Interview with Molly Thomason – “It Just Makes Sense to Be Here”
Here at The Arts Scene, we enjoy nothing more than spotlighting the young, the local, and the talented. At only nineteen years of age, Toronto resident Molly Thomason fits all of these criteria perfectly. She may be youthful, but age is quickly forgotten once one hears Molly’s soulful voice, reads her heartfelt lyrics, and studies her impressive performance schedule and awards roster. Her third album is scheduled to release in the new year, and promises to feature a rock edge mixed with real and honest emotion. After watching Molly perform live months ago, I became an instant fan. I was recently fortunate enough to have the opportunity to chat with this laid-back and down-to-earth young lady.
Originally from Nova Scotia, Molly moved to Toronto about a year ago to attend the University of Toronto. After half a semester, however, she realized that she “was spending way more time playing music than studying,” and made the decision to focus on music full time, a choice that was reinforced by her “very supportive” parents. Molly already had years of musical experience behind her; she claims that she was “singing before I could talk, and creating songs before I could write,” starting to create music seriously at the age of twelve. Indeed, her first album was released when she was only fourteen, and generated much early interest and many performing opportunities, as well as several award nominations. Early musical influences include Avril Lavigne and Bob Dylan, whom she cites as “a god in my house.”
Molly expands at length on the effect Dylan had on her musicianship, in particular, her lyrics, all of which she writes herself. Like Dylan, Molly enjoys “a playful and free approach” to her writing, and these techniques are evident when one listens to her words, which convey heartfelt emotion while playing with rhythm and rhyme. When asked about the content of her lyrics, Molly states, “I’m currently trying to write less about relationships, and to focus more on my thoughts and the things that happen to me. I also want to increase my attention on current and world events; that’s really important to me right now.” Although her early songs dealt with her personal experiences and told her own stories, Molly explains that she is now experimenting with creating characters about which to sing in order to increase relatability, and because “sometimes it’s fun to sing about someone other than yourself.”
Molly has experimented with country sounds, but her new album Columbus Field, to be officially released in the new year, has a strong old-school rock ‘n’ roll sound. While performing with her band, this rock style dominates, but Molly admits that when she performs alone she prefers a more laid-back and folksy vibe. Although she has worked with many musicians, Molly speaks about John-Angus MacDonald, the lead guitarist of the Canadian band The Trews, with special enthusiasm. According to Molly, MacDonald taught her a lot not only about music, performing, and producing, but also about genuine kindness. “I learned so much from him; he’s so talented, and the way that he looks at songs will be a huge influence for me. But he’s also just a really nice guy, a nice guy to everybody.”
At the present time, Molly claims that she is focusing her energy on “forming a strong band, creating a great live show, and improving my personal musicianship.” She is currently taking piano lessons in order to add another skill to her singing, writing, and guitar-playing abilities, while constantly working on new ideas for songs, shows, and music videos. When asked at what point she knew she wanted to make music her life, Molly cited an early performance in Nova Scotia where she appeared in a Bob Dylan tribute singing “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.” As she speaks of the feel of the stage and the energy of the crowd and her fellow performers, a very special quality enters her voice, and one cannot help but agree that, yes, this is what Molly Thomason “just has to do.”
Catch Molly live on November 20th, when she will be performing alongside Meredith Shaw and Ladies of the Canyon in “The Girls Who Believe Fest” at The Great Hall, an event in support of the charity Girls Inc. Also be sure to check out her performance video of new song “Stone,” featuring Sum 41 bass guitarist Cone McCaslin.