Q+A with Maggie Rose
By Breton Spiller
Maggie Rose is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter with her own unique style, referred to as an “unbridled collision of rock n’ roll, soul, folk, funk, and R&B.” She will be gracing the stage this weekend at the inaugural Sacred Rose Music Festival in Bridgeview, IL. The festival’s lineup is full of star power, and Rose fits right into that category with ease.
Read on to learn more about her career, inspirations, musical messages, and more!
Q: One word to describe yourself is… first thing that comes to mind!
Q: If you could have any exotic pet in the world, what would it be?
A: A sloth, please.
Q: How does it feel to be a part of a brand new festival? What makes this different from other festival performances?
A: Chicago is one of my favorite cities to visit and perform in, and the lineup of Sacred Rose is awesome. It’s pretty cool to get the chance to be a part of the first (of what I’m sure will be many) Sacred Rose festivals, and we all get to help set the tone for the festival.
Q: If you have time, are there other artists you are particularly excited to see? Why?
A: I wish I could be there all weekend; however, I will be there on the same day as two of my friends, Nicole Atkins and Karina Rykman, so I will be catching as much of their set as I can. They were both on my podcast, and it’s always fun to see them on stage, knowing how much they love what they do.
Career, Music, and More:
Q: Tell me a bit about your journey as an artist. What struggles have you faced and overcome? What major goals have you accomplished?
A: I think I’m most proud of sticking to my guns and staying true to who I am and to the music I want to make because the industry has not always made that effort easy, especially in the earlier years of my career. There was a lot of compromise and I was aiming to please everyone but myself until I got a little wiser and found my stride. I’m not sure how to label my music—I just call it American Rock and Soul—but it’s rewarding to forge my own path, and it makes me feel most connected to my music and the people with whom I share it.
Q: I noted that you toured with Kelly Clarkson! Tell me a bit about that experience! Were you able to learn from her/how so? How do you feel this helped elevate your career?
A: She is an incredibly resilient artist and made me feel very welcome on the arena tour. One night she was sick and could almost not speak before she took the stage, and then like the pro she is, she got in front of the audience and belted it out, which was inspiring to see. She invited me to sing “Miss Independent” with her during the encore, and that was epically gracious of her. That song has always been a jam.
Q: I see you’re based in Nashville, TN, a very musically influential city… how do the environment and culture there impact your music?
A: I owe so much of my musical growth to living in Nashville. I get so much exposure to incredible talent and collaborative opportunities, which inform so much of my creative process. It’s a very different city from the one I moved to in January 2008, but I think the growth and influx of new and diverse talents have made it an exciting place to be.
Q: Almost a year ago, you released your most recent album, “Have a Seat”… reflecting on the past year, how has your own perception of the album changed over time, if at all? Have audience reactions and interpretations caused your own interpretation to evolve as well?
A: Absolutely! I think the songs have gleaned so much more meaning from the day they were written to now, especially in these times with everything going on in the world. Being able to tour and give the music away to the audience makes it real, and it has been enlightening to see how the album has resonated with people in different ways over the course of this last year.
Q: “Have a Seat” seems to have a couple of different meanings/messages behind it… one, in particular, is the idea of “claiming a seat” or demanding the spot that is rightfully yours… How would you say you’ve done this? What would you describe your “seat” as/what place in this world was made for you?
A: The title is about several themes like compassion and inclusivity, which I wanted to see more of over the last few years. I believe we can and should make room for all at the proverbial table if they want to be there. And yes, there is also the theme of individuality and the power of knowing “this is my seat that only I can occupy, just like the person next to me or across from me.” I believe I earned that seat in music by being authentic to myself and dedicated to the work I love and it’s wonderful seeing others do the same.
Q: On your website, it states that you like to include a bit of social commentary in your music, but subtly. Tell me more about why this is important to you and how you go about getting those points across without overdoing it.
A: I think that the rhetoric flying around now is pretty polarized, and I prefer to process it all and express myself through music because music and lyrics together can help me convey so much while bringing people together. I am really passionate about my political beliefs but don’t always view social media, etc., as a productive means for helpful discourse. I mostly use music and my podcast, which is a long-form conversation with a back-and-forth rapport with my guests.
Q: You’ve mentioned that part of the reason for recording at FAME studios was the connection to your significant influences, Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. How did it feel to record in that same space as them? What made this different from other studio spaces you’ve recorded in?
A: It’s kind of a sacred place. When I set foot in that studio, I know the greatness that has gone before me, and that feeling is palpable. I wouldn’t want to upset Miss Franklin by not delivering my best. The people there are tremendous as well. It’s also cool to see a place in North Alabama with such humble beginnings become a landmark of music history. I think the studio itself is a success story comparable to the success of the many artists that walked through its doors.
Q: In ‘What are We Fighting For?’ we hear the lyric: “You’ll never know what I can bring to the table if you don’t have a seat with me.” I can imagine this being extremely relevant as an up-and-coming artist fighting for their moment. Can you give any advice to aspiring artists as far as getting people to take this “seat” with them? How do you get people to give you that shot?
A: Refuse to be denied. Work really, really hard. If you can imagine yourself doing something else, then you should probably go do that. Make sure you love what you’re doing before you worry about if anyone else does. Finally, respect the value and impact of your music because once you release it, it belongs to everyone.
You can catch Maggie Rose on Sunday at The Canopy Stage from 2:10 pm – 3:00 pm.
Find out more about Maggie Rose here.
Connect with Maggie Rose.
Listen to ‘Have a Seat’ here.
Find out more about Sacred Rose by reading our preview article here.