Artist Feature: Magic Molly

Molly, Molly, Molly. We didn’t even know the liveliness that was missing until she walked in the door. A breath of fresh air and a smile that just won’t quit. We invited Molly into the studio for a shoot and danced to Nina Simone and Missy Elliot.
Molly and her husband Scott own Creston Brewery on Grand Rapids’ North Side… they also play music together and inspire us to create, to hustle, and continue to provide and care for our community. We asked her a chock of questions and are so inspired by what she shared with us. We also snapped pictures incessantly as she whirled around…aren’t you lucky?

Find more of her magic + music on Instagram @good_molly

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Questions for Molly:

Where are you from // how did you get here?
I was born in east town (Grand Rapids). I also moved to East LA with my mom for a few very formative years in there and learned Spanish. But mostly I’ve been in Grand Rapids.

When did you write your first song?
As a child I was always making up songs so I would guess as early as I could speak. I wish I knew when that was! It’s funny- so many of my songs are written in different places and I have a bunch of voicemails of songs that haven’t fully been written, just started.

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What’s a day in the life look like?
Creative whimsy meets entrepreneurial chaos. I’m an independent artist, I manage myself, I’m also a co-owner of Creston Brewery, so every day is a little different. 

I’m very passionate about encouraging people to be informed and to fight for justice, while still knowing that we have to find joy and peace in ourselves before we can really make a difference in the world.
 
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What makes you feel best about yourself?
Being locked in the present while being creative. I feel the best when I’m able to get in the mode of uninterrupted ‘flow’ where ideas are coming and I’m trying them out as they come. That can happen at home when I’m alone, or in the studio or performing for others, but ultimately it’s when my sense of time goes away and I am living fully in the moment that I feel at my best.

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Tell us about your journey with music…
I’ve always loved music. Singing and dancing and performing and creating is my absolute favorite thing to do. I’ve been in several projects and made a lot of original music. A breakthrough moment was singing for the jazz band my senior year of high school. I sang Aretha Franklin’s “Respect“ which was scary at first but after I did it once, something changed in me and I found my confidence. I come from a very musical family but I feel like I’ve had sort of a solo path to get where I am. Learning that my musical gifts go far beyond what I even expected of myself and being amazed that we never stop growing continues to fire me up.

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What + who inspires you to create?
The world at large definitely inspires me…but more specifically, reflecting on my own experiences and those of others provide infinite viewpoints to draw from. I’m very passionate about encouraging people to be informed and to fight for justice, while still knowing that we have to find joy and peace in ourselves before we can really make a difference in the world. My husband Scott is seriously very inspiring as well: He is always rooting for me and telling me how much the world needs to hear my songs.

 

What music gets you out of a funk?
It really depends on the type of funk I’m in. I love irreverent, revolutionary music like Fela Kuti or Nina Simone. Anything soulful and has a drive to it. On the flip-side, I also love any of the Nocturnes by Chopin.

What is the biggest challenge that you face?
A lack of solidarity.

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What has gotten easier with age/time? and more difficult?
Taking time to slow down & reflect. And more difficult? Witnessing and experiencing the affects of white supremacy and misogyny in my life and the world.

Where is your happy place?
In my husbands arms (anywhere) and on stage performing with the captive audience.

Tell us about your personal style and what it says about you.
My style is sometimes super colorful or very muted, always funky, eclectic, practical, feminine, thrifty, and afrocentric. I have a nostalgia for many (eras) in fashion and I’m bound to mix it all up in one outfit. I’m all about the way things fit: so if it fits well, I can accessorize in any direction.

 

Think Global Act Local is a big part of the news right now…how do you feel about it? What ways are your bringing a sustainable mindset + choices into your life?
I think it’s absolutely devastating that we are facing such a world-wide ecological disaster. However, it does not surprise me at all. For me, the mindset that we are all interconnected helps me too act with more empathy in my daily choices. That means, trying to buy as much food as I can at the Fulton Street market, recycling, composting, eating less meat, not driving unless I absolutely need to. It also means staying politically engaged and voting for policies that actually support environmental protection and the factors that led us there in the first place. I think it’s extremely important that we all take time to look at the intersectionality of an issues like food & water justice and processed food (like meat) in certain communities. An example on a local level would be Flint Michigan water crisis. This beautiful state has a spectacular mass of water and yet, with no irony, poor African-American communities are piped contaminated water. This is just a one local example of how “one thing leads to another” and we cannot ignore our interconnected us any longer. No matter where you live, it’s very difficult for folks experiencing systemic racism, living in poverty, experiencing other socio-economic troubles to focus on environmental problems. In other words, we need to eradicate systemic racism and the abuse of women, if we want to save the planet.

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