Maggie Rose hosted a virtual release party through Tweed Recording in Athens on Sept. 17. The livestream show and vinyl release included two of Rose’s newest songs, the A track “20/20” and the B track “I’m Only Human (I Wanna Get Out)” written over stressful times in quarantine.
The entire musical production team was tested for COVID-19 before traveling to Athens for the virtual release.
The Red & Black spoke with Rose to discuss the virtual release as well as the artist’s musical history leading up to this point.
The Red & Black: To start off, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? When did you first start getting into music?
Maggie Rose: So I grew up in Potomac Mills, right outside Washington D.C., and I started singing mostly in Catholic Church. It wasn't anything like the singing I came to do, but my family was so supportive nonetheless. I got hooked up with a Bruce Springsteen tribute band out of the Jersey Shore when I was a teenager. Eventually, I started writing my own original material and sneaking it into the set to play for these bar crowds at age 16 or 17. I went to Clemson University to study vocal performance, and in the middle of my sophomore year I got connected with Tommy Mottola, and he was my liaison to Nashville essentially. So with his endorsement and by working with him, he introduced me to so many people that I worked with initially when I moved to Nashville in 2008.
R&B: How would you describe the genre of the music you released for the virtual release party?
MR: So we call it “American Rock and Soul” because it doesn't really have a specific genre that I guess you would tick off in your iTunes drop tabs. The song “20/20” is a piano vocal-driven intro that unfolds into this epic production with strings, keys, lots of electric guitars, and lots of intricate background vocals. The B side, which is “I’m Only Human (I Wanna Get Out),” is almost like an ‘80s dance song that we wrote in a pretty melancholy time. A tornado had just ripped through our neighborhood, and we’d just been told we were canceling 70 shows. That song came out of that situation, so it kinda has that upbeat energy with these sad lyrics about missing our life and what we had come to know.
R&B: Why did you decide on the Tweed Recording studio in Athens for your virtual release party?
MR: The music that has come out of Athens is really significant to us. [Tweed Recording] reached out to us and we wanted to take advantage of a studio that’s doing something really innovative in the midst of what’s going on with how they are presenting these shows. It’s just a return to normalcy for a moment to just hit the road with the band and play a show.
R&B: Where do you get inspiration for your music?
MR: I think my answer would have been very different before this pandemic. I’ve been looking to the world stage and what’s been going on with everybody. I think that I am really empathic, and in a way, it’s really hard for me not to put that in my songwriting right now. It’s our job as musicians to incorporate what’s going on and what we are seeing in the world around us [into our music].
R&B: Can you tell us any future plans you have for your music beyond the show on the 17th?
MR: Before the pandemic hit, I actually had an album in the can already that I made. It has very much of a classical soul sounding production. We also worked with Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes, and he injected it with some really creative ideas to make it a fun listen, so it’s not just a throw-back production. I am so excited for life to resume so we can tour the music and get it out to everybody.