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Emily Molloy Turns Heartbreak Into Something Beautiful

Written by Johnny Papan

Photo by Alice Haden


Singer-songwriter Emily Molloy is a striking force in Vancouver’s music scene. Her eclectic mix of blues, jazz, soul and alternative rock is nostalgic yet fresh. Mix that with her catchy songwriting and powerful, gritty voice, it’s hard to not feel something upon first listen.

Molloy dropped her debut EP Catastrophes, a collection of multi-genre hybrid tracks that feel fitting for both 1960s ballrooms and grungy jazz-lounges. The EP, which was recorded live off the floor at Warehouse Studio with producer Eric Mosher, truly showcases the expansiveness of Molloy's artistic range.

While the first three groovy dancefloor singles “Catastrophes”, “Purple Sunbeams” and “Are You Not Entertained?” fit Molloy’s bluesy-rock repertoire, the singer-songwriter explores her sombre side with her latest single “Wide Awake”, the EP's closing track.

“Wide Awake” was written while Molloy was living with two friends who were married. The last thing she could’ve expected was to witness two souls falling out of love in front of her eyes. The song is about living with and taking in the distress of a couple going through a divorce.

“I think that love, whether in friendships or romantic relationships, has the ability to create certain ‘blind spots’ for the truth and reality of situations,” Molloy says. “I am an empathetic sponge, so I absorbed so much of the emotion that was being experienced in the house at the time. I stayed for another year after they split up, and helped my dear friend go through the many ups and downs of the healing process. I wrote this song about her in particular, but this song has applied to many situations in my own personal life since. I feel like it's universally relatable in that regard.”

The experience plays out in the music video for “Wide Awake”. Directed by filmmaker Angie Nolan, the video follows Molloy walking through snowy terrain, wounded from heartbreak. Simultaneously, a “healed” version of Molloy (played by Jenna Manzanares) dances blissfully atop a body of ice.

“As someone who regularly deals with depression, I find that heartbreak of any kind tends to keep me in a dark space, and it can be very difficult to see beyond it,” Molloy explains. “Creating art through music and writing has been the catalyst for getting through it. The music video follows the journey of turning heartbreak into something beautiful.”

Molloy concludes: “Last year, aside from COVID, was the most challenging year of my entire life. I didn't write this song in COVID, but it really came to life during COVID. I am definitely someone with two very distinctive sides, the "introvert/extrovert" if you will. The highs are super high, but the lows are really low, it's the full spectrum of human emotion.”

Catastrophes EP is out now.

Emily Molloy is playing the Firehall Arts Centre on August 12. RSVP.

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