Molly Kate Kestner
901 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA, 90012
This event is 18 and over
When Lewis Capaldi’s debut single Bruises exploded at the start of 2017 it seemed from an outside perspective to have all the hallmarks of an overnight sensation. How could this 20-year-old with a soul-wrenching voice that sounded like it had been hewn from granite seemingly emerge from nowhere with a song of such emotional depth?
A stripped-back and almost painfully raw meditation on love and loss from a writer who seemed like he’d already lived several lives and had the scars to prove it, within weeks it had racked up an astonishing 15 million Spotify plays and topped streaming charts around the world.
“Once we got to 10 million, I was like, ‘Right, I’m going to stop looking at this because I’m happy with that,’” laughs Capaldi, sat in a Soho coffee shop in a rare bit of down time. “People ask me, ‘How do you feel about everything?’ I’m confused, I’m like, ‘How the hell has this happened?’ I was happy to release something and then to just see it explode. People are telling me that they’ve heard it in shops in Thailand, they’ve been in Zante and Magaluf and Ibiza and they’ve heard remixes of it in clubs. It’s absolutely mental. I’m kind of always thinking that someone’s going to turn around and tell me, ‘Oh lad, we’re only joking!’”
Have a listen to any of the other tunes Capaldi has been stockpiling into a goldmine of songs and it seem very, very unlikely that anyone will be saying that. Capaldi is that rare thing: a writer who can take his own experiences and pain and craft them into deeply effecting, heart-bruised truths that resonate with anyone who hears them.
If Capaldi seems to have a maturity as an artist and a performer that goes beyond his years then that might be down to the fact that he’s had a bit of a head start. In fact, given the years of graft the West Lothian native has put in, he’d probably take umbrage at the notion that it was an “overnight” success.
“I picked the guitar up at nine, started writing songs at eleven and then was gigging from 12 onwards,” he states matter-of-factly, before delivering a bit of customary self-deprecation. “I mean, they were awful songs, but it was fun. I was always trying to get in places, playing at pubs. I’d show up and try and blag my way in. I’d have to hide in the toilets and then jump out and do my set as quickly as possible before anyone knew there was a 12-year-old in the pub.”
From then on in Capaldi devoted every spare moment he had to writing and performing. Playing gigs in Glasgow, Edinburgh and anywhere he could find a receptive audience, he was constantly working on songs, finding his voice as a songwriter and honing his craft with unwavering dedication. All the while developing the rough-around-the-edges vocals that would make those songs soar.
“I’m constantly writing. Even now, if I’m not doing a gig or in rehearsals, I’m writing. It’s constant because you’re only as good as your next song,” he says, perhaps forgetting for a moment that he’s got one of the most acclaimed debut releases this year already under his
belt. “A lot of my pals laugh because they’re roofers and electricians and they’ve got real
jobs, and I’ll go, ‘Oh man, I’m so stressed out trying to write songs,” They’re like, “Shut the
hell up.” I get it, but it’s a slog, man. It can be proper difficult at times.”
It’s a slog that has paid off in spades. With “hundreds of songs” crafted in the last year
alone, Lewis Capaldi is already shaping up to be one of the British Isles’ most gifted
songwriters. Preposterously, when it comes to the daunting process of picking a dozen for a
debut album in the future, he feels that Bruises might not even make the cut.
“An album has to sound cohesive. So if Bruises still to me feels like it should be on the album
at that point, then I don’t see why not,” he ponders. “I’m constantly writing, but then it’s
the hope that every song will be better than the last one. It’s just constantly trying to better
Not a bad position to find yourself in, but if he feels the success of his first offering might be
fading he’s sorely mistaken.
“Yesterday I phoned up the bank and the girl was like, “I’ll phone you back in ten minutes…”
She phoned back in ten minutes and said, “Oh, I recognised your name, I really like your
song”.’ He recalls with disbelief. “Things like that are just like ‘… Oh shit, that’s weird.’”
Much as he might currently find it strange, Capaldi’s success is only going to grow from
here. He’d better get used to it.
Molly Kate Kestner
Molly Kate Kestner may be new to the Los Angeles music scene, but she is by no means an amateur. The 21-year-old singer-songwriter's gift for writing paired with her soulful, powerhouse voice make it clear she is wise and talented beyond her years, and have allowed her to build a strong following.
Kestner was first propelled into the spotlight when her song she wrote in high school, "His Daughter," an emotional ballad she recorded for her friends and family, went viral. The video earned over 1.5 million views in less than two weeks [and it currently sits at 15 million] and got her noticed and signed by Atlantic Records - something the rural Minnesota native had only dreamed of.
Molly moved to Los Angeles in February 2016 and has been busy writing songs for herself and other established artists while making her way through the LA, London, and Nashville writing circuits. She released her first song "Good Die Young" on December 2nd, amassing 800K+ streams in just its first week. In the coming months, Kestner will continue performing and will release new music as well as a mini album in the spring of 2017.