“The song was telling myself to stop trying to change myself and make myself like these ‘Pretty Girls’ because it doesn’t make you feel good. It’s like a vulnerable moment, a kick back into releasing music”

I was saying to myself ‘you’re not going to feel pretty if you are not going to feel it’, because everyone is so different and everyone feels comfortable in different ways, so what’s the point?”

Molly Burman is telling me about her new single ‘Pretty Girl‘ a parred back piano-led number sprinkled with raw vocals, her Southern English accent running through that are faintly reminiscent of Kate Nash with pointed lyrical melodies that contemplate what it means to be conventionally pretty.

Its a refreshingly honest meditation on what it’s like to grow up as a young woman surrounded by expectations and notions of beauty, the way it rises and falls with double-track vocals and joyous ownership of the moments she treasures about herself, it reminds me of some of the nascent work of Kate Bush; “It was important to have this song that was a reminder to myself or anyone who hears the lyrics or gets what I’m saying, beauty comes from within, its a cliche but they’re cliches for a reason. If someone hears that song and relates to it then great. It’s like that when you first meet someone it doesn’t matter what they look like at all, the things you find beautiful are what they are like as a person.” She offers.

So there was this song that I really like called ‘All the Pretty Girls’, and its got this line that’s like “all the pretty girls like Samuel”. and I remember just listening to it and it got me thinking about the pretty girls and how most of the time with social media and stuff we just view everyone on a surface level and you don’t know what their personality is like.” Burman recalls the song’s genesis “You don’t even know them but you just want to be them even if you don’t know what they are like.”

I have a vivid imagination and I was imagining that they were talking about all these pretty girls and how I can never be them. I used to read a lot of John Green novels growing up and he writes a lot about the stereotypical manic pixie dream girl vibe and I was like ‘oh my god I can never be that girl’! There are these people who the main thing about them is their looks, but you don’t realise the things that make them pretty are who they are and their interests.”

It’s also a musical shift for Burman from the guitar pop of her early work to a more wistful piano-led moment. “I wrote this song quite a while ago it was always one I had just had that everyone really loved and it always meant a lot to me. We looked back through the catalogue of the songs and were like this is a really good song, so we did a re-vocal of it its a really vulnerable moment and so it was important to show that side to me. It was also written on piano rather than guitar. As I go through my music it was good to just show more of myself really.”

A precocious talent since writing her first song at the age of 6 and self-producing everything from her mid-teens, Molly made her debut with the bittersweet and bluntly humorous musings of ‘Happy Thingsin 2018. While last year Molly’s debut EP saw her receive critical praise. “It was written over such a wide period of time. ‘Fool Me With Flattery’ was written in sixth form and then a bunch of songs were written in lockdown. which is interesting, it’s nice to look back. With the next songs, it’s me maturing as you do, and it’s always nice to see that journey in music. I always like to think it’s still my kind of lyrics and melodies. I’m always writing and recording new music, the new material is still a work in progress but I have a vision of where it’s going to go.”

With a conversational style her relatable pop songs laced with wit and tales of her experiences, won her a following “That’s how I always try and make my songs. In real life, I don’t stand up to people very much and stuff so in my music, I use it to stand up for myself so it’s always really conversational and it’s quite a stream of consciousness.”

For young women growing up bombarded by idealised and often airbrushed visions of beauty on social media, there’s a pressure to conform and it’s hard to build self-esteem. “It’s difficult, with the new video we have done a lot of shots up close to my face and I really don’t like shots that are close up to my face. I was like ‘oh no I don’t like that you can see so much of me’ but then I was like it’s supposed to be a vulnerable moment and up close like that and I felt good in the video I said to myself “who cares if its a bit too close up and stuff?” Burman explains “I have always grown up constantly having a social media presence whether it was twenty followers constantly presenting myself as an image or a visual thing. It’s very strange but we are all used to it sadly.”

As a young women in a music world dominated by men it can be challenging, thankfully she has yet to experience much sexism but she has still faced some comments and there isn’t a doubt in her mind that it’s something she will have to navigate. “I’ve had like weird comments, like turning up with a band and it’s me and my guitar and people are like you are actually really good we thought you were going to be a singer-songwriter with a guitar?! There are always weird comments like that. I produce mainly with my dad I’ve been lucky I haven’t had to face many people with the writing and production process but I am sure it’s all to come.” Before reflecting on Damon Albarn’s recent interview and his questioning of Taylor Swift’s authorship “I see people putting more respect on Taylor Swift’s name and its nice to see people pushing back on it.”

Burman’s down to earth personality and humour, and her knack for knowing her way around a tune gives her a twist to some difficult issues. ‘Everytimeripples with an insecurity and a yearning to be treated well by those she dates. “I feel like even though I always might sing about quite deep stuff I had a bit of humour and stuff. With this song, it was nice to see a bit of range and a bit more into my head without covering it up with jokes and stuff.”

One of her songs on her debut EP called ‘Debt‘ with its jangling guitars, was particularly memorable with her withering put down of the unwanted advances of a man who approached her in a bar (“you’re wearing a face like a slapped arse” and “I’m not someones confidence boost”). “A similar thing happened to me in real life, I was like ‘eww’ and walked away, I didn’t say ‘who do you think you are?'” She explains “but it was nice to reflect back on it in a song and say what I would like to think I would say but I realistically probably wouldn’t say it in real life. It’s nice to leave it in a song and not go further than that but Other people can listen to it and feel seen which is the most important thing I think.”

Burman is currently working on a debut album, tentatively slated for release later this year “It’s very exciting. I’ve got a bunch of tracks I’m super ready to release, hopefully lots of new videos. I’ve got so many ideas I can’t wait to do!” She reveals. “This is a separate EP, It’s nice to start it all off with something quite different, very different to the stuff I’ve already released. I feel like on the next stuff, I’ve been pushing myself to experiment and to try different things.”

Working with her dad at home rather than in a plush studio perhaps lends her songs a more homespun quality, inspiration caught when it strikes. “All of the stuff on my first EP and this song I’m releasing pretty much everything so far my dad has produced, it’s just at home. It’s fun, it’s nice, it feels very intimate and genuine. It’s a very raw process, it’s nice.” she tells me before remembering lockdown. “In a way, it was good as I got to record a lot of music. I was terrified of performing music but once I’ve done it I was like I love it, I want to do this again and again!”

Burman talks excitedly about future plans. “We have just announced Community Festival in July which is in Finsbury park where I’ve seen loads of festivals there, so I’m excited for that. I’ve just got my band together and we have just done our first gig together. Hopefully we are going to get a bunch of dates soon!” She is certainly an emerging artist, brimming with charisma and talent; this year keep an ear out for Molly Burman.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.