Maggie Rogers Hits New Chart Heights After 'Saturday Night Live' Performance
'Light On' becomes her first top 10 song.
Making her first appearance as the show's musical guest, Rogers sang, and, in her unique, swirling style, danced to, "Light On" and "Fallingwater," both from her forthcoming first Capitol Records LP, Heard It in a Past Life, due Jan. 18, 2019.
"Light On" launches at No. 9 on Billboard's Alternative Digital Song Sales chart (dated Nov. 17), as well as No. 25 on Pop Digital Song Sales, up 555 percent to 5,000 downloads sold in the week ending Nov. 8, according to Nielsen Music. Plus, "Fallingwater" bows at No. 11 on Alternative Digital Song Sales (3,000, up 1,499 percent).
"Light On" concurrently becomes Rogers' first top 10 on the Adult Alternative Songs radio airplay chart, jumping 12-9. She previously hit the list with "Alaska," which reached No. 13 in February 2017, and "On + Off" (No. 20, May 2017).
Thanks to its sales and airplay gains, "Light On" marks Rogers' first top 10 on any Billboard song charts.
Rogers also debuts on the Emerging Artists chart at No. 16.
Russ Borris, WFUV New York music director, praises the "pop-leaning feel" of "Light On," which brings a bit of studio sparkle and an accessible ethereal touch to a format defined more by organic production. The track, which the station played 14 times in the week ending Nov. 11, "stands out in a way that most pop music doesn't these days," Borris says.
Rogers, 23, was raised in Maryland's eastern shore and drew buzz as a student at New York University in 2016 after then-Tisch School of the Arts artist-in-residence Pharrell Williams met with her class to listen to students' songs. When it was her turn, Rogers told Williams that she grew up playing banjo and loving folk music and, after studying in France, added dance elements to her musical mix.
She played a demo of "Alaska," mesmerizing Williams, and the clip of the session has since garnered over 3 million global YouTube views. "I have zero, zero, zero notes for that," Williams told her after. "It's because you're doing your own thing. It's singular. That's such a special quality. Your whole story, I can hear it in the music."
"We'll see if I'm successful," Rogers humbly mused.
That was in 2016. Less than a year later, "Alaska" made its chart run. A year after that, Rogers has risen (not just geographically) from NYU to SNL and "Light On" is furthering her ascent.
"We obviously have a special connection with Maggie, since she grew up in our listening audience, but we would be playing 'Light On' regardless," says WRNR Annapolis, Maryland, assistant program director and music director Carrie Neuman. The station spun the song 18 times last week and leads all Adult Alternative Songs reporters with 83 plays for it through Nov. 11.
Bob Waugh, WRNR PD, notes that Rogers' two upcoming shows at Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club (March 25 and 26, 2019) sold out in roughly 10 minutes. The station played a promo leading up to her SNL gig, in which Rogers (an avid radio fan) recalls, "You know, growing up in eastern Maryland made me appreciate the finer things in life: the right way to pick a crab ... how to construct a duck blind ... but, most importantly, how to rig an antenna to get the perfect reception of 103.1, 'RNR!"
"Her pop sensibilities and clever lyricism set her apart, but her sincerity, her candor and her willingness to seemingly put her authentic self in the spotlight and dance like no one's watching, literally, lend her a credibility rarely achieved," Neuman says of Rogers.
"Her earnestness and charm seep into every song."