A fresh face with even fresher sound, Molly Marlette (MM) is commanding the attention of the saccharine synth-pop world. The dreamy, mischievous energy of the video for her brand new single “Do Me a Favor” is perfectly suited for its iconic LA shooting location— testifying that Molly and her artistic vision are exactly where they’re meant to be. We chatted about Molly’s visual approach to music making, early 2000’s pop nostalgia, and her effusive appreciation for Marilyn Monroe.
What are three things that you can’t live without in LA?
MM – Well, right now, air conditioning. Also, coffee and my dog.
What does your writing process look like and how do you translate ideas into produced material?
MM – I usually write the lyrics first. Sometimes I’ll write a short story and then turn it into lyrics. It’s very rare that I’ll just go to a session with no ideas. I have, and that can be really fun too, but I generally like to be over prepared.
How do you keep your thoughts and ideas organized?
MM – I have this crazy messy book. It’s filled with writings, magazine clippings, pictures and drawings. I always bring that with me. Especially when I’m working with someone new, because then they can look at it and be like, “Ok, this is what we’re dealing with.”
So, this book is kind of like your own mood board for music?
MM – Yeah, I love it.
How do you think you’ve grown as an artist between the release of your first album, The Robber and the Boy, and now with the recent debut of your single, “Do Me A Favor”?
MM – I had a lot of fun making The Robber and the Boy. I made it in Nashville with this awesome producer, Jamie Kenney. In the meantime, I’ve been really drawn more to pop music. I guess I have kept moving in that direction.
What do you think influenced your draw to pop?
MM – Well, I grew up listening to Judy Garland and Gershwin. So that doesn’t really make sense… Remember those things they used to give you in McDonald’s happy meals? Those little sound boxes? They played NSYNC and Britney Spears. I still remember being so stoked when I got the one that played “Stronger” by Britney Spears. So I’ve always loved pop music but my dad was always a little bit of a music snob. He was always like, “Let’s listen to this weird, obscure thing.” And I would be like, “But I like Britney Spears! Sorry, dad!” I just had a lot of fun when I would find pop songs, because it was so foreign. That kind of music was never playing in my house. It was always crazy records from the 60s, and I love that, but I just think pop is so fun.
Do you think that’s what art is— being drawn to what you don’t know or haven’t experienced?
MM – I think so. I think people will make music that’s really experimental, and it will be something like an eleven-minute song, and that’s their way of rebelling against social norms. But for me, it was the opposite in my upbringing, because the social norms were very weird already. So it makes sense that I would be like, “I’m going to make a pop song. Deal with it.”
If you could ask anyone for advice, past or present, which person would it be and what would you ask them about?
MM – Marilyn Monroe. I would ask for her advice on performing, and dealing with all the ups and downs of the industry. Because I know that affected her a lot. I would just be curious as to her thoughts on that, because she was like the pop star of the 1950s.
How do fashion and music intersect within your creativity as an artist?
MM – I love fashion. Because I was into all the old music growing up, watching MGM musicals and stuff, if I heard a song it was also an image of something fabulous. Now whenever I write songs, I’m also making a treatment for the music video in my head at the same time. I just can’t do it without visuals. Fashion is obviously a part of that. It’s part of creating the character. I think that ends up keeping you sane. When you go on stage as a character, you can separate. I think it makes everyday life easier in between performances.
What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
MM – I’m working on a bunch of new music. I don’t know when I’ll make it a full-length album… I will eventually. I may release another single with a video. I’m not sure. We’ll have to see. I’ll be playing some shows in the fall, so keep a look out.