If you check an #itchysilk review on Maggie Koerner’s eponymous lead single from her ep you will know the #itchysilk sentiments about the track-it’s big.
The single was captivating on so many levels not least because Maggie’s powerful vocal display was a marvel to hear. Born in Louisiana, it was in part her formative years growing up in a ‘small town’ that resigned her to the fact that while she had big dreams they were (she thought) never going to come to fruition.
The catalyst came in the shape of a now famous actor who re-ignited the dream in Maggie (then a Psychology graduate) to unleash her emotively powerful vocal talent on the world. In truth, there is something of the Janis Joplin about Koerner whose ability to literally tear into songs is aural ecstasy brimming with controlled power. While she admits to a life where drink became to a large degree a ‘problem’ the 29-year old had/has no wishes of joining Janis Joplin and others in that group of legendary talents who were never able to reach their 30 birthdays or indeed in some respects reach the full potential that their obvious talents seemed destined for.
While Maggie is no stranger to the whole music business having already put out two albums and performed for several years with bands like Galactic her current project has all the credentials to take her name on a more global stage. With production on the project coming in the shape of UK Fin Greenhall an already globally well-established name who has worked with names like John Legend, Maggie has set the foundation tantalisingly right.
We got to speak to Maggie about defeating personal demons and of course her brilliant new music.
‘I AM FROM A SMALL TOWN IN LOUISIANNA YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE BIG DREAMS’
I have always sung at church school and when I was at college where I got a Bachelors in Psychology. I went out with this actor who always felt that I should be a singer and he inspired me really. I did not think at the time that growing up in my small Southern conservative town in Louisiana that my dreams could happen. It takes big balls to dream up ideas as big as that. You don’t go I want to sing and go around the fucking world it’s not like that. I just did not think that things like I was imaging could happen in my ‘normal’ life. Once I realised that I could do ‘it’ I moved to New Orleans started writing and ended up performing with bands like Galactic.
‘EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON’
Things always happen for a reason I think. I have two solos albums that I put out before-the Neutral Ground (2013) album I recorded live and created it in 48 hours. I could not believe I recorded an album in such a short time but if I had not recorded that then one of the songs I recorded a video for, Cayute Woman would never have been seen by Fin and so everything happens for a reason. I have a lot of awareness of the small things that happen to make things happen. I see things happening and going in a right direction.
ACKNOWLEDGING DEMONS, CREATING A ‘NEW’ SELF
It was weird-my gig ended with this other band and everything just aligned so to speak and this big explosion like occurred right before I was due to go and meet Fin. I was due to meet him in Berlin but I had this big night out and I realised I needed to get sober before meeting him. Two weeks later I flew to Berlin having decided I needed to stay sober. So, I was there like a shell of myself in a way because I did not even know who I was because I was drunk for the past three or four years. I remember asking my manager when I was going through that period what I should do and he said ‘just write, just write’ so that is what I did. I think anyone who gets sober from alcohol is a shell of themselves but as the days go by you become more confident in who you are and what you are. Like as the days went by I realised I forget to acknowledge that I was put on this earth to sing that is my calling. I realised if I continued this path I would leave this earth without achieving that.
Meeting Fin was beautiful and we just got to work. It was strange as well because I was in this quite vulnerable place at the time you know and he is like this proper British guy but it was helpful because there were no airs or graces he just said things as they were.
It was an important period where I was also able to soul search and find out that alcohol is my poison (or medicine) and I know what to avoid. I’m happy now, I have a great band who are funny and when I am not with my band, I am a home body, I like to decorate my house, chill at home with my friends, watch South Park, smoke a little weed-my life is not that stressful and I love my life.
WORKING WITH FIN, CREATING DIG DOWN DEEP AND WRITING 40 SONGS
I was making connections with Fin over two years recording the songs for the ep it was like a patch work quilt as we created bits and pieces here and there but that is what happens when you work with people in different time zones.
He is such an amazing producer though. He would take songs that I had ideas for and just make them exactly how I wanted them to be. He also came to New Orleans as well and we recorded here. Those two years were basically spent creating my project with Fin but then I also write like a shit load of sounds like 40 for other people from LA, to New York to New Orleans I just wanted to write.
I have always loved that track but if we had gone for the track in its original form we would have had like a love ballad but instead over time Fin kept manipulating it and sending it back and he was saying in fact that he felt that the track should just be started again from scratch. I felt it was fine and I did not want to change it but things happen for a reason. Fin was very restrictive in the way I used the power of my voice on the song. He did not want me to give it my all on every song he wanted a time where I held back some and then unleashed my power at pivotal moments.
There are two versions one is a demo and then over the year we developed it into the track on the video and so instead of the psychedelic sound which you hear on the SoundCloud, I was really tearing into the vocal, screaming it out because I think that is pivotal in a live performance.
CREATING VALID MUSIC
I have been having a difficult time getting a booking agent in the US I think it’s because I don’t have the stats they are looking for-like they want to have you almost already accomplished when you come to them. I am cool with that though because most of my heroes did not make it until they were in their thirties- I am cool with doing the real road work, living in a car living with four dudes I get it and when I look at it it’s worth it-singing and performing is what I have been born to do.
In this day, I think we need to write music that is valid and devoid of bullshit and created in a lab. I really don’t give a shit if my music is played on popular radio station-I just want to perform and play my music to as many people as possible because it gives joy-I want to make people ‘feel’ in this convoluted world.
DIG DOWN DEEP EP RELEASED ON THE 09 12 16