QSC Aspiring Interview: Molly Burman on songwriting, sad bangers and her new EP

Up-and-coming London-based singer songwriter Molly Burman talks to Headliner about her brand new single Potential, her upcoming EP Worlds Within Worlds, and her involvement in Loud LDN - a collective that’s working towards more inclusivity within the music industry…

When did you first realise you wanted to pursue music full time, and start actually writing your own songs?

I feel like I've always wanted to do this. I think music is genuinely the only thing I’ve ever been interested in and drawn to; there's never really been another option for me. My parents are pretty musical, so I’ve always been around it. I did piano lessons up until grade two, and then kind of taught myself guitar. From a young age I was going to musical theatre Saturday classes, but with songwriting I just picked it up from the people around me. That was always something that really interested me, so I just went for it!

Who were you listening to growing up, and who do you consider to be your main musical influences?

The first time I was listening to music by myself was on a tiny little MP3 player; lots of my parent’s music like Best Of The Beatles. Adele’s 19 was also on there, and that’s still one of my favourite albums. When I was very young I’d listen to Daphne and Celeste (what a throwback!), so they’re the sort of people that influenced me a lot. My parents would listen to a lot of Fleetwood Mac, Bowie etc. so I ended up absorbing a wide range of different genres.

It's basically my life and what I've been up to, with some happy melodies to cover up some maybe quite miserable lyrics!

Your songs are quite emotionally powerful in their lyrics and their delivery. Tell us about the sound you’re looking for and the feelings you hope to convey to your listeners?

I've never been super strict with myself when producing a song in terms of exactly how I want it to sound. The main thing for me is that I want it to sound live, mainly using organic instruments to get that kind of live band feel. With the new tracks, we've been experimenting with having the live band sound but also throwing in maybe some electronic synths and stuff like that. My music is very guitar heavy, stacked full of harmonies. In terms of my process it really varies; the songs just usually come out depending on whatever emotion I'm feeling or portraying at the time.

Tell us about your general approach to songwriting.

I feel like for me, it's pretty random. I usually write all my songs in one go, usually when I have something to say or some sort of emotion to communicate. Sometimes I’ll have a lyrical idea and just sing it however it feels natural. The other day I was working at the bar and was having to clean the toilets as we were closing at 3am. I started singing a random song and the lyrics just flowed. Then I recorded, and managed to get the whole thing down there and then; an idea that started in not the most glamorous of settings!

How involved are you in the production side of your music?

This new album has the first songs that I've not produced with my dad on there. All my previous songs have been produced by him. He's a guitar teacher and has got such a talent for producing. When I was younger he would take the reins with this stuff, but as I’ve got older, now we play around together with different riffs, baselines and synth sounds.

Both your singles Beautiful People and Potential will appear on your upcoming EP, World Within Worlds. Tell us about your overall idea and vision for the project.

I kind of view it as the Mollyverse. It’s essentially just my life and a few stories and tales of what I've been up to in the past two years. They’re quite relatable songs; some very angry ones and one quite dark emotional one. It's basically my life and what I've been up to, with some happy melodies to cover up some maybe quite miserable lyrics!

How did the latest single, Potential, come together from a creative perspective?

This was one of the first songs where I actually did a proper session; it was with this guy, Tom Stafford and this girl Anna Straker. We were just playing around with different guitar chords, and although it’s very different to what I’ve done before, it just felt right and we decided to go for it. Because of the way I was feeling emotionally at the time, and what the song’s about, to me it felt like exactly how the song needed to sound. That’s how songwriting is usually driven for me.

You're part of the Loud LDN collective, an organisation that works towards inclusivity in the music industry and talks about key social issues in the LGBTQ+ community. Tell us how you first got involved with that.

It started out just as an Instagram group chat, which one of my musician mates added me to. That was over a year ago now. Sometimes the industry can be weird and daunting, and we’re made to feel like everyone else is the competition, but when we met up and the group kept on growing I realised, these are my mates and I really like them. We’ve started putting on events that are entirely women or non-binary led, and it's amazing. Mainly it's just about friendship, because sometimes the industry can feel so lonely, so it’s somewhere where we can all just relate and share experiences.

What's been your highlight of your musical journey so far, and what’s in the pipeline?

Last year I played Community Festival, which was the biggest thing I've done so far. That was an absolute dream; I think it was genuinely one of the best days of my life. It was crazy. All my friends were there and they made posters and it was so cute. Another highlight for me is when I've got a song finished, and then I listen to it and show it to someone with excitement, and they react the same way.

I've got some gigs coming up which I'm so excited for, because it’s been a while since I've done one. I've kind of got a new band setup at the moment so I’m really, really looking forward to that, and then I’m just excited about where my music is going to take me this year!

Listen to the full interview with Molly Burman on Headliner Radio, here: