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Maggie Rogers’s Coachella Set Doubled as a Grad-School Project

Rogers performing at Coachella — er, presenting her graduate work. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

If a musician is lucky enough to get booked at Coachella, the most prominent music festival in the U.S., it’s bound to be one (well, two) of the more important sets of their career. Maggie Rogers took the pressure even further when she played Coachella in April with the performance counting as a project for her master’s degree. Fans know the singer-songwriter has been studying at Harvard Divinity School, and she recently spoke to the school’s press department about her time there. Coachella fulfilled the required public presentation for her master’s in religion and public life, a new program that graduated its first cohort of students this year. “At the end of the day — creativity and spirituality — it’s about the process. Every layer, all of it, at the end of the day, is about intention,” Rogers said of the performance. After Coachella earned her a passing grade, Rogers celebrated her graduation with a performance of “Over the Rainbow” at Harvard Divinity School’s annual Multireligious Commencement Service. That’s Maggie Rogers, M.R.P.L. to you.

Rogers previously tweeted a picture of her finished master’s thesis, titled “Surrender: Cultural Consciousness, the Spirituality of Public Gatherings, & the Ethics of Power in Pop Culture.” “I was thinking about this world in which people are moving further and further away from traditional religion, but yet are seeking to be connected to both something bigger than oneself and to each other,” she told Harvard of her studies (which included courses on abstract art, Buddhism, and “modern psychedelic spiritualities”). Her thesis shares a title with her sophomore album, Surrender, out July 29, which she said she sees as the next step in her education. “I feel like I’ve just barely started to scratch the surface of what I’ve been studying here,” Rogers said. Next up, Ph.D.?

Maggie Rogers’s Coachella Set Was a Grad-School Project