Molly was born Molly Elizabeth Kruse, the eldest of two children, on 8/8/88 in Berkeley, CA, the luckiest day of the century, according to Chinese tradition. "I was the first baby born at Alta Bates Hospital at 5:58 in the morning, so a bunch of newscasters featured my parents and me on TV when I was about 15 minutes old! We still have the tape buried somewhere, I think,” she laughs. Someone once told Molly that this event was a sign of great fortune and auspicious things to come in her life; with the litany of talent Kruse has already worked with, she appears primed for accolades and critical acclaim at the start of her burgeoning music career.
Although her family is non-artistic, Molly’s youth was immersed in the rich, musical mecca that is the San Francisco Bay Area. With a culture so chock-full of diverse musicality, her own tastes and talents were born of this intense melting pot. Her father is an overall music fanatic, engendering in her a deep love for all styles at a young age, and her mother is a beautiful singer herself, encouraging her to begin her vocal lessons at 12 years old. Working tirelessly on her voice, Molly competed in national vocal competitions, performed lead roles in musicals, and sang in school choir for over six years.
Throughout elementary and middle school, Molly was mercilessly bullied and struggled socially. “It’s painful to look back on that time because I only remember having one or two friends throughout my elementary school years,” she reflects. “That changed as I got into high school and college, but as a little girl, the lack of social time and emotional support from my family made me retreat into myself.” Kruse became wildly creative, writing short stories and songs and relying on her vast imagination to shield herself from the harsh realities of school and family life. As she grew, she became deeply interested in music; her formative musical palette included such diverse artists as Django Rheinhardt, Glenn Miller, Loretta Lynn, Silvio Rodriguez, Joni Mitchell, and CSN. “I can’t even name a favorite genre,” she smiles, “Just ask me how old I was, and I can tell you what I was listening to at that time and what I loved about it.”
At seventeen, Kruse moved to Bloomington, Indiana to study Theatre and Sociology at Indiana University and then to Los Angeles in 2012. "When I first moved to LA, I was acting in short films and commercials and had landed some small parts on TV,” Kruse reveals. "But when I’d come home and ground myself, I realized something didn’t feel quite right, that I wasn’t following my true purpose." Molly then left the world of acting and utterly dedicated herself to singing and songwriting.
Her first break came in early 2014 when she met renown film orchestrator and studio keyboardist, Randy Kerber. “That was such a special time in my life, and working with Randy was so fun,” she reminisces. “He’s this incredibly famous musician, so there was a huge element of intimidation for me, but we just became two goofy kids in the studio making really cool music together.” Kruse, who couldn't play an instrument at the time, would write late into the night and use only her voice as pen and paper. She would come into the studio with Randy in the following days, and Kerber would give further shape to the already full-bodied songs. “It was pretty crazy because these full songs would just spill out of me without the help of an instrument, and I’d come in with the tracks and Randy would be blown away at me not having used a guitar or piano to flesh them out,” she remarks.
A meeting with Kerber led to a meeting with Glen Ballard, famed producer of Alanis Morisette, Aerosmith, and Katy Perry and 6-time Grammy Award winner. Like Randy, Glen became a mentor and early champion of Molly’s work and offered sage and experienced counsel in matters related to the music industry.
After writing countless more songs, performing her work at a multitude of amateur gigs in Los Angeles, and learning to play the acoustic guitar, Molly began recording her debut EP in February 2016. She chose Brandon Eugene Owens, former bassist and musical director for Lauryn Hill and producer for Kendrick Lamar, Fergie, and Lana Del Rey, as her producer, who helped to enrich the already stellar songs. Kruse then hired a variety of famous studio and touring musicians to record the album: the roster includes Jan Ozveren (Shakira, Charlie Puth), Rod Castro (Hans Zimmer, Raphael Saadiq), Benji Lysaght (Beck, Father John Misty), and Lemar Guillary (Outkast, Jennifer Hudson), among many others. The album was recorded at Heritage Recording Co., an intimate, vintage, boutique studio in Burbank, while Scott Campbell (Stevie Nicks, Idina Menzel, No Doubt) mixed and engineered the record and Grammy Award-winner, Pete Lyman, of Infrasonic Sound provided mastering services.
At its heart, Molly’s sound is a blend of poppy, sweet soul with a rootsy, Americana twist and a dash of jazz and classic rock: “I just can’t seem to pick a genre!” she muses. “I love so many different styles of music and so many different styles of music have influenced me that I feel inspired to pay homage to all of them in my writing.” Even more noticeable in her songs is her voice, a powerful amalgam of musical influences and shining medium for weaving intricate harmonic and melodic vocal lines.
In addition to her vocal prowess, Molly’s lyrical content showcases the depth of her life experience and inner emotional life. She parlays her penchant for storytelling into poetic, incisive lyricism. She commonly writes on themes of love (lost and found), family, friendship, pain, and the shared ironies of intimate relationships.
Kruse performs regularly at locales across the US. Her EP will be available come early 2018 on iTunes and various streaming platforms, as well as on vinyl and CD.
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