With soulful Grand Rapids singer-songwriter Molly Bouwsma Schultz set to christen the new Listening Room tonight, Local Spins revisits its June profile of the dynamic singer with a new EP. Story, video.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This Artist Spotlight first appeared at Local Spins on June 19. Tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 16) Molly performs the first official concert at Listening Room in Studio Park south of Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids as part of a “soft opening” event. Tickets, $10, for this WGVU/NPR Pop Up Series show are available online here. Scroll down to watch Molly’s video for the single, “Shine.”
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In many ways, Molly’s musical journey has always been a quest for the unvarnished truth, aspiring to “tell real stories” through her songs.
And now as a solo artist, the soulful Grand Rapids singer-songwriter has found new, uncompromising freedom to further express herself and find her voice.
“The plan for Molly is to evolve, to try new things and be open to the unknown,” said Molly Bouwsma Schultz, aka Molly, who officially released a new solo EP and video for “Shine” in June.
“From an artistic standpoint, it’s a personal musical maturity and self-trust. … Writing my songs alone has created an incubator for me to keep growing. I think all of my experiences have brought me to a place of deeper creative autonomy and has made me more intentional and free to produce new sounds.”
The former frontwoman for the band Vox Vidorra, which split up nearly two years ago, said her new solo soul/pop project – described by producer Tommy Schichtel as “more raw” – “sounds like less compromise on certain melodies” with “more in-depth lyrical content.”
On the three-song EP recorded at Goon Lagoon in Grand Rapids, that often means political and social commentary, some of it sparked by gun violence, hate crimes and other tragedies.
LISTEN: Molly, “Shine”
“I’ve always written on subjects I’m passionate about, and finding ways to bring social justice and self-acceptance into the larger consciousness through music is one of the most profound ways to connect with people,” she reasoned.
‘SINGING HONESTLY ABOUT LIFE’ AND FINDING HER VOICE
“I learned the power of singing honestly about life from artists like Mavis Staples, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Gil Scott Heron, Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye and so many others. … I see my songs as a movement within and of themselves. A lot of my lyrics are proclamations of remembrance and healing.”
On Wednesday night at Listening Room by Studio C, she’ll perform the first official concert at the much-talked-about, 200-seat venue. The show starts at 7 p.m.; tickets are $10 and available online here. Learn more about Listening Room and Studio Park in this Local Spins feature.
Molly also stressed that she’s forging her path as an artist with her musician husband and co-owner of Creston Brewery, Scott Schultz. They often perform together, with several Michigan shows this summer and plans for eventually touring outside the United States.
And while Molly has experienced success in the past with the uber-popular, award-winning Vox Vidorra – a platform that showcased her dynamic stage presence – she’s cognizant that many are still unfamiliar with her music.
“I am still finding my voice and my audience, so I’m humbled every day by that,” she said. “I’m just surrendering to my voice to those open enough to listen.”
More About the Listening Room: Local Spins to host ‘Michigan Mondays’ concerts at new downtown Listening Room
VIDEO: Molly, “Shine”