50-for-50 interview: Molly Bryant, singer-songwriter

molly bryant

Sitting in audition waiting rooms can turn you mad after a while, or angry, or bitter. What we forget as actors is that often, those waiting rooms are there to hold us in between ventures, on our way to something better and truer. When I met Molly Bryant in one of those actor purgatory chambers many years ago, it was clear she was on track for her better, bigger truth. She brought her full self to acting, but in a light and playful way; unlike many of us, any ambition she had for fame and glory always took a Country Squire way-back seat to the real reason for pursuing one’s art: to live in the moment, and to channel the energy of the universe into the mundane here and now so we can all see our best selves. Molly brings that same spirit to her mid-life venture as a musical artist. Her songs are filled with light and joy, and yet they rock. Hard. If you get the chance to see her play live, do not miss it, for it is like church, as church was meant to be. (And yes, she’s contributed one of her songs to the 50-for-50 song pack!)

When did you decide to become a writer?

I don’t think I ever really decided to become a writer. I always thought I was an actor/performer/artist but when I think back now in H.S. I used to really get “into” writing my english papers and sometimes the teacher would even read from my papers.  But I think the songwriter/poet was lurking there inside. I liked to write poetically I think

So….

Who was your favorite teacher?

probably my singing coach in high school Mrs. Baskin

I’d go to this little room at the high school in the music dept and we’d do vocal exercises and learn songs but also my parents were going through this terrible divorce and I was devastated and the drama and all that of being 16 and she was basically my therapist too. She was a great mentor and teacher of life really to me.

Also when I got the lead in Oklahoma which is really a soprano part and I’m a FULL ON alto…well she coached me through that and helped me kick ass as the lead, Laurie…and side note the Judd in my HS production of Oklahoma is the now very famous Rainn Wilson

yes I have pictures!

What do you love to write about?

People that fascinate me.  I noticed I have a few biography songs in my repertoire

Crispin Glover, Jim Morrison, Edna St. Vincent Millay…KOBE!

I like to write about the struggles I think we all face and the hope for better things like peace and love within ourselves and in the world we see. I like to make up silly songs too

I remember though when I first started writing songs my motto was just write what you think

what’s true to you.  No critiquing it…. just get it out.

What has writing taught you?

It doesn’t have to “make sense”

That there’s alot more going on inside me then I let on to others and MYSELF sometimes writing has taught me that it’s important to relate back to the world what you see/feel/hear…..you know how they say it’s the artist’s job of putting the mirror up to the world in a way

Writing is also a type of therapy for sure I think.  It’s not all going to be perfect but it’s good to get it out.  I did The Artists Way when I was first starting writing songs back in 2000 and I wrote pages and pages of gobbledy gook but then every once in a while little gems appeared as if by magic.  It’s like panning for gold.

Also found out I wanted to learn guitar while spewing out a million different things in those morning pages. I think there is an exercise in the Artists Way to write down 10 things you’d love to do before you die.

I kept writing about playing guitar

I saw my hand keep writing it and it was like “wow I guess I need to get a guitar!” and so I did and whammo it was like my magic instrument….the songs came pouring out of me…it was wild

so writing has taught me that there was magic inside me lurking around and waiting to get out

so thank you writing!

How has writing made you stronger?

I’ve learned from writing these songs that we’re all going through this amazing trip of life together!

The love and response to my songs had made me realize my thoughts/my feelings are shared.  My super sad songs people really seem to like as well. So I guess the song writing has made me feel this connection to the world and also a connection to the deep things going on inside of me. Also to get past my fears and stand in the truth of what I feel/think.

If you could go back in time and tell 10-year-old you anything, what would it be?

TAKE GUITAR LESSONS. Don’t be afraid of what others think. DO YOUR THANG!

What are your five favorite books, blogs or things to read?

Gosh, I loved The Great Gatsby and Romeo & Juliet

Harry Potter books just blew me away.  That whole world she created!

Anna Karenina. Alice in Wonderland. Langston Hughes poems.

Rumi, Pablo Neruda,  Franny & Zoe……

Molly Bryant grew up the middle child of three children in Wilmette, Illinois. She came to California to attend UCLA and graduated with a B.A. in Theater Arts, upon which she joined up with Tim Robbins’ Actors’ Gang, where she did many kick-ass shows with Jack Black, JR Reed, and Michael Rivkin, to name a few. Molly currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband R.A. White. In addition to acting professionally in film, TV, and commercials, she also writes and sings her own songs, which you can find on iTunes.

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