Molly Burch’s sophomore album First Flower steps away from the somber, more yearning tones of Please Be Mine, the artist’s debut album, and explores a deeper sense of introspection and self-growth. First Flower shifts from the artist’s romantic past to anxieties she has as a person and as a performer.
Though both albums deal with themes of longing and love, Burch sees the albums as distinct projects.
“It was a whole different process, writing it and recording it, and it was a whole different band, too,” she said. “And subject-wise, it was not the same, not an extension at all. The first album was about a relationship that I had, and this new one is about myself.”
Despite the positive reception both of her albums have received, Burch says it took time for her to gain confidence in her singing and songwriting skills. “It was definitely a slow process, which I feel with almost everything in my life. Even singing,” she added. “It took me a really long time to do that. I feel with songwriting, it was really slow. I had this mental block, where I didn’t feel like I could do it, like my goal in college was to find someone to write songs for me. It wasn’t even an option for me to write my own songs because I was so insecure about it.”
After graduating from the University of North Carolina, Burch moved to Texas. She credits this move as the driving force behind her gain in self-confidence. “I think really what helped was after college I moved to Austin by myself, so I had no one to lean on and I was going through a hard time with that change, with the move. I just pushed myself to start writing songs, and it was really cathartic, and I think I just slowly gained confidence with just doing it, just the act of trying and having experience doing it,” Burch said.
Though she was born in Los Angeles, Burch said she’s always felt very at-home in Texas. The transition motivated her songwriting confidence, but she said the move was incredibly transformative in other ways, too.
“I feel like it plays such a big role in my growth as an artist and just as a person. I’ve lived there since 2013, and I feel like it’s my home, so I don’t think I’ll be moving anytime soon,” Burch said. “I just feel like Austin is much more my pace. I’m very much a homebody. But I do love LA. I hope to go back someday in the way far away future.”
For now, Burch has dates booked throughout early December on her First Flower Tour. She wants to focus on this album and tour as much as possible before she starts writing and recording again.
Burch is set to play nearly more 20 gigs in Europe before the end of the year. Luckily, she enjoys being on stage. “I really like performing ‘To The Boys,’ which is on that new album. It’s been feeling really good to perform that one, especially seeing all the women in the audience sing along is the coolest thing,” Burch said. “I think also ‘First Flower,’ that one’s really fun to perform. I’m having the most fun with those two songs.”
When drafting songs, she writes them in parts — starting with chords, then coming up with a melody and lyrics to go with them. Burch said that once she’s written something, the composition doesn’t change much, but she senses the songs change a bit every time she performs.
“It’s fun to see where the songs grow as you perform them more and more. Sometimes I feel like, it can depend on the show, but I think performing them is a much more freeing experience than recording. I get in my head when I’m recording, and performing them, I feel very free,” she said.
Though quite a few songs on the album reflect Burch’s insecurities, “Wild” particularly captures the artist’s lack of confidence. The lyrics describe a cooler, more confident woman that Burch admires from afar.
“When I wrote it, I was coming from a place of feeling ashamed about having anxiety and social anxiety and idealizing other people, and the chorus is basically wanting to not dip in to those habits, not feel like that and just basically be free of anxiety,” Burch said.
The music video for the song, directed by New York-based artist Luca Venter, depicts three women in a pageant-like display of talents. The interesting part? All three women are played by Burch.
Burch explained that she didn’t want to promote pitting women against one another by hiring multiple women for the roles, so instead, she agreed Venter’s concept of having her play all the parts would be best.
“I also just like the idea of basically idealizing someone for something, and you’re basically the same because that person is probably doing the same thing,” Burch added. “I think about that a lot, like if I’m thinking someone doesn’t struggle with anxiety, I’m sure that they’re thinking that about me or someone else. I think just having me play all three parts is a good message that we all can be very like-minded without knowing it.”