Teen Vogue: Why did you go back to school to study religion and the ethics of power and pop culture?

Maggie Rogers: There’s been so much social change in the last couple years, spending some time investing and really thinking about what I believe — how I want to be an artist in the world, what that means to me, and what’s the responsibility of that — felt like one of the greatest uses of my time.

Also, I think it’s worth saying that there’s just so many different ways to learn. I was really craving community and structure. But I think that there is learning to be done all the time. That kind of learning can happen alone with a great book or with a friend, in the same way that it can happen in grad school.

TV: What is your new album, Surrender, about?

MR: Surrender is about giving into feeling. That word can have such negative connotations, but to me it is such a positive thing.

I wrote the album in a time when I was feeling incredibly numb. I would have these huge waves of emotion, whether they were anger or joy. And to me, those are two emotions that sort of take over. It’s terrifying to let go in that way, but it can be one of the fullest [experiences] of just living, in general. So letting go is really what Surrender is about, and trying to feel all the things.

I also really made [the album] to be shared and played live. It was a way for me to create a sense of hope: that live music would come back, that there would be a space for us all to gather again, that music could be a tool for that. I was just dreaming about music festivals the whole time I was writing it. So making something that felt really physical and embodied also felt like a part of Surrender to me.

TV: A lot of young people feel really overwhelmed by the state of the world at the moment, as they grapple with everything from Roe v. Wade to the lingering effects of the pandemic. How do you find hope?

MR: I feel totally overwhelmed by the state of the world, but I think music and creativity, to me, is a way of exploring what’s possible. There’s always something when I’m making music that I didn’t see that comes from nowhere and appears. When you go to create something, you’re opening yourself up to possibility. It is a way that I continuously touch the things I can’t see or the things that I can’t imagine.

TV: As an artist, do you feel like you have a responsibility to mobilize people on issues that we’re facing?

MR: I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this in the last year. My job is to be an artist. My job is to be a musician and make music and do what is authentic to me and reflect my inner world in the most personal way possible. In songwriting, the most personal is the most universal. It’s about using my own emotions as a connective tool.

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