Her new album ‘Daydreamer’ explores her life in music
By Jeff McCord
In some ways, the young Molly Burch was not so different from other teenagers. She had become withdrawn and intensely shy, spending a lot of time barricaded in her room.
Burch calls her new album Daydreamer, and the leadoff track, “Made Of Glass”, finds herself doing just that.
“Another night all alone in my room
Kissing my mirror, pretending it’s someone cool
Singing to myself, am I good?
Or am I really just a hopeless fool?”
This self-described “angsty thirteen-year-old” was not having an easy time.
“I was definitely a precocious kid. But once you hit that puberty age, I just went really inward and I was really antisocial, really anxious.”
Burch is smiling, sitting with me after her Studio 1A session. With several albums in her repertoire, she’s poised and relaxed in interviews. But it’s not hard to picture the teenager that resurfaced when Burch recently discovered her diaries in her childhood LA home.
“I’d always loved keeping a lot of stuff. I have many memory boxes of old letters and diaries and pictures. And I love looking back from time to time. But I think it was just an interesting time to find them and reconnect with that version of myself, because I was feeling so much in the midst of the pandemic, just feeling extra insecure and extra scared. It’s kind of a universal feeling when everyone is that age, you’re feeling insecure for the first time and it’s so big. Even as an adult, I still feel like my 13-year-old self is inside. We’re just better at masking it.”
After nearly a decade in Austin, feeling the need for a change, Burch recently moved back to LA earlier this year. But not before finishing her latest album, recorded with help from producer Jack Tatum (who records under the moniker Wild Nothing). Daydreamer explores paths traveled on previous releases – love and its travails – but it also bristles with a keen synth-y pop edge.
“[Jack and I] knew each other and we co-wrote a song together in 2020,” Burch explains. “I liked working with him and I’ve been interested in pop production since I put out a Christmas album. That album was a big catalyst for me because it wasn’t original music, so I felt freer in the studio. I wasn’t so uptight, it just felt more fun. I felt like I was singing differently and it felt really natural.”
Yet some of the songs on Daydreamer delve into a challenging time for Burch, and the lyrics visibly ache.
“Tatoo” addresses Molly’s outsized high school friend who eventually took her own life.
“I remember the first time I saw her, she just came on to the school bus and she had this crazy orange curly hair. And I just remember thinking, I need to know this person, she’s so cool. Her sister teases me a lot cause at the time I would call their house so much. I was really determined to be her friend. When I was writing this album, I was thinking so much about my relationship with music. I never wanted to write about my friend because it just felt almost too personal. But because I wanted to write about my journey through music and at different stages of my life, she was the first person I played with live. I do think she totally brought me out of my shell. We were complete opposites, she was really extroverted and she really helped me with confidence and [with] speaking up for myself.”
These days, kicking off her tour for Daydreaming in Austin, Burch has no difficulty in that regard. Onstage, she confidently steers her band through her autobiographical fare.
But in person, there are tiny glimpses of her insecure years. And “Made Of Glass” drives the point home.
“I picture myself all grown and confident /
But really, I don’t believe I’ll ever be that woman”
FOLLOW MOLLY BURCH
Molly Burch – vocals; Dailey Toliver – keys/guitar, Thom Washburn – drums, Ben Dubois – guitar/bass
Producer: Deidre Gott; Production Assistant: Confucius Jones; Audio Engineer: Jake Perlman; Audio Mix: Rene Chavez; Cameras: Patricia Lim, Nastassja Collak, Ivy Fowler, Renee Dominguez; Edit: Renee Dominguez; Host: Laurie Gallardo