There is no pretense to Rogers today, just as there wasn’t in the Williams video. Mumford & Sons’ Marcus Mumford, whom she opened for this past month on an arena tour, says that with Rogers, “you get proper integrity. She is who she is, all the time.” Yet while the adjective “authentic” baffles her whenever people use it (“I’m like, ‘What the fuck? Of course I’m me’”), what she maybe hasn’t fully synthesized is that the ability to be her bona fide self is a result of this business savvy. Rogers has outright protected the very thing so many pop stars often can’t.
Equally as important was the control she asserted over her path. Four days after signing with Mick Management (Sharon Van Etten, Leon Bridges) in July 2016, Rogers bolted from the country -- first to Malaysia, then to France, where she lived on a farm commune without cell reception for a summer. Time and space allowed her to process who she was in the aftermath of overnight change, and by the time she came back, she was ready to spill all the rumination into her debut.
Heard It in a Past Life, which includes production by Greg Kurstin, Ricky Reed and Rostam Batmanglij, beautifully builds upon the unique indie-folk/dance amalgam she developed at NYU -- it’s just a hell of a lot bolder. Rogers has the neurological condition known as sound-to-color synesthesia; when she hears certain notes, corresponding colors appear. So while her senior-year EP was a palette of “timid light pinks, light purples and light blues,” she says the 12-track full-length is “lapis lazuli and deep vibrant reds, colors that take up space.”
It’s also a diary of how Rogers shed her exoskeleton and discovered what had been waiting there all along. She sings about it in “Light On,” the swelling, synth-heavy empowerment anthem that earned the singer her first No. 1 -- it topped Billboard’s Triple A chart (replacing, in fact, Mumford & Sons). “The craziest thing is I didn’t know I could sing like this -- ever. My voice has changed or I’ve grown into it, woken up,” she says. “I came to a place at the end of the year where I realized I’ve been trying to do [music] for a lot of lifetimes, and this life is the one that lines up. The universe was going to make it happen whether I was ready or not.”
Maggie's Magic Makers
Emily Lazar -- President/Chief Mastering Engineer at The Lodge
Her Role: Grammy-nominated Lazar, who has worked with artists including David Bowie, mastered Heard It in a Past Life.
On Collaborating: “Maggie and I bonded immediately. We spoke at length on the specific sound she was looking to achieve on her tracks and also about the difficulties artists sometimes face during the recording and production processes.”