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Maggie Rogers floored Pharrell with the demo for "Alaska", now she's ready to take on the world

20 October 2016, 09:15 | Written by Dan Carson

One of the most bootlegged songs of the year so far, Maggie Rogers' "Alaska" is a song with simple origins. A keen environmentalist, the basis of "Alaska" was formed on a hiking trip Rogers took to America's most northwestern state during her freshman year - a sparse, often unforgiving landscape, and a veritable universe away from the computer screens and smartphone displays of the millions of new fans the song would eventually reach.

I'd always hope a track such as "Alaska" - with its undulating electronic quirks betrothed to organic beats and Rogers' hearty lyrics - would find its way into the mainstream consciousness of its own accord, but having signed up for Pharrell Williams' songwriting masterclass at her school, NYU's Clive Davis Institute, she soon struck upon a moment of pure viral potential.

A thirty-minute clip of the event, hosted in a small recording studio and featuring Williams' critiques of students' demos, sprung up online, and the rest, including Williams' awestruck, instantly meme-ified reaction felt like fate. Dozens of ripped versions of "Alaska" immediately began appearing on YouTube and the eventual final master has now clocked up just shy of 17,000,000 Spotify plays. Its video, directed by Zia Anger and debuting today, has a lovely circularity: Rogers revisiting the place were it all began to celebrate and dance.

"I want to make music forever. I want to tell the truth. I want to know how it feels to make the best art I’m capable of making," explains Rogers in a handwritten note on her Instagram. "I can’t promise I won’t change or that I won’t fall in love with new people or ideas that’ll change the way I see the world, but I can promise to be me."

There's no-one else coming through in the pop game quite like Maggie Rogers.

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