The talented Molly Burch was one of last year’s breakout artists. I discovered her debut album Please Be Mine, like a lot of things, by complete accident, and this time round in a search for strangely something reverb-soaked in sound. (Reverb among other things can give a record a retro feel, space and or even depth.)
Interestingly, from Please Be Mine comes one of my favourite songs of last year and coincidently it’s the album’s self-titled track Please Be Mine, which never fails to send a shudder down my spine and is reminiscent of my teenage years of longing for someone I cared deeply about. I admittedly also feel lost in nostalgia listening to it, especially with the retro sounds of Dailey Toliver’s folksy/bluesy guitar. Along with the delicate and atmospheric reverb effect of Burch’s jazz trained voice, Please Be Mine as an entire engrossing experience was played on heavy rotation on my stereo all last year.
For those who are unfamiliar with Molly Burch, she once studied jazz vocals at college in North Carolina before moving to Austin, Texas. It was while in Austin that Burch first truly began to write. Songwriting would progress to playing the ukulele and eventually the guitar. Before long Burch’s career aspirations really took off, where she surrounded herself with some close friends and collaborators. The pivotal moment for the Austin newcomer came when Burch emailed a demo of what would become Please Be Mine to Captured Tracks. The budding record label loved it and immediately signed the distinctively breathy songstress. With success in the wind, Molly’s debut album began to do the rounds and before long Please Be Mine was receiving favourable reviews.
A year has almost passed since Molly Burch released Please Be Mine. Her credentials as one of Austin’s preeminent songstress is still steadily gaining traction. Some people like to compare her to that of the likes of Nina Simone and Patsy Cline, which is always flattering to any newcomer. But I like to think that although Burch might take inspiration from those comparisons, she is ultimately a product of her own making, cluey enough to find her own space and distinctive emotive style in a music industry that regularly chews up newcomers. In short, I think Burch has far too much talent to simply fall by the wayside. Importantly, Burch’s wistful romantic musings and heartache make her relatable to those who have discovered her music. As listeners it’s easy to find something to like about Burch’s breakup, makeup tinged album. That said, I recently caught up with Molly to talk about some of the things that interest me about her incredible release and her life as a musician.
It seems there is a very conscious attempt by you to tell your story as a cycle of love and loss and its tumultuous effect upon you. Is Please Be Mine as close as it gets to it being a themed or concept album? Did you deliberately set out to write it that way?
I didn’t set out to write a concept album. Please Be Mine is a collection of the first songs I ever wrote over a period of three years. It just so happened that I was going through romantic turmoil so I wrote about what I knew at the time.
I keep going back to the title track Please Be Me as one of my favourite tracks. It comes very late on the album. Was that a deliberate choice and why?
Thank you so much! I wanted to put it near to the end because I thought it sounded like nice closure to the album but never wanted it to be the final song. I wanted it to end on a more positive and hopeful note with “I Love You Still.”
I find myself in a place of nostalgia when I am playing your album. It’s often at night and when I’m deep in thought. What sort of impression did you hope to leave with anyone listening to your album?
That sounds so nice! I like that it made you feel nostalgic. I hope that people find it relatable.
Are you a true romantic? What did you ultimately hope to tell us about love or yourself with the release of your album?
This album was very much about a specific relationship I had. I wanted to tell that story which was very vulnerable for me at the time. And — I am very much a romantic!
The use of reverb sounds great when you get it right. I personally believe you have done an incredible job augmenting that effect to your album. What attracted you most about recording much of the album this way? Did you ever consider experimenting or incorporating a different approach?
Thank you! The album was recorded pretty fast and we made quick decisions, there wasn’t really room for experimenting. Dan Duszynski the producer knew that I wanted to capture how my band sounded live at the time — so we recorded the album live in a day with a couple days for overdubs. The reverb definitely is an important part of the whole vibe of the album.
What do you think will be some of the things that might inspire you next time round, when you sit down to write and record new songs or even a new album?
You will have to wait and see!
On the subject of inspiration, what was the first real important album that you bought that inspired you? And why?
The very very first was Butterfly by Mariah Carey! I was obsessed with pop stars when I was growing up and I was so drawn to her voice. I’ve always been a fan of vocalists first and foremost.
I haven’t yet had the pleasure of seeing your live shows. We can only hope you visit Melbourne one day. But my question to you is how do you approach each show? And what sort of reaction do you get from your fans about your shows?
Oh, I hope to come to Melbourne as well! Thank you! I try to be extremely present every show I do. I want to be able to represent the album well and also have fun!
You have had an incredible year and Please Be Mine has topped many critics lists as one of the best albums released this year. It must be a thrill for you. In what other ways has music transformed your life?
Aw, wow, thank you. It has been such a dream. I never thought I would be able to release an album let alone being able to tour all over the world. It’s been such a nice year but I’ve had a lot of bumps along the way which I am so grateful for because of everything I’ve learned from it. It’s made me a stronger person.
Finally, what are your plans for the future? Do you have a New Year resolution?
I’m working on new music and appreciating being home for a while. My resolutions are to stop biting my nails and quit drinking soda!
Molly Burch’s album Please Be Mine is available via Omnian Music Group and iTunes.
You can connect with Molly Burch via her Facebook page or twitter feed @mollyjburch. You can also visit or contact Molly Burch via her website. Watch her on You Tube.
Photo credit: The header image used for this interview is a close-up of the album artwork of Please Be Mine. I make use of it here under the rationale of fair use. I am not the uploader of the You Tube clip embedded here.