Maggie Rose

Maggie Rose will be performing at Chelsea's Live on Wednesday night and opening at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans on Thursday night.

Though she’s not a country singer, Maggie Rose has performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage more than 80 times — and she’ll be in Baton Rouge Wednesday night at Chelsea's Live and opening at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans for Christone "Kingfish" Ingram on Thursday night.

“We call it American rock and soul,” Rose said from her Nashville home Tuesday afternoon. “I think it’s a very dynamic show. We’re going to make you dance but connect in a big way — maybe make you cry. I want people to feel more connected, even to the people next to you. It’s soul music. We’re going to blend a lot of genres.”

Rose describes her music as an “unbridled collision of rock 'n' roll, soul, folk, funk and R&B” for her third studio album, "Have a Seat," produced by Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes and recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Rose partially credits her current sound to her 2012 personal reinvention. She changed her name from her real name, Margaret Durante, to Maggie Rose. Simultaneously, she changed her look and even her sound, but she says the change wasn’t manufactured.

“I was so young when I moved to Nashville. I was a teenager. I was releasing a single with Universal. When did I have the opportunity to access things to figure out who I was or what sound was I going to make? I didn’t have that chance,” Rose said.

So, in 2012, she took the chance to make a change and figure out who she was and who she wanted to be.

“That transformation got the ball rolling and allowed me to do it again and again and again," she said. "It ripped the Band-aid off to allow me to self-analyze and honor what I wanted my truth to be.”

A few years later in 2016, Maggie Rose 2.0 started to emerge, she said.

“It took me a minute to get that focus together,” she said. “I was completely independent and … trying to be as prolific as I could. I called that album 'Change the Whole Thing' for a number of reasons. It changed the game for me and pointed me in that direction.”

Rose grew up in a conservative Catholic community in Potomac, Maryland.

“Me and my sisters were in Catholic schooling the whole way through,” she said. “There’s so much I give my Catholic education credit for and then, there’s so much skin I had to shed.”

Explore BR

Each week we'll highlights the best eats and events in metro Baton Rouge. Sign up today.

Rose said she grew up “a people pleaser because of my Catholic upbringing — it was the antithesis of being an artist.”

Even so, she says her family’s support of her musical aspirations and her love of singing pushed her to keep going.

“I had great friends and everyone was ambitious, but it wasn’t a super artistic community,” she said. “I didn’t have a lot of people to write songs with in high school. I had always been a good singer, but the whole idea of having something to say and the escapism music offers didn’t come until I started writing my own tunes in Nashville.”

After high school, she went to Clemson to study vocal performance. One day in her sophomore year as she was walking to class, her phone rang. It was megaproducer Tommy Mottola. A family friend had passed on a recording of Rose to Mottola. He called to encourage her to pursue her musical career and start recording.

She took his advice and moved to Nashville.

Along with repeat performances at the Opry, she's done a Cayamo Cruise with Emmylou Harris and Jason Isbell, opened for Kelly Clarkson and so much more. Things have worked out just fine in Nashville for Rose, but she’s still searching for more. These days, she says she appreciates the “huge sense of belonging” she finds in Nashville and on stage at the Opry.

“Even though I’m not categorized as a country artist, there are so many genres cross-pollinating right now,” she said. “They don’t necessarily care if I have a song on country radio or ever plan to. My music resonates with that audience.”

She said the Opry is working to be inclusive “and paying attention to what’s going on. It wasn’t always that way, but their efforts are why they’ve been around for 100 years. I believe the Opry is earnestly trying to do that now.”

On the other hand, she says country radio is not making the same effort.

“Country radio has fallen far behind and that is the reason women in Nashville are making some of the most interesting music out there,” Rose said. “The futility of trying to get music on country radio has made us think, ‘OK, I’m going to do what I want to do.'”

And that's what Rose is doing. See for yourself at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Chelsea's Live or at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Saenger.