Maggie Rogers’ Folk Fairy Tale How a banjo-playing hiking guide became Pharrell’s favorite new songwriter
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CLASS ACT “I spent last summer having weird label dinners with 50-year-old men,” says Rogers.
JAY SOM: BEDROOM DREAM-POP PRODIGY Melina Duterte has been performing her own music for only about a year. Before that, the 23-year-old was a formally trained jazz trumpeter with conservatory goals. She changed direction in 2015, when she released nine songs as Jay Som (a pseudonym she pulled from an online name generator). The set earned her a record deal and comparisons to Mazzy Star. Her new album, Everybody Works, recorded in her Oakland bedroom, combines low-ﬁ rock, dream pop and R&B production. She wrote it as she struggled to balance personal relationships with what she calls her “indulgent” new career – which she’s only just getting comfortable with. “I’ve started to actually like playing live,” she says, “but if I had to choose, I wouldn’t. Recording in my bedroom, I can literally do whatever Duterte I want.” SUZY EXPOSITO
CASHMERE CAT’S ALL-STAR EDM PARTY Since 2012, Cashmere Cat has existed mainly in liner notes, providing sparse, synth-heavy beats for Kanye, Britney Spears and Ariana Grande. The Norwegian DJ signed up more big names, including Selena Gomez and the Weeknd, for his new LP, 9. Cashmere (real name Magnus Høiberg) singles out “Wild Love” – an avant-garde meditation on crazy sex, sung by the Weeknd – as an example of his new musical mission. “I wanted to make a longer body of work,” he says of the album. “Not just club tracks.” KORY GROW
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FROM TOP: TANYA & ZHENYA POSTERNAK; JOSH BRASTED/WIREIMAGE; CARA ROBBINS
aggie rogers did not know she was about to become a viral sensation when she stepped into class at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music last spring. “We knew there was going to be a guest, but we had no idea it was going to be Pharrell,” says Rogers, a freckled 22-year-old in jeans and big earrings, over coffee in New York. Pharrell Williams had come to give feedback on student music. The class would be ﬁlmed and put on his YouTube channel. Rogers played him “Alaska,” a synthy folk-pop tune about walking off a failed romance on a hiking trip (she had trained as a hiking guide in Alaska). The performance nearly moved Williams to tears. As Rogers grinned, he compared her originality to Stevie Wonder and the I want to inventors of Reese’s Peaplay a show that nut Butter Cups. Someone posted the moment my friends on Reddit, and it went would want to viral. “I started getting get high for, a lot of texts,” says Rogsays Rogers. ers. “I didn’t even know what Reddit was.” She has since signed a deal with Capitol and just released an EP, Now That the Light Is Fading. As overnight as Rogers’ success may seem, she has been prepping for it most of her life. Growing up, she learned to play harp, guitar and banjo, impressing high school classmates with covers of Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead. During a semester abroad in 2015, she visited a dance club in Berlin. “It changed everything,” she says. “I wanted to play a show that kids my age would want to come to and get high for.” Before graduation, Rogers planned to work as a freelance writer while releasing music independently. Now, she’s planning a full album and a tour that includes a stop at Lollapalooza. “I spent last summer having weird label dinners with 50-year-old men,” she says. “There are a lot of things worse to be than the ‘Pharrell girl.’ I hope that’ll wear off. I really want to make a great record, like my Rumours or Thriller.” DAVID BROWNE