JBL Emerging Interview: Molly Moore on being an authentic artist

New York-born, L.A-based artist Molly Moore’s music speaks to a 5G generation: her straight-talking lyrics, soulful timbre and psychedelically spun style transcend eras. Sprouting raw thoughts through real anthems on her journey of self-discovery, Moore has embraced the changes in her life and is channelling her authentic experiences into her music. In this Emerging Headliner interview powered by JBL, the singer-songwriter reveals why she’s going back to her alternative roots, and why she fell back in love with music.

You're originally from New York. What were you doing music-wise there before coming to Los Angeles?

I've been here for 10 years now, and before this I was just learning how to make music. I was making demos, putting them online, playing my first few shows in the city, doing my first co-writes and meeting tons of musicians in the artist community. 

That was really special because a lot of those people moved out to L.A and I've stayed in touch with them – they became long term friends, which is pretty cool. One of my l consistent collaborators, Larzz Principato, I met when I was 17 years old, so we go back around 12 years. He co-writes a lot of my music with me, so that was laying the groundwork for what my career would be.

What were some of your early musical influences?

A lot of different stuff. My dad really loved the Beatles, so I was exposed to a lot of the Beatles and The Stones growing up, and I really loved them. I still do. I love Alanis Morissette. I loved Britney Spears, NSYNC and Third Eye Blind, because my sister showed me a lot of alternatives and pop punk music like Fall Out Boy, Good Charlotte and Radiohead. So many different musicians: Coldplay, John Mayer, Lily Allen, Ingrid Michaelson, those are some of my biggest influences.

I’m kind of getting back to my roots by making more alternative rock music.

Is there a seminal point where you remember an artist really speaking directly to you?

Don't Speak by No Doubt was one of the first songs that really resonated with me, even though I hadn't been in a serious relationship yet, but I’d had experiences where I felt heartbroken over situations that hadn't worked out. I felt like I was talking to someone that had been through something I'd been through.

If you could choose an artist to support on tour, who would you pick?

Ooh, that's such a good question. There is an amazing artist that I've met from being in the L.A community, her name is Royal & the Serpent – she's really, really awesome. It would be sick to support her on tour. 

Also, No Doubt was a massive, massive influence on me as well. I really love horns mixed with live instruments and the kind of rock-ska hybrid they're providing. Their performances are just unparalleled.

I feel so lucky that I'm able to express myself for a living and do what I love.

I understand that you've been writing some new material; how does that differ from what you've been writing over the last couple of years?

I’m kind of getting back to my roots by making more alternative rock music, kind of like the old Weezer vibe, and it's been really refreshing. I feel like I'm falling back in love with music and getting back to what made me love it and want to make music and be an artist to begin with. I'm not really quite sure why it took me so long to get back to that. 

I think just by being in L.A, naturally, I wanted to explore a lot of different styles of music. I was writing for other artists as well for a long time, and I still do, so it's become a part of my journey. I put out the first song, Jameson, about a month ago, and the reaction has been really, really amazing. People seem to really resonate with that song. So I'm excited to continue releasing,

With the way that the landscape has changed as far as releasing music has come, what do you find is the most effective way to release your music to reach new fans?

It's really important to get people excited about something before it comes out, and then to continue to promote it after the fact. For a long time, social media was utilised in a much different way than it currently is being utilised, and there's a lot of power in reaching new fans through these platforms. 

It’s about finding interesting, engaging ways to share who you are with people without feeling like you're marketing to them.

Why is it so important to you to be genuine in your music and on social media?

It needs to be genuine – there's no room for anything else. I think people just want to connect to something real – myself included. I always think, “What makes me engage with something? What makes me like a song out of all the millions of songs that I hear on a monthly or yearly basis?” 

There's so much music, and I try to think about that and operate from a place of thinking about what I like as a consumer too.

It needs to be genuine – there's no room for anything else.

Are you gravitating towards music that helps you through things you’re working through?

Yeah, definitely. I gravitate towards music that I relate to, or if I don't directly relate to it, I want to relate to it. It's an emotion that I want to embody and feel and that's also really powerful. I think both are very different ways of connecting with music. 

One of them is more focused on the past and something that you've been through, and then the other evokes an emotion that you want to feel in the future, and those are two very different dynamics. 

I think it's really interesting to think about why people connect with the music that they connect with – is it coming from a place of helping them heal if there's something that they've already been through? Or is it making them feel something that they want to move towards?

How do you bring your experiences into your songs? How much of you is in the lyrics?

It's all just personal experiences. I write a lot of music, but the music that I end up putting out is rooted in something that I feel really deeply. It’s something that I am either going through, went through, or am trying to navigate through. It's a very personal process that I can't imagine separating myself from.

What is your songwriting process?

I do a lot of collaborating, so, the process does change and vary from room to room. But generally, I like to find a melody that I resonate with, and often I have a feeling or a song title that I feel I need to get out of me. I try not to force it in any one direction. Like if there's a title that I want to write and it's just not happening, I try to let go of that and just see what else is there. 

There are times when I'm freestyling melodies and there's lyrics within those melodies that I think, “Where did this come from? Is this exactly how I'm feeling right now?” Then there's other times where there's no words that come out with the melody that I'm writing and I sit there and think about what I want to say and how I can make that fit.

It's so much fun. It's so cool that I get to do this. I've always loved it so much my whole life and I never, never lose sight of that. Even in sessions where I feel like, “Man, this song sucks; why can't I can't write today?” 

I still feel so fucking lucky that I'm able to express myself for a living and do what I love and try to help other people feel like they can express parts of themselves through my own creativity. That's really special.

What have you got planned release-wise for this year?

I'm working on a body of work that will probably come out at the beginning of next year. I have another song coming out in September as well. I really hope to get on the road and do some more touring too. 

There's nothing like being able to share yourself with people in person and see the reaction that your music solicits from people – being together in that moment is very raw. I feel like I'm able to be my full self and also hopefully inspire other people to feel like they can be their full selves.

Interview by Will Hawkins