aleksiah | Credit: Lucinda Corin / Supplied

Love Letter To A Record: aleksiah On Maggie Rogers ‘Heard It In A Past Life’

Music Feeds’ Love Letter to a Record series asks artists to reflect on their relationship with the music they love and share stories about how it has influenced their lives. Here, Adelaide singer-songwriter and rapidly rising star aleksiah and opens up about her love for American indie-pop legend Maggie Rogers’ 2019 debut album ‘Heard It In A Past Life’.

It comes as aleksiah is celebrating the release of her own new EP, ‘Who Are You When You’re Not Performing?’, a heartfelt offering of six indie-pop coming of age anthems including big singles ‘Fern’, ‘Ant Song’, ’24’ and ‘Pretty Picture’. Stream it in full below.

aleksiah: Love Letter to Maggie Rogers ‘Heard It In A Past Life’

aleksiah: I remember seeing a viral YouTube video in my last year of high school of a young Maggie Rogers attending a masterclass and being absolutely lauded over by Pharrell (which at that time would’ve been my wet dream). I remember listening to her song ‘Alaska’ in the video and being completely enamoured by it, it was a perfect pop song, it was fun and frilly, but it still had an air of integrity to it, and the songwriting was amazing, flawless to me. Then a couple years later, Heard It In A Past Life came out and it was like my birthday, Christmas and tax back season rolled into one. I think it’s a must listen for any songwriters who struggle with balancing pop with a bit of a deeper more meaningful edge, there’s no reason you can’t do both.

The album starts with ‘Give A Little’ which is this upbeat tune, it’s optimistic and her voice

absolutely shines. She has this gorgeous vulnerable tone, with great presence and a strong sense

of emotion, like I can hear her face moving when she’s singing, I love that so much. The

production is giving car-window-rolled-down-driving-down-a-dusty-road-at-noon, just so vibrant

and hopeful, like nothing has screwed up yet, or at least you don’t know it has. I love when music

can make you feel like that.

‘Overnight’ has a really fun jumpy drum bit and a bouncy melody in the chorus that’s so catchy

and gets stuck in your head, it’s a special kind of skill to create an ear worm which I think she

does so damn well. ‘The Knife’ has gotta be one of my favourite songs of all time, it has such a

cool groove that buries itself in your ears. It’s so cool, it even sounds cool, like the kind of song

that nice popular girl in your English Literature class would be listening to while going for a walk.

“The knife of insight brought me to my knees” literally kills me, it’s just so clever and well-thought

and I love how you can picture the actual image, I love when lyrics do that. I’m such a visual

learner and being able to paint a picture with your lyrics is such a talent. Greg Kurstin I feel just

like gets it with his production, it’s an absolute dream of mine to work with him someday.

‘Alaska’ is the song that everyone knows for good reason, it has a blend of playfulness and

sincerity that I tried to match in my track ‘Fern’ in all honestly, probably not as well as she does

but I tried haha. The way she sings “you and I there’s air in between” is etched into my brain.

‘Light On’ is a beautiful vulnerable kind of look at what happens when your life changes and is

definitely my favourite track from the album. She had shot to stardom and didn’t really know how

to take it, or how to act around her friends, at least that’s the meaning I took from it. I recently did

a whole re-listen to the album in full late last year, and the verse and pre-chorus of this song broke

something in me. “Would you hear me out if I told you I was terrified for days, thought I was

gonna break/Crying in the bathroom had to figure it out, with everyone around me saying you

must be so happy now”. Those lyrics are the most life-like depiction of what I had felt in the

months before re-listening and it helped me come to terms with my emotions, instead of just

shoving them down as I had been. It’s just such a good song.

This particular song was a big inspiration for the title track of my upcoming EP, Who Are You

When You’re Not Performing?
. When ‘Fern’ gained a bit of traction and people started to notice

me, I didn’t really know how to take it. I’m a pretty reserved and introverted person, and when I

started getting some attention I felt really cynical about it all, and like I had to pretend to be this

bubbly brash personality because that’s what people wanted, writing that song really helped me

come to terms with my life changing.

The 8th track on the album ‘On + Off’ is such an underrated gem. The production really stands

out to me on this song, I love how it’s jolty and feels like your head is spinning, I think it fits the

songs meaning so well, feeling unsteady and unsure of where you are. I love how openly she

writes about her feelings, I have this overwhelming edge to portray a cooler, hotter, more stable

version of myself to people who listen to my music, but in all honestly I am far from that, and I

think there’s a level of coolness in owning that in itself, it’s intrinsic.

I could go on and on about this album but I shall not for the sake of everyone’s time, but if you

take anything away from this, let it be that music can open you up to feeling things that you

haven’t or wouldn’t let yourself feel before. And that I would let Maggie Rogers step on me.

Further Reading

triple j’s Like A Version in 2017

Maggie Rogers Is Releasing ‘Notes from the Archive: Recordings 2011 – 2016’

Maggie Rogers Calls Out Sexual Harassment After Man Yells “Take Your Top Off” During Her Show

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