Maggie Rose was already preparing to release and tour her upcoming album in March of last year. Then, the unpredictable happened. The pandemic made live shows impossible, and no one knew how long it would last. She knew then she would have to kiss the 60 tour dates she had already scheduled for that summer goodbye.
“For a moment, I couldn’t even listen to it or think about it,” Rose says of her album “Have a Seat,” which had already been completed at the legendary FAME studio in Alabama back in 2019.
Almost a year-and-a-half later, “Have a Seat” will be released on August 20, and the previously canceled 60-date tour is kicking off this month with a stop at Rams Head in Annapolis, Maryland on July 16.
As she prepared for her first tour dates by taking some time off with her band in Saratoga, Wyoming, the word Rose used to describe the comeback was “triumphant.”
“I haven’t been physically with a lot of our fans and listeners, but there’s been a new relationship forged online with listeners,” the Potomac, Maryland native explains. “I’ve fallen in love with our music all over again. [The album’s] more relevant to me now than it was when we [first] wrote [it] because songs for me evolve in meaning.”
In her year off the stage, Rose found new ways to connect with her fans and fellow musicians she had missed. She hosted live streams every Friday where she played new music and even started a podcast, “Salute the Songbird,” with Osiris Media where she talks to other female songwriters. Rose says the project goes hand in hand with what she wanted to accomplish with the album.
“It’s this idea of not only claiming your own seat, but making others feel welcome and propping them up,” she says of the podcast, with guests including big names like Nancy Wilson from Heart and Kathy Valentine of The Go-Go’s. “This is my way of pulling out the chair for a lot of people who I want others to know more about.”
The themes of acceptance and inclusivity run strong throughout the album, something Rose explains felt reflective of her own journey in the music industry, as well as the political climate post-2016.
“I think that’s the catch-all of the title ‘Have a Seat.’ On a zoomed-out level, it’s about our society: being inclusive, accepting people’s individuality, and being encouraging and supportive. But on a micro-level for me, it’s knowing where I land on the musical landscape. What I have to offer, only I can offer. That seat is mine.”
On the opening song, “What Are We Fighting For?” Rose writes about looking past each other’s differences to better understand our humanity. She sings in the chorus that inspired the album’s title, “I know I don’t know everything/ But you’ll never know what I can bring/ To the table if you don’t have a seat with me.”
As a self-described “Maryland girl,” kicking off her tour in Annapolis feels like a homecoming for Rose — a vibe that fits right in with the overall ethos of the album.
“It’s awesome because I have so many friends coming from D.C. and Baltimore, and it just feels like a really appropriate way to kick this all off. This is about gathering together, having a seat at the proverbial table, [and] getting all the people you love to communicate, visit and share ideas — even people you don’t agree with.”
After over a year away from performing in person, Rose assures the live show will be a reflection of the “come together” mentality she preaches on the album.
“It’s very much a family vibe,” she says of the live show. “With my band, you’re going to see all the personalities onstage coming together for a really collaborative show. We’re going to bring the noise.”
Having originally written the album during a time of high tensions and political unrest, Rose says the events of 2020 gave her a new perspective on the work.
“Just dealing with the ambiguity of not knowing when we were going to put this out and share it, and [when] things just seemed to become more and more hateful and polarized — all of this music suits those feelings. And I didn’t even know [the album] would capture that when I wrote it, but I love [the songs] more because of what’s transpired since I wrote them.”
Despite the new context recent events have given the album, Rose says the end goal of her music remains as it’s always been.
“I want people to have an experience and an escape. I want them to feel heard and like they have the space to be heard.”
“Have a Seat” will be available digitally on August 20. Check out Rose’s latest single release “Are We There Yet” here. To listen to her podcast “Salute the Songbird,” listen here or follow on Instagram @salutethesongbird. To see where Rose will be touring, visit maggierosemusic.com and follow her on Instagram @iammaggierose.
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