Photo by Martin do Nascimento/KUTX
By now, the story sounds apocryphal, like some platonic ideal of artistic discovery. Maggie Rogers moved out her college apartment on May 31, 2016. Twenty-four hours later, her music was viral, spurred on by a video of Pharrell’s hushed awe as he listened to her song “Alaska” during an NYU master class. By the end of the summer, Rogers had a record contract and millions of new fans.
This kind of overnight success story seems to seep into every SXSW, but with Rogers, it feels different and more sustainable. Her mix of synthesizers with earthy folk sounds–like field recordings of birds and crickets–reminds me of Brian Eno’s love of finding the organic in the electronic. Rogers made a lot of converts with her early-morning set at the Four Seasons, turning in a stunning performance with earwormy songs like “Dog Years.” Within SXSW’s howling noise, Rogers’ less-is-more simplicity carved out its own sonic oasis. Watch a video of the performance below.
–Art Levy // host, Sunday 10am-2pm, producer, My KUTX