When I first saw Maggie Szabo at the Hotel Café in Hollywood three years ago I knew right away that she was much more than another talented, pretty girl with a guitar. She was determined. No matter how sweetly she flashed her 1000-watt smile and how soft and emotionally she sang, always just below the surface was steel that always broke through in lyrics to songs like “Tidal Waves and Hurricanes”, “Forgive and Forget”, and “Sticks and Stones” . I thought to myself, this girl is unstoppable.
I was right. Three years, thousands of followers, many videos, performances, downloads and hit songs later Maggie is as determined as ever. I had the pleasure of seeing that determination on display again at the Hotel Café with her band – Wesley Hallon drums, drummer, Chaz Mason on keys, Aaron Aiken on guitar and Meaghan Maples on background vocals – and was blown away not only by her determination, but by her growth.
She sang a full ten-song set at the famed Hollywood venue, starting with “Gold”, released last year and then segueing into “Love is Free” and “Bieber”, new songs not yet out on Spotify or iTunes. Then she hit us with the gut-wrenching “Forgive and Forget” with its theme of betrayal and strength. Upping the ante even more she gave us an unvarnished statement of resolve in a cover of Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” before bringing the hammer down with the addictive statement that nothing can stop her, “Tidal Waves and Hurricanes”. Everyone in the packed room knew where she stood and where she is going – fast.
But the night was not all about stubbornness and drive. Maggie wisely leavened the set with her dreamy “Smile”, using her soft throaty voice that caresses with gentleness while it twists your heart. But Maggie is not one to rest for long and she certainly didn’t let us stay in the reverie of “Smile” long before kicking into Aretha Franklin’s 1967 hit “(You Make me Feel Like ) A Natural Woman” and then picked us up and carried us on her adventure with “Learning to Fly”. She wrapped up the evening with a final statement of determination, “Don’t Give Up”.
Maggie is now releasing blockbuster singles leading up to the next album, keeping her fans engaged and happy and wanting more (I do!), plus keeping a full schedule of performances, in addition to her daily workouts (she is a fanatical gym rat) and her in support of the transgender community. Maybe that’s why she is unstoppable.