It’s the eve of Maggie Baugh’s seventeenth birthday and she’s got one heck of a month planned. Between the ACM Awards, performing at the legendary Bluebird Café, filming her latest music video in Vegas, and of course being a junior in high school, Maggie is proving to everyone that she is literally goals. Now, before you roll your eyes, I wouldn’t risk my writing career on sounding like someone from Urban Dictionary. I am 100% serious. Maggie Baugh is most definitely the dictionary-definition of literally goals. Here’s why.
Singer, songwriter, and rockin’ fiddler, Maggie Baugh is only “almost-seventeen”, but already has a record deal and three full-length albums under her belt. How did this brown-eyed girl get where she is today? Check out one of the most intriguing and serendipitous teenagers on the music scene today.
Maggie is a musical prodigy on the fiddle, violin, ganjo, guitar, and of course voice. Her performances with artists such as Kelsea Ballerini, Charlie Daniels, and Lowcash, have all put her high on industry-radars and on a massively impressive level with country-music fans across the US. Maggie’s success has been proven.
Her new hit-album Catch Me is making the rounds with Radio Disney Country and will later encompass a national radio tour in 2018. In the meantime, conversations with the “almost-seventeen” year old include cringe-worthy middle school memories, and how Hannah Montana can sometimes feel like the most relatable show ever created.
For a girl with so many songs about heartbreak, Maggie’s downright hilarious. She gets on a roll about some of the unintended complications of attending public school as well as the struggles that come with being an up-and-coming celebrity. She chortles when looking back on some of her more awkward moments, “So, I was like, ‘Hey, I sent you the link to this song ‘How Long’ and I wrote it about you’”, to one of her secret crushes in 2013. Totally admitting the ugly truth about how the confrontation turned out, “He thinks I’m crazy” she shrugs.
Luckily, these scenarios are few and far between at Maggie’s school. This is mainly due to her Hannah Montana-ish way of organizing academics and career into separate compartments of her life. “Most kids don’t even know about the music stuff,” she admits. “Like, some will find out my name, but they don’t even know my face.”
This will change next year, when they notice that the girl with the cowgirl boots is no longer at school, and it becomes obvious that the face missing from the halls is the soon-to-be famous country singer living in Nashville. This young entrepreneur has her plan figured out, graduating as a senior in December rather than June to head out for her national radio tour to promote Catch Me. Still, Maggie has her doubts about what the kids will think or not think.“Oh, they’ll say, ‘That singer Maggie Baugh went to our school right?’, and I’ll just be like…”
Crazy as it sounds for a girl in country music, Maggie grew up in Boca Raton, FL, the southernmost city in Palm Beach County. It’s here that Maggie learned to play the classical violin at the age of six. It was only after she turned eleven years old and discovered her love for songwriting, that she began actively playing the guitar and fiddle.
Maggie is the first to point out that her writing has changed a lot since then. “I mean, I obviously still can’t write about drinking or anything.” she laughs, “But writing is really about what you know, and obviously a lot has changed.”
The idea behind ‘Catch Me’ is all about going past my comfort zone.
Maggie is known for writing all of her original music, and isn’t afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve. Presented like open books, Maggie’s albums feature highly-personal lyrics, written from her own experiences. While discussing the title single of her most recent album Catch Me, she explains the real meaning behind the song.
“The idea behind ‘Catch Me’ is all about going past my comfort zone. Even though it’s going to be hard, sometimes we have leave the person we love behind to follow our dreams. Either they’ll join us on the way out, or not at all, because we can’t look back.” It’s not hard to see that this captures who Maggie is, truly showing how her dedication and commitment will shoot her high into the music world.
So, how exactly did Maggie get a record deal at the age of sixteen? Well, it’s the definition of serendipitous, but the illustration of hard-work. “I post a cover video every Tuesday of me singing in my room,” Maggie says. “And last December, a guy shared it on his FaceBook page, then that was seen by a guy who’s now with my record label.”
Although it’d be easy to say, “and from there, it’s history”, it most definitely wasn’t. Maggie had to prove herself, and has most definitely been paying her dues. “I had to go and audition for the whole team, and I just hoped they would like me.” She then states the cold reality that terrifies most everyone in any type of business. “It’s hard because, if they don’t like you, it’s all over. It’s like ‘it was nice meeting you’ and you’re done.”
Obviously, they loved Maggie, but the challenges certainly didn’t stop there. Although the company signed her to Placer Creek Publishing in April as a songwriter, Maggie had not yet proven herself as a performance artist. As a matter of a fact, Maggie admits that Catch Me almost didn’t happen. “The backstory is that we were never planning on doing an album.” she says. “They threw me out in the deep end and wanted to see if I could swim, so they sent me out to write with anyone I could in Nashville.”
…without her fans, Catch Me as we know it wouldn’t have been a reality.
This “sink or swim” method led to Maggie’s collaborating with hit-writers like Jen Denmark, (Florida Georia Line) and Bridgette Tatum, (Jason Aldean), with whom she wrote two hits off the album, ‘Catch Me’ and ‘Don’t Know It Yet’. However, even with great music, without Maggie’s persistence, the album wouldn’t have been a reality.
“By the end of June, I had a whole catalog [for publishing],” Maggie states humbly. “Halfway through July, I had over 45 songs. By the end of the summer, I had written so many songs they finally said I could make an album.” Although this is an incredibly impressive feat, (especially at the age of sixteen!), Maggie’s label was preparing to throw her yet another curveball – funding.
Maggie says that without her fans, Catch Me as we know it wouldn’t have been a reality. “They had me do a Kickstarter with all my fans to fund the final songs on the album.” she says. “The idea behind that was testing how strong my fan base was.”
Luckily for Maggie, performing around the country put her in good hands, her fans accomplishing the impossible. “We funded over 250% of what was asked. After writing even more songs, I got an 11-song album.” She doesn’t forget to add, “And now, I’m signed to the label.”
So, what’s it like being signed to a label? Well, to Maggie, it makes all those earlier tests seem like quizzes. When discussing the award show life, Maggie divulges, “My label sends me so I can watch what the artists do during break, because they don’t show a ton of that stuff on TV.” She continues, “They’re [the artists] interacting with industry people, other artists, all that, and they [the label] are preparing me for that time when I’ll be on that floor”
At the rate of Maggie’s growing success, her time on the floor is definitely not far away. In just weeks, Maggie will have attended the ACM Awards, performed for the second time at the iconic Bluebird Café, released her latest music video for ‘Catch Me,’ and completed her final full year of high school.
The moral of this story is that I guess Maggie really isn’t literally goals; she’s a boss. She knows exactly what she wants. And despite her young age, works relentlessly to make those astronomically big dreams come true, no matter the tests that get in the way. Catch her if you can, because in Maggie’s own words, there’s no way she’s ever gonna stop.
For more must know music reviews, check out our interview with Kalie Shorr here.
Images provided by Maggie Baugh.