On a recent press tour in Britain, Rogers was reminded of how much more at ease she feels now. “I was being asked to do quippy promo stuff,” she said. “But that’s not who I am or what I do. The twenty-two-year-old version of me just wanted to be great at this thing. But I can’t improv with you—I can’t be the cool, funny girl.” She went on, “I wanted to have this life, and I was willing to do whatever I needed to do to support it. But then I learned that there had to be boundaries, because I’d walk away feeling like I’d betrayed myself.”

After our dinner, Rogers suggested that we visit the Emerson Chapel, a stately, wood-panelled room where she took a writing class with the author and conservationist Terry Tempest Williams. She zipped up a long parka, and we walked across Cambridge, propelled by a glacial wind. The campus was quiet. Rogers swiped us into the building. In 1838, the transcendentalist poet-philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered his Divinity School Address to a group of six graduates and their theology professors in the room. Emerson had resigned from his position as a Unitarian minister after growing frustrated by the way that Church doctrine cloistered the sacred and the profane. In his address, he suggested that God is present in everything. “He was basically, like, ‘What if the light outside was God?’ ” Rogers said. The room smelled of lemon oil. “I only feel ready for this now,” she said, of her career. “I feel O.K. in the center of it. Finally.” We hung around, admiring the stained glass and the pipe organ, until a security guard appeared in the doorway and said that it was time to leave.

Rogers made “Don’t Forget Me” at Electric Lady, a recording studio on West Eighth Street, in Greenwich Village. One afternoon, she offered to give me a tour. The studio was built in 1970 for Jimi Hendrix, who died less than a month after it opened but remains its guiding spirit; in a portrait that hangs in a stairwell, he’s wearing some kind of exquisite jacket, four or five necklaces, a thin mustache. His eyes are cast downward. The air smells permanently of palo santo. On a coffee table were bowls of fresh fruit and jelly beans, and a copy of that morning’s Times. Rogers used to live on West Fourth Street. “I studied studios,” she said. “I would walk by every day and look at my reflection in the mirrored glass and be, like, ‘I wonder if I’ll ever get to record here.’ It was a place that I saw myself literally, physically reflected in, during a moment in my life where I was still really, really, really dreaming.”

Even though “Don’t Forget Me” wouldn’t be released for another month, Rogers was already working on songs for her next album. She speaks about songwriting as a full-body process. “When I’m writing, the first thing I do is take my shoes off. My hands get hot. It’s so fucking physical,” she said. The work also seems to require a kind of spiritual stillness. “It’s like a puzzle,” she said. “If you can keep your focus on it for long enough, it appears. It’s right there—but the second your brain moves it’s gone.” She often enters a kind of hyper-focussed state. “When I’m onstage, or when I’m making something, I’m not thinking about who I am or what I’m trying to do. Time gets really sinewy. It’s spidery and slow. There’s wonder. And it’s just special, and I’m in it, and my hands are up, and I’m figuring it out. And then I come out of it, and it doesn’t even ever feel like it was mine to begin with.”

Since “Heard It in a Past Life,” Rogers has mostly eschewed dance music for a fuller, more rock-and-roll-inflected sound. “Don’t Forget Me” reminds me of the mid-seventies output of Linda Ronstadt and Carole King—burly, coltish, tender, fun. Rogers is no longer reliant on confessional first-person writing. “I was picturing a girl in her twenties on a road trip,” she said. “In my brain, this record takes place within the span of twenty-four or forty-eight hours. It felt like writing a movie, scene by scene.” One track, “Never Going Home,” is a rollicking, propulsive recounting of a night out, part Shania Twain, part Sheryl Crow: “We get to talking, but those lips aren’t your lips / We lean together, those hips aren’t your hips,” Rogers sings. She told me, “I’ve never lived that story, but I can picture a version of my life where I was going through a breakup and a friend was, like, ‘Shut the fuck up, we’re going out,’ and took me dancing and made me make out with some guy.” Inhabiting different characters enabled Rogers to be goofier, friskier, more mischievous. “So Sick of Dreaming” contains a chatty spoken interlude about getting stood up at a steak house which ends with “I mean, what a loser!” I told Rogers that there was a giddiness to her delivery on this album that I hadn’t heard before. “My friends all said, ‘This is the side of you that we see,’ ” she said.

Rogers wrote most of the record with the producer Ian Fitchuk. They met in Los Angeles in 2019, when Fitchuk was there for the Grammy Awards. (He was a co-writer and co-producer on Kacey Musgraves’s “Golden Hour,” which won both Album of the Year and Best Country Album.) Rogers was having dinner with the writer Lizzy Goodman, who, years earlier, had hired Rogers as an intern and tasked her with transcribing many of the hundreds of hours of interviews that later made up “Meet Me in the Bathroom,” Goodman’s oral history of the post-9/11 downtown rock scene. After dinner, Rogers and Goodman were going to see the Strokes. “I scared her when I said hi and introduced myself,” Fitchuk recalled. In November, 2022, Rogers sent him a D.M. “We hopped on the phone, and he said, ‘You haven’t captured your live performance on a record yet.’ And I was, like, ‘Yeah, that’s completely true,’ ” she told me. “My record brain and my performance brain are binary. They’ve always felt like separate crafts to me, in a way. The spontaneity is the through line.”

She and Fitchuk booked studio time that December. “I didn’t have any songs written, there was no mood board, no color board, no feeling of ‘I need to document this thing in my life.’ Everything, everything, was a first take,” Rogers said. “I was playing instruments. Ian was playing instruments. I knew when something felt like me and when it didn’t. It was really instinctual.” She added, “We worked from ten to five. I went to dinner with my friends after.”

“Often, a song was fully formed in less than an hour, and then it was on to the next,” Fitchuk said. “I find that it’s easier to work with artists who have strong opinions,” he added. “It makes it easier to know when you’re on the right path.”

Despite the album’s effervescence, many of its tracks describe the protracted dissolution of a romantic relationship. “So much of this record is a breakup album,” Rogers said. “In the time since I made it, I actually have gone through a breakup.” That relationship, which Rogers said lasted five years, ended peacefully. “I’ve really grappled with that for the last couple months,” she said. “What does it mean? It wasn’t a premonition.” For now, Rogers described her heartache as falling in love backward. “You’re as on fire and awake to the world,” she said. “Music sounds better. Food sucks.” She added, “I’ve never been single, really. I’m in a grief season with it. But I also feel a sense of freedom.”

I told Rogers that I’d noticed a theme in her lyrics: the possibility of loving someone without possessiveness or panic. “Oh,” she said. “That’s cool. That’s how I feel about love.” She paused. “I think, in choosing someone, I want to be chosen back. You know? So much of this record is about mutual culpability.” She continued, “The art that means the most to me has some friction. To me, living a beautiful life is so much about devotion, and devotion to art is about telling the truth. That’s not always an easy story to tell, especially when it points back to ‘I’m fucked up, too.’ ”

In late February, Rogers performed at Carnegie Hall, as part of a benefit concert for Tibet House, a nonprofit created at the behest of the Dalai Lama, to protect Tibetan culture under Chinese occupation. The composer Philip Glass, a co-founder of the U.S. iteration of the organization, had sent Rogers a handwritten letter inviting her to participate. “I think you would enjoy it,” he had said.

Rogers told me that she was thinking about dressing “like Beethoven” for the event, and pulled up a selfie in which she was wearing black suit trousers paired with a white ruffled shirt, not unlike the infamous frilly blouse featured in the “Seinfeld” episode “The Puffy Shirt.” “I love clothes,” she told me later. “I love the world-building. That’s the childlike part of me. It’s also an environmental factor that helps me switch between my different brains. Putting the uniform on.” When she performed on the “Today” show shortly after “Heard It in a Past Life” came out, she wore a vintage T-shirt with a picture of Eleanor Roosevelt on it, tucked into high-waisted silk pants. “I was so terrified of being sexualized in any way that I kind of crushed my own sexuality in an effort to protect myself,” she said. Now her look alternates between vaguely professorial and something more glamorous. She has adopted a different hair style for each record, including long, surfer-girl waves for “Heard It in a Past Life” and a dramatic pixie cut for “Surrender.” These days, she wears her hair golden and shoulder-length. “It’s not, like, a pop-star thing,” she said, of the changes. “Anyone who’s known me for ten-plus years is, like, ‘Oh, we’re doing this again?’ I had a pixie cut in the sixth grade, in the eleventh grade, and my sophomore year of college.” I brought up a line from “Alaska.” (“Cut my hair so I could rock back and forth / Without thinking of you.”) “Thank you!” she said, laughing. “I have receipts! To me, it’s about the externalization of an internal transition. It’s sort of the same way I’m not good at hiding the way I feel. I’ll tell you. Or you can just check out my haircut.”

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