by Joey Amato
LGBT musician Molly Adele Brown is one of the hottest young stars bursting onto the music scene. In the past few months, the talented singer-songwriter has released modern and influential music, tackling hot topics including the #MeToo movement, bullying, and equality. The New York native studied theater performance at Wagner College in NYC. However, during her junior year, she realized that she would rather be herself on stage instead of always playing a character.
“As a songwriter, ‘Only Human’ was one of those songs that felt like it wrote itself,” states Brown. “I was in a writing session with Corey Lee Barker and was explaining to him how I was an advocate for a community organization called Only Human. I told him how their main goals are to spread kindness and acceptance into our world and how close to that I related. During the conversation, that passion turned into lyrics and a melody. From that point on, the song just flowed.”
Ever since Brown was a child, she dreamed of performing in a music video with dancers, so when the time came to record a video for “Only Human”, she knew it was time to call a few friends. “I took ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop (my favorite) lessons,” she says. “I was never the best dancer in the room, but I always felt a sense of freedom when I started dancing. Once I decided to release ‘Only Human’ with a music video I had the idea to show humanity through a group of diverse dancers — no fancy set, no glittery costumes, just real people dancing together.”
The video showcases each dancer’s unique style and personality and ends with the group dancing in unison. Brown says, “No matter how different we may seem on the outside, we are all only human on the inside.”
Brown often finds the inspiration for her songs straight from the news and today’s political climate, which is ripe with material. Both “Only Human” and “Me Too” are a direct response to what is happening in the world today, and another song titled “Weather the Storm” came from watching the evening news.
“I was trying to wrap my head around why we are involved in conflicts overseas and was thinking to myself, ‘Why are we doing this?’ It’s all so confusing. That led to the line, ‘we turn on the news and get so confused’, and the song took off from there. It makes me disappointed even to have to write these types of songs, but I find them so important especially in this day and age.
“Me Too” took shape in a writing session with Tim Angsten and Tim Baumgartner. Brown was ranting about the #MeToo movement, and the trio started talking about what it meant and how they could address it.
“The original intent was for it to be sung by a father to his daughter, but since we never heard from Tim McGraw or Keith Urban and we wanted to get it out there, we changed it to a mother’s point of view, and I did the song and video,” Brown admits.
She is an active member of Nashville’s LGBTQ music scene, and although she hasn’t been the victim of discrimination because of her sexual orientation, she is conscious about the effects identifying as gay can have on her career.
“While I have never hidden my sexuality or my relationship, I really didn’t make it known either,” Brown mentions. “Being from New York, I was nervous when I first came to Nashville that I would be judged for it… after all, we are in the South. It’s only recently that I have connected with the LGBTQ community down here and become more open as it relates to my career. It’s refreshing to be myself, and I hope that rather than be excluded from opportunities, this will only be positive and open more doors.”
She and her partner Shanna moved to Nashville in August 2017 after making several trips to the city to collaborate with different artists and producers. “I am lucky that Shanna was willing to make the move. It doesn’t hurt that her family is here as well, but I like to think that it was all because of me. All kidding aside, we both love it down here — I couldn’t be happier.”
Since her arrival, she has had the privilege of working with some amazing LGBTQ artists and songwriters including Stasney Mav and Nell Maynard, two incredible artists who are making a splash in the Nashville community. “One LGBTQ artist that I would love to create something magical with would be Brandi Carlile. She has a way of saying what needs to be said in the most poetic way. I believe if the two of us worked together we would come up with something amazing,” she says.
Another goal of Brown’s is to be on Ellen. “I love what she stands for, and I want to be a guest on her show. After that, how about a Grammy nomination (or two)! And I dream that one day I will go back to New York and perform as Bonnie in a revival of Bonnie & Clyde on Broadway. I want to continue to push myself to grow as a person and as an artist. To be authentic and live my best life.”
Brown draws inspiration from a variety of musicians across many genres including Carole King and Andy Grammer as they are uniquely themselves and never try to be anything else. “Carole King was a trailblazer as a young woman in the industry years ago. Andy Grammer chooses to write about love and happiness which I so closely relate to.”
Like those before her, Brown is out to change the world through music and storytelling. Growing up, she thought the biggest disappointment in life was not receiving a particular part in a play, or if an Instagram post didn’t get enough likes. “What I realize now is how unimportant that all is. Now, I’m disappointed that I need to even write songs like “Only Human” or “Me Too”. I would love to be a part of the change to eliminate that disappointment.”
In addition to making music, the artist spends her time helping people from all walks of life. Giving back was something that has been part of her life even as a child. “When I was little, I ran a lemonade stand and donated the proceeds to Alex’s Lemonade Stand which supports childhood cancer.”
Brown was an active member of her church youth group and did several ‘Midnight Runs’ across NYC bringing food and clothing to homeless people on the streets in the middle of the night. “After those experiences, I began to always have a few extra snacks in my bag to hand out to homeless people that I ran into.”
For her Sweet 16 party, Brown asked guests to bring children’s pajamas to donate to the Pajama Program, an organization that distributes pajamas and books to children in homeless shelters. After releasing “Me Too”, Hope’s Door, an organization that helps free women from domestic abuse, asked her to perform the song at their annual gala.
Brown says, “I guess looking back on all of that, you can see the common thread of homelessness, which is where my passion lies. This is why I am starting a monthly cookie bake with friends to bake batches of cookies to hand out to homeless people. I already do this on my own, but I want to grow awareness and who doesn’t love baking with friends. I will call them Kindness Cookies because I think cookies are a great way to spread kindness.”
Brown dreams and aspires to make a living from her music and to make a difference in this world. “It may seem cliché, but to me, it sounds perfect!”
“Only Human” video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bvFRSsA9Us