songwriting and recording. In January, nearly three years after that initial event, she finally released an album.
The record consists of songs written before and after fame. Produced mainly by Greg Kurstin, the album is slick. Sometimes it works in her favour, such as on the determined Light On, but sometimes it interferes with the authenticity of Maggie’s vocals, like on Retrograde.
Like Sara Bareilles, Maggie has also written about her rise to fame on her album and what she faced as a newcomer in the fast-paced music industry. Songs like Overnight, Light On, and Back In My Body come from a perspective of someone new to the industry without yet being heavily influenced by it. As Maggie depicts it, it can be tiring and overwhelming despite expectations that “you must be so happy now” as she sings in Light On. But while she sings about losing control of her new surroundings, she sings about finding strength in them as well.
Heard It In A Past Life has gems scattered throughout. The single Light On, the Florence-like Burning, and Retrograde, with its therapeutic chorus. It’s too bad you won’t hear these on the radio, but it’s a strong album from an artist who is likely only just beginning. We’ll be hearing from Maggie Rogers for years to come.
Check out: Light On, The Knife, Retrograde
1. Give A Little
3. The Knife
5. Light On
6. Past Life
7. Say It
8. On + Off
12. Back In My Body