In the weeks leading up to her self-titled EP release (April 13th, 2018), singer-songwriter Molly Kruse has been “super super busy.” However, the California native is channelling those butterflies into creative rocket fuel.
Enthusiastic and humble, her bell-like laugh rings across the phone line. “I had just gotten out of relationship… I wanted to focus on my music and my writing, and all these songs came pouring out of me.” Molly, a classically trained vocalist, writes her songs vocal-line first, before building other musical instruments on top.
When she first started working with film orchestrator Randy Kerber in 2014, she could not even play an instrument. “[Randy is] this incredibly famous musician, so there was a huge element of intimidation for me. […] It was pretty crazy because these full songs would just spill out of me without the help of an instrument, and I’d come in with the tracks and Randy would be blown away at me not having used a guitar or piano to flesh them out. We just became two goofy kids in the studio making really cool music together.” Molly learnt to play the acoustic guitar along the way, and met many important music figures in Los Angeles.
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“The first break that happened was when I was hanging out with my friend Nina, who was the assistant to Glen Ballard (producer of Alanis Morisette, Aerosmith, Katy Perry, and 6-time Grammy Award winner)… I really wanted some piano on this track. She asked ‘how would you like to work with one of the best players in the world? I’ll pass your stuff on to him!’ And that was how I met Randy….Then he and I started writing together, which led to meeting Glen, and eventually my producer Brandon. I never did any networking events. Just truly loving myself, as corny as that sounds.”
Glen Ballard became a mentor and early champion of Molly’s music, teaching her the ropes of the music business. Her EP producer, Brandon Owens, is the former bassist and musical director for Lauryn Hill and producer for Kendrick Lamar, Fergie, and Lana Del Rey. Her EP, a soulful roots-y singer-songwriter project taught Molly a lot of new lessons. “The biggest lesson I learnt was to trust my gut feeling.” At one point, the producer suggested several changes to the arrangement of a song that didn’t match her own vision. “I should have spoken up. I should have trusted that voice inside.” Due to not asserting herself, she to pay to re-record the song. However, Molly takes it all in stride “How else are you going to learn? It taught me to speak up more. My best advice is to always listen to the little voice inside your head.”
One of the most exciting parts of her EP release is the printing of vinyl copies. “My producer and I were talking about it, he recommended it and I completely agreed. I have that gut feeling with my fanbase. People just love vinyl – if you have great album cover art, it’s something you can collect! I knew my fanbase would like it.”
For such an honest and open artist, it’s hard to imagine Molly Kruse as anything but a creator by calling. However, that was not always the case. In 2012, she packed up her things and moved to Hollywood, California, with the dreams of being an actress.
“[Acting auditions are] more competitive and more cut-throat, especially because it is LA and that’s just the way the movie industry is. I found the music industry for me to be a lot friendlier and a lot more open, a lot more loving and wonderful – which is great! It’s just so hard to put yourself out there too, and to feel that constant rejection. (“I got told ‘you’re too tall’ a lot). The hardest thing for me was that I didn’t have any creative control over my work… You’re just waiting for the phone to ring for jobs (she did land a few commercial gigs and minor TV roles)… I just like to create, for me to make songs and create what I wanted and play when I wanted – as a musician, you can be whoever you want.”
Molly’s best advice for a young creative looking to buy a one-way ticket to LA? “Come as soon as possible. The younger you are, the better off you are. It becomes a lot harder, if you’re not living with your parents and working a part-time job. If you want to be a songwriter, gain a lot of life experiences… You should have a car. You can take the bus, but that’s a beast, trying to do that in LA. It depends on where you are – LA is such a big urban sprawl and there are so many cool pockets to explore. It’s just a matter of finding what pocket you are attracted to and making your life there. For me, I really love the East Side…”
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Molly Kruse is fully trilingual, fluent in English, French, and Spanish. Among her dreams of adventures in a full-length album, a European tour, and driving her car down to the bottom tip of South American, and all the way back around. Please join me in wishing this happy, colourful creative good wishes on her new EP.