Metro Weekly

Maggie Rogers’ Coachella Performance Was Actually A Project For Her Master’s

'Surrender' isn't just the name of the new album dropping soon from Rogers, it's also the title of her Harvard University thesis.

Maggie Rogers -- Photo: Kelly Jeffrey
Maggie Rogers — Photo: Kelly Jeffrey

It’s been years since Maggie Rogers last released new music, but she hasn’t been laying around idle during that time. In fact, she’s been incredibly busy, both with creating new work in the studio and with furthering her education. Now, she’s back and is kicking off just the second era of her career with a new viewpoint, a degree, and a kickass new single.

On June 1, Rogers returned to her first love with “Want Want,” which serves as the second single from her upcoming sophomore album Surrender.

The tune is a bit rockier than much of the music her fans know her for already, but it’s not so different that those who love her will be left scratching their heads. “Want Want” leans into the pop-punk sound that so many pop stars are bringing back, but she isn’t following a trend. Instead, she’s making it her own, and she’s now given the world what may be one of the hottest cuts of the summer.

Rogers performed a little more than a month ago at the Coachella music festival, and during her time on stage, she played the first Surrender single “That’s Where I Am,” which immediately got fans talking about how excited they were for her comeback.

What they didn’t know was that Rogers’ showing at the event was actually a final project she needed to complete for her master’s degree.

For the past several years, Rogers has been enrolled at Harvard University, where she has been working toward earning her master’s in religion and public life.

Apparently, Surrender isn’t just the name of the album she wrote, recorded, co-produced, mixed, and mastered during her free time — it’s also the title of her thesis.

Rogers only graduated very recently, but now she’s in full album promotion mode. “Want Want” and its music video are out now, and Surrender is slated to drop on July 29. She only has one other major label album to her credit, but it performed so well, there are some pretty lofty expectations that Rogers will surely live up to.

In 2016, Rogers went from a struggling independent musician few had heard of with a tiny discography to a viral sensation when a video circulated on social media featuring her and super-producer Pharrell Williams in the studio together. He was listening to a song of hers titled “Alaska,” and it brought him to tears. That one moment was enough to thrust her into the spotlight, and she made the most of it.

A year later, Rogers, who by then had been signed to Capitol Records, released an EP titled Now That the Light Is Fading, and in early 2019, she dropped her debut full-length Heard It in a Past Life. That set bolted right to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and it turned her from a rising talent to a bona fide indie pop superstar. She was nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys the following year, and though she lost to Billie Eilish, it was still a major moment for her.

Now, Rogers is returning to music with a revamped sound, a larger-than-ever fan base, and a new degree. Listening to the music she’s already shared and reading interviews she’s conducted recently, it’s clear she’s creatively-charged and incredibly confident, which means this new favorite of the LGBTQ community could be entering the biggest phase of her career.

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