One of the fresh young artists in the industry, Maggie Rose sat down with Music City Encore to discuss her experience on this summer’s Country Throwdown Tour, the success of her single “I Ain’t Your Mama,” and her upcoming debut album.
Music City Encore: Your latest single, “I Ain’t Your Mama,” went for official radio adds on June 25. What was it about this song that made you feel it should be the single?
Maggie Rose: “I Ain’t Your Mama” is an anthem that females of all ages can appreciate. The single offers a snapshot of what’s to come on my debut album with the super confident message and funky groove. My team and I love that this song is strong but feminine in the sense that it’s told from the perspective of a woman who is still loving and nurturing but knows what she wants and how to be taken seriously. We wanted my personality to come through this is the song to showcase it.
MCE: The song has created a lot of buzz about you and your music. What do you think it is about this song that people are connecting with so much?
MR: I have lots of female fans who will tell me after a show in reference to the single’s hook, “I say that to my boyfriend/husband all the time!” While I think the song resonates with women especially, the message shouldn’t intimidate men. The chorus saying “I’ll be your laughter; I’ll be your drama…your best friend, your lover.” All of those sound like pretty good things to me!
MCE: You worked with legendary producer James Stroud on your debut album. How was the experience working with him?
MR: James Stroud has an outstanding track record. He’s produced close to 130 number one hits after an already successful career as a percussionist. He played on Paul Simon and Bob Seger records for crying out loud! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When I first met James, I was intimidated. He’s a big guy with a big reputation and I was a newcomer to Nashville but he immediately made me feel at home. I know now after several years of working with James and evolving as an artist that one of the most important qualities I would attribute his success to is humility. I became more and more confident working with James because it was collaboration and a friendship and he was someone who helped me find my voice and sound.
MCE: What can we expect from your debut album?
MR: There are themes of women empowerment, serious heartbreak, coming of age and learning from mistakes, falling in love, and not one, but two double murder songs. Yes, some people die in the songs but the only real harm done in the making of this album was emotional. But, the means better songs so bring on the heartbreak! I think listeners will find the music confident, sassy and candid. I’m so ready for people to hear it!
MCE: Since 2009, you’ve been working your way through country music, learning the ins and outs of the industry. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
MR: The most valuable lesson I’ve learned as an artist is to trust my gut. It comes with making mistakes and realizing that I should have followed my instincts instead of letting other people make decisions for me. That’s not what artistry is about. On the other hand, it’s been humbling to realize just how little I actually knew when I moved to Nashville at nineteen and how much I’ve learned from everyone along the way. I wish I could be as smart as I thought I was at nineteen!
MCE: For every fresh new face in country music, people always want to know how they got their start. What was your first big break in the industry?
MR: Getting the attention of Tommy Mottola was my first big break in the industry. I was a sophomore in college at the time writing my own music and touring with a band from Jersey whenever I got the chance. I was knocking on every door possible to get my music heard and Tommy of all people recognized potential in me and introduced me to Laura and James Stroud. That was the push I needed to finally make the move to Nashville.
MCE: You were part of the Country Throwdown Tour with Gary Allan, Rodney Atkins, & more this summer. How was life on the tour?
MR: The Country Throwdown Tour was a great experience. It was my first major tour and all the acts were laid-back and friendly. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet fans and mingle with them after the show. I have these “I Ain’t Your Mama” temporary tattoos and I honestly don’t know how many tattoos the band and I have applied in the last three months! Rodney Atkins invited me and my band to sing backgrounds with him on his single every night and that was definitely a highlight for us. Florida-Georgia Line would barbecue for the whole tour after most shows. There was a lot of camaraderie between all the acts. In between dates we would go visit radio. There hasn’t been any downtime since the tour started. Although, even with all eight of us living in the close quarters of a tour bus, we still love each other!
MCE: What’s ahead for you this summer and beyond?
MR: The Country Throwdown Tour has come to an end but the band and I are still very busy with radio visits and shows all over the country. We like to be busy! We are pursuing a couple touring opportunities and getting ready for the album release later this year.
MCE: You are very active on Twitter, and you’ve been one of the busiest performers on the Throwdown tour in terms of meeting fans, signing autographs, etc. It’s very important to you to get to know as many of your fans as you can, isn’t it?
MR: Absolutely. Music is all about connecting so I want to know my fans on a deeper level and let them know me outside of my music. I become attached to music because I relate to the message of the song or because it makes me feel a certain way. If I have a better sense of who I am singing to, it makes that relate ability a much more tangible thing. A woman told me that one of my songs helped her friend cope with a divorce and I think about that every time I sing that song now. I know that my fans influence me and my music as much, if not more, than I influence them.
MCE: You first broke onto the scene in 2009. In what ways have you grown as an artist since then?
MR: I am more confident than I’ve ever been and I have a better sense of who I am as an artist. I was a little green when I hit the scene in 2009 and hadn’t thought everything through. I didn’t have the big picture sorted out yet. I hadn’t asked all the necessary questions of myself as an artist. It’s always a work in progress but the whole cohesive idea is in place and there is intense focus on my part and from everyone on my team. I’ve never had more fun with my music and performance than I am now and I hope that continues.
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