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Maggie Rogers: The Making of an International Phenomenon 

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Ardent fans of Maryland singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers might be surprised that her first major-label album, Heard It in a Past Life, was only released Jan. 18 on Capitol Records. After all, during 2018, Rogers appeared on several network late-night shows, played a Red Rocks opener and sang with Sarah Jarosz and Mumford & Sons. Her songs “Alaska” and “Give a Little” have been on Muzak rotation since 2016. With such streaming and download success, is a physical album release even necessary?

In Rogers’ case, yes. Unified engineering sessions that resulted in the 12 tracks here give her a discipline beyond the haphazard singles released under a wealth of producers. The team of Greg Kurstin and Kid Harpoon reworked tunes like “Fallingwater” and spun up new tracks like “Light On” (which debuted on Saturday Night Live), making the mix surprisingly rich for a debut album.

Rogers has retained integrity and spontaneity even in the eye of a marketing cyclone. By taking two years honing her debut, she has given listeners a dozen winners. Her writing is both sincere and emotionally unafraid, but the lyricism is not at a Joni Mitchell or even boygenius level, though she already outranks most mainstream pop singers. If she can keep the marketing dogs at bay and follow up the debut without stumbling, Maggie Rogers can easily live up to the extensive hype that surrounds her at every turn.

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