"Have a Seat" with Maggie Rose
Interview by Madisyn Siebert • Photos by Cory Weaver
Maggie Rose is an up-and-coming powerhouse from Nashville that you need to have on your radar. She just released her third album, Have A Seat, earlier in 2021 and worked with Ben Tanner to truly show off all her gusto and spunk. We were fortunate enough to catch up with her after her set at the Austin City Limits Festival in October and discuss more about her sound, what's coming, and how you can spend your New Year’s Eve with her to bring in a rock’n 2022.
Madisyn Siebert: You call your music a mix of unbridled collision of rock & roll, soul, folk, funk, and R&B. Do you notice yourself drawing inspiration from anything specific? How do you then channel that inspiring moment into words or music?
Maggie Rose: I have heard my music described that way and I dig it because I think all those components are definitely there, but I am fluid in my description and understanding of what kind of music I’m making because I’m inspired by the possibilities of evolving with it. I think there are also some elements of country and folk in there and that’s part of my story, too. I am surrounded by a lot of talent here in Nashville, and I think that collaborative spirit really energizes me and pushes me to explore all the sides of my musicality. Being a good listener to others and to what’s going on around me is the key to capturing that inspiration. I’m trying to work on becoming better at that.
MS: You opened for a lot of big names in 2019: Heart, Joan Jett, Kelly Clarkson. Coming off the high of 2019, what was the 2020 pandemic to you?
MR: It was traumatic, and I dealt with a bit of an identity crisis. Who was I if I wasn’t a performer? I was worried about my band and people I work with and totally overwhelmed by the suffering at large. I also think the ambiguity of what would happen to the touring industry and music in general was depressing to say the least, but I started to reconnect with some of my peers through my podcast “Salute The Songbird” where I speak to women in the industry, and that connection made me feel less isolated. Listening to the stories of my guests and connecting to my listeners in a different way was eye-opening. I don’t know how to wrap up my thoughts on 2020 and everything that has come after it because I feel like I’m still processing all the big changes that have come with it, but I will say that it gave me some intense self-awareness and appreciation for what I get to do and for the connection facilitated by music.
MS: Can you compare what it's like playing a festival like ACL vs. playing at an iconic venue like the Grand Ole Opry?
MR: Ha! They are two wildly different experiences but what’s so cool is that I feel really at home in both places. The audiences at both the Opry and ACL are from all over the country and the world, and they are all music lovers. There is a sanctity to performing at both places. The Opry is traditionally known for its association with Country music while ACL is all over the map from a genre standpoint, but we fit right in. I do take into consideration that my ACL outfits might not fly at the Opry. Ha!
MS: How was working with Ben Tanner from Alabama Shakes on your latest album, Have a Seat?
MR: He’s an incredible musician and a wonderful facilitator of creativity and collaboration. I loved working with him in that room because of all the history that comes with FAME studio, but he was so helpful in the months that lead up to those sessions at FAME. He listened to dozens and dozens of songs I had that were contenders for the record and he helped me select those songs and put together a dream band for this album.
MS: What were some fun and creative moments during the recording process for Have a Seat? Any particular songs stick out?
MR: I think back to those sessions with so much happiness because it was before the cloud of Covid loomed overhead and we were spending day after day in that studio exchanging ideas, gathering around one mic for background vocals, singing and playing together all day, and then crashing at an Airbnb before we’d wake up to do it all over again, and I loved how immersive that was. The arrangement for “Telephone” was pretty much there but we had a happy accident while tracking that made us change the breakdown on the fly and it was such a cool moment of spontaneity.
MS: I'm sure you're excited for your New Year's Eve show in STL. Any special plans/surprises?
MR: So excited. STL has become like another home to me, and we have received so much support from our listeners there. We’ve also befriended Chef Qui Tran and Chef Gerard Craft. Chef Qui has collaborated with us in putting a great dinner together for the fans so they can go all out for their NYE and have a dinner and a show. However, if they just make the show it will still be a big party. We’re going to make sure to ring in the new year with everyone in a dazzling way.