Music is the bridge that links people’s souls. With music, you can tap into any emotion within yourself or with others, a little something the talented Maggie Rose knows about. Singing has been part of her life since she was young and as she grew older, Maggie was more and more exposed to what this career would bring…and she went for it. Now, her new album HAVE A SEAT brings to you a different side of Maggie Rose. We love to see artists grow here at BELLO and this artist is growing a little more by day. Until we meet again, Maggie Rose!
Share with us what you were most drawn to when you decided to become an artist.
I love that music facilitates a connection between people like nothing else. Even as a youngster I knew I could sing and that it made people happy, but when I first realized that I could establish a rapport with so many people through original music and performance it cracked my world wide open. When I was about sixteen years old performing some of my original songs for the first time to audiences who were seemingly able to escape into the music, I began to understand that being a capable singer was only a fraction of what it means to be a great artist. Those vulnerable and clumsy moments I’ve experienced on my journey to find my artistic voice have made me take honest looks at myself allowing me to dig deeper into where I can take my art. The renewing challenge of that exploration is something I will never get tired of chasing. Besides, creating art and putting together the whole presentation of it is so damn fun.
What steps did you take to get to where you are now?
I’ve been signed to major and independent labels, and I’ve even run my own. While I have taken hundreds of steps—most of them forward and a few backward or lateral perhaps—I have always kept moving. I’ve just released my third full-length album HAVE A SEAT, and feels like a new beginning of sorts because I know I have landed in a space that is all my own after much trial and error and some reprogramming. At the risk of sounding dramatic, I’ll say that I had to fight the system, the industry, and even myself at times in order to feel so firmly rooted in what I’m doing and that feels triumphant.
Growing up, what kind of role did music play in your life?
I loved seeing the way music made people gather and lean into one another. I grew up singing in the Church so I was often singing with a congregation which brought about a great sense of community. I also grew up in a home where I was constantly singing and encouraged to do so, therefore I simply considered music to be a part of my identity early on in life. My parents have great taste in music and my childhood had a killer soundtrack. Annie Lennox, Frank Sinatra, Aretha, Bonnie Raitt, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Madonna, and Michael Jackson were among the many artists regularly played in the car or in our home. Furthermore, I was lucky enough to grow up in a time where divas like Mariah and Whitney were dominating the charts of popular music; it really played into the whole adage of “if you can see it you can be it.”
Congratulations on your new album, HAVE A SEAT! Describe it to us in your own words.
Thank you! I’m so excited to finally have it out in the world. I got to record this album at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL where legends like Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, The Allman Brothers and Etta James made their own historical music and I could feel their energy in the room. There is a throwback feel with the soul tinged production but there are also contemporary, futuristic psychedelic elements to the arrangements as well. These were songs written and recorded before the pandemic began and the themes of empathy, communication, compassion and understanding became even more relevant after experiencing what we had all collectively been through. The title “Have A Seat” is about making room for each other, being inclusive, feeling empowered enough to take up the space designated to each of us as individuals and most of all gathering together which is why it felt so wonderful to be able to release this music in a time where I could support it by touring and playing it live. Seeing the camaraderie among the crowd and feeling it with my band is something I will never take for granted. This album feels right for this moment.
In what ways does this album reflect who you are? Pick three songs that mean a lot to you and why.
I wrote these songs to soothe myself during a really tumultuous time and now I’m hopeful that they will do just that for the audience. However, this album also represents me in the sense that it is hard to define; it transcends genre and incorporates both my gentler and spicier side in a way that I tried my best to balance. “For Your Consideration” is an example of that earnest effort because it demonstrates my willingness to hear out an argument that conflicts with my own but also demands the courtesy of receiving the same treatment in return. The most loving thing we can do is listen to one another and that message is found throughout the record. “Do It” and “What Are We Fighting For” were written with my two dear friends and band mates Alex Rahal Haddad and Larry Florman on two separate occasions. “Do It” is a romp celebrating individuality and pride in being exactly who you are with a sort of “take it or leave it” attitude while “What Are We Fighting For” opens the whole album as a question with a double meaning that builds slowly and steadily, hopefully engaging the listener and opening their mind to prepare them for what’s to come on the rest of the album.
What was the inspiration behind the music videos?
Ford Fairchild directed these videos and also shot this beautiful spread and he has always been someone who has gone to the mat with me to help me fully realize the creative vision. The proverbial table at which we have a seat is a feature throughout the story told in three parts; “What Are We Fighting For” followed by “Saint” then concluding with “For Your Consideration.” There are Easter eggs all over the table alluding to different songs on the record and we wanted to create an otherworldly Alice in Wonderland aesthetic. There were so many limitations due to the pandemic that restricted the number of people we could have in the production so we decided to shoot in a composite way that would allow me to play all the different versions of myself fighting with one another at the table. It ended up being even more effective in mimicking the internal battles I was dealing with throughout isolation and when zoomed out it portrayed the reality that we as a society were simply not communicating with each other. The “clones,” wearing a nude William Wilde latex bodysuit, are all bathed in different light to match their mood and their fight is broken up by the “queen,” also in William Wilde, who pacifies the situation by encouraging listening. We definitely got a little meta with the whole concept, but the process was a thrill.
Share with us an experience you had with a fan that left a strong impact on you.
It is always a really humbling experience whenever a listener privileges me with a personal story of how my music has helped them through a situation as heavy as a death or a divorce. I’ve also seen many couples get engaged at my shows during a song that is special to them. In all of these cases I realize how much bigger this is than me and I feel honored to be a part of such personal moments in their lives. I remember the first time someone sent me a video of her and her new spouse having their first wedding dance to “It’s You” and it was beautifully surreal.
Growing up, what were some stepping stone moments in your life?
Moving to Nashville as a teenager still seems a little outrageous to me. I was given a huge opportunity but had to leave friends and family and a more conventional path behind. My parents and my sisters made me feel entirely supported but now that I am a little older, I realize how generous their brave faces and support of me has always been. It felt like a free fall at the time but I am proud of my younger self for being gutsy enough to pursue what I wanted with that kind of conviction.
I’m having the best time on my tour where I am joined by Them Vibes and Dylan Hartigan, and we’re hitting it hard until our New Year’s Eve show in Saint Louis at Delmar Hall. We’ve got an incredibly robust touring schedule, but live music is an important part of my fabric so it feels like we’re making up for lost time. I’m also really enjoying hosting my podcast called “Salute the Songbird” where I speak to incredible women in the industry about their stories. I’ve had guests like Nancy Wilson of Heart, Martina McBride, Valerie June, Amythyst Kiah, Mickey Guyton, Jade Bird and Kathy Valentine, among others. It makes me feel so connected to my community and the sisterhood we all share and my list of potential guests to have on the show never stops growing.
Talent MAGGIE ROSE @iammaggierose
Photography FORD FAIRCHILD @fordfairchild
Lighting AJ NETHERLAND @ajnetherland
Digital Tech JOEL DENNIS
Set Design SELBY KNOBLOCK
Set Design Assistant JENNA WINN @jennawinng
Styling KRISTA ROSER @kristaroser
Styling Assistant CLAIRE JOHNSON @clair3johnson
Tailor AUBREY HYDE @aubreyhyde
Glam TARRYN FELDMAN @tarrynfeldman
Interview ALEXANDRA BONNET @alexbonnetwrites
Producer REBECCA ADLER @rarphoto
Production Assistant KIMBERLY NAIL