Maggie Rose '06 (Margaret Durante)

Recording Artist, Songwriter
Co-owner and Operating Manager of Maggalicious Entertainment and Emrose Touring; Owner/Operating Manager of Dreams2Dollars Publishing and Not A Hobby Publishing

Maggie Rose

Tell us a little about your career journey?

Here is my best "Cliff Notes" approach (although “Cliff Notes" would NOT cut it at Visitation, of course). This upcoming January I'll hit my 10-year anniversary of living in Nashville, and in my time here I feel as if I've earned my master’s and doctorate in what could be described as the most fickle industry in the world: the music industry!

Making the very unconventional decision to leave college before graduating was difficult. However, I was blessed with a supportive family and knowing early on in life that I would have a career in music and entertainment, and those who knew me well empowered me to follow my convictions.

I was learning about my new surroundings in a "baptism-by-fire" method. In the years that followed, I tried to navigate the choppy waters of country radio politics, which were largely not favorable to female artists at the time. Despite that, I enjoyed success with my first album, “Cut To Impress.” In 2015, my career as a writer blossomed and I began writing not only for myself but for other artists from all genres—the catalyst for the most creative time of my career so far. I released “The Variety Show: Vol. 1” independently in April 2016, two months before marrying my husband, Austin Marshall.

Finally, I recently released my new EP, “Dreams > Dollars,” this past May and have been completely overwhelmed by the organic support it has received! Those hypothetical degrees I mentioned earlier were hard-earned, but I can say I have never felt more in command of my career than I do now.

What does your job entail?

My job is to create! On any given day I need to be writing new music or recording in the studio. I must continuously generate content with my team that is on-point with my brand for online and television platforms. Keeping my band rehearsed and up-to-date is a continuous effort that we all have to maintain. I think of my work as something that is never finished, which really is the nature of art. It takes a great deal of discipline to stay this focused, a trait I practiced all through my Catholic-school education and especially at Visitation.

What do you enjoy most about this work?

It is my dream job! I love how communicative this work is. I am able to travel all over and meet people from every walk of life who simply want to connect through music. I feel a little scared at some point literally every day, but that fear is completely outweighed by the curiosity I have about how far I can take this. I believe it can be as big as I make it, which is why I don't wait around for people to tell me when or how to make it happen.

What are some of your non-work activities?

I really enjoy cooking now more than ever because I associate it with being in the comfort of my own home, where I don't always get to be because of my touring schedule. I enjoy gardening and entertaining for the same reason. I still play tennis and have Visitation to thank for my serve, which has held up pretty well over the years. My husband and I love golfing together and, yes, we go to a LOT of concerts. I am obsessed with politics and dependent on FaceTime to stay connected with my family, too.

What skills did you build at Visi that continue to help you today?

Excellent writing, logic, and faith in God and in myself. I am a prolific writer. My writing skills are put to the test daily in writing sessions which I will describe: A writing appointment is three hours of the most awkward dating session you can imagine. There’s a lot you can tell about someone in three hours: Are you confident enough to throw your ideas out there? Are you comfortable enough with yourself to be vulnerable? Is your idea any good? Are the lyrics any good? That is why I lose sleep before a big writing session. Because all of these things come into play, and you’d better be good at them.

What’s your favorite thing about Visi?

As odd as this may sound, I love how challenging Visitation is. It is challenging in the academic sense, of course, but also in the expectation that every student should contribute to the Visi community in some unique way. I think it forces all of us who are lucky enough to enroll there to ask ourselves how we can surpass the already high bar set for us, and do so in a meaningful way. I think back on every activity-packed Gold-White Week, when we celebrated our school pride and traditions enthusiastically while still meeting our academic demands. Those weeks encompass what it meant to me to be a Visi girl. I was being primed for handling the aggressive schedule that I have now.

The most lasting impression Visitation made on me came from its faculty, staff, and leaders. For example, Mr. Kerns was, and still is, so incredibly devoted to the school and students. One morning after first bell, a group of us remained in the parking lot. I was in a singing contest on the radio station Hot 99.5 and my fellow students were waiting to see if I would move on to the next round. The results weren’t given until well into first period and while I was excited about the good news, I worried that Mr. Kerns would reprimand me for inadvertently causing so many of us to be tardy. Instead, he helped me campaign for the next day’s vote. Sr. Mary Berchmans wrote me a congratulatory note when I won the contest. I felt like everyone celebrated with me.

What impact has the all-girls educational environment had on your life?

Visitation taught me how important it is to support my peers, especially other women. Although we are all inherently competitive as Visi students, even in our efforts to do our best we are nurturing of one another. My respect for women was galvanized while I was at Visitation. I admired my peers; I didn't envy them. It was always "cool" to work really hard and I loved being around other young women who embraced that. I feel like the community of female artists that I am part of now adopts a similar way of thinking.

How did Visitation prepare you for your career?

I came to Visi from a smaller school with the best grades and all the co-curricular activities I could manage and then WHAM! I was suddenly in a class of 133 of the best and brightest from all over the area, and I could barely stay awake after a full day of classes and tennis practice—let alone tackle hours of homework comfortably. When I first got to Visi, I told my mom I felt mediocre among so many outstanding classmates...but I soon realized every student was special with something very unique to offer, including me. I eventually hit my stride, but only after humbling myself and redefining what it meant to be excellent.

When I moved to Nashville, I was in a comparable situation but on a bigger scale. I was a transplant in a city full of the best musicians, vocalists, songwriters, and entertainers. From experience, I let these realities motivate me and I used them as studying tools, not deterrents.

Maggie attended Clemson University for three semesters as a Vocal Performance major before moving to Nashville at age 19. She is a recording artist at Starstruck Entertainment, home to Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson, and has produced her own albums, as well as projects by The Morrison Brothers Band. Learn more about Maggie on her website or follow her on social media @IAmMaggieRose.

(Photo: Larry McCormack, The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports)