ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Molly Grue

No, not Mötley Crüe. The act Molly Grue actually got their name from a character in 1968’s The Last Unicorn written by Peter S. Beagle. Check out our interview below to hear how the act came to be and how it has evolved over the years.

How long have you been doing music?

I’ve been recording on and off since the mid 90s, up until around 2008. I then switched focus entirely to visual arts, after having moved across the country. It was only in the last few years that I’ve come back to recording; mostly just to release any songs that I had abandoned as a form of closure.

What band/concert experience made you want to become a musician?

Honestly- none. I was very limited with what I was allowed to see and hear before I began writing music. I was raised in a very religious home so there was only sporadic exposure to anything that wasn’t christian music- hence my first album being for the christian music market (I eventually left that lifestyle in my 20s). I had only ever found my way into music because when I was around 14, I had overheard my dad strumming a chord pattern on the guitar, so I just wrote a song in about 5 minutes for him. He was impressed with it and encouraged me to continue writing and I ended up recording my first album at around 16.

How has your music evolved since you first started playing?

Well, the switch from christian to “non-christian” music was probably my biggest evolution, but style-wise I still have all the same habits. I still tend to jump around genre-wise depending on my mood or content of the lyrics, which is why, when I started recording music again, I decided to divide myself into 3 projects instead of putting it all together like a mixed tape. I figured that might make it easier for people to know what to expect.

What is your favorite thing about touring?

I like that it’s a nomadic, untethered kind of experience and that it challenges me to get out of my rut of being reclusive.

What is your least favorite thing about touring?

The fact that bathrooms don’t just magically appear on the side of the road when you need them.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?

I liked the one where I decided to perform karaoke style, with store mannequins as my band, because I couldn’t for the life of me find live session players for a show I had booked.

What is the weirdest thing to happen while you were on stage?

I was actually talking about this with an old band mate recently, trying to figure out if my memory was playing tricks on me or something–but it was years ago… and a guy got up on stage naked while we were performing. You’d think it would be burned into my mind but it was behind my back while I was singing… it was quick.. so I didn’t really get the *full* experience.

When playing live, do you stick closely to the recorded material or do you  switch anything up?

I stick pretty closely to my material. I do sometimes flub my lyrics but it’s more because I tend to be pretty wordy when I write and if the band speeds up at all during a performance I kind of start to trip over words, or just verbally fall down the stairs altogether.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a singer-songwriter?

Where I often write about such personal things, it can be, well, very exposing. I mean, I do think that honesty and vulnerability are an important factor when you are hoping to engage with listeners on a deeper level, but sometimes you feel like you’re essentially prostituting your pain. Like, you have to “market” and “sell” things that are based on intimate or private emotions. I’m not sure how to resolve it inside myself- just the business of it all. I think that’s a personal challenge I’m dealing with the most right now. I may have to learn to become a better storyteller perhaps… include more fiction, maybe.

What do you like to do during your “time off”?

I’m pretty much actively creating all the time. If I’m not doing music I’m creating sculptures or painting. I won’t be able to officially take time off until I am making enough income from either art or music to be able to afford to relax. Right now, if I’m not working all the time I feel anxious.

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