Molly Kate Kestner Wants You To Look Past The “Prom Queen” Façade
No matter who you are or where you come from, everyone battles their own demons- even some of the richest and most beautiful people. That’s the message that Minnesota-born singer/songwriter Molly Kate Kestner wants to convey in her latest single, “Prom Queen.”
The edgy and brooding tune tells the story of a girl who appears flawless but is struggling with much deeper issues than the outside world can see.
“I think the meaning behind the song, the initial inspiration for it was basically I was just thinking about high school and how some of the most beautiful and popular people had the most messed up lives.” Molly says.
The fair-haired beauty first came onto the music scene when George Takei shared her original song, “His Daughter”, with his 9-million plus followers and deemed her as “America’s young Adele.” Before she knew it, her music was recognized by celebs such as Jordin Sparks and Ashley Judd and she was collaborating with mega-stars like Kelly Clarkson.
Now, Molly sits down with us to discuss her latest single and her future plans for music. Check out “Prom Queen” and our q&a with her below.
Your song “Good Die Young” was inspired by the death of Prince and how fleeting life can be and “His Daughter” came to you when working in your dad’s electric shop. Was there any major moment or revelation that inspired you to write this song?
So, I was actually in London when I wrote Prom Queen. I think something that is kind of unique about it, is the first line of the song is “God save the prom queen.” So that was kind of my little tribute to London with the god save the queen reference (laughs). But I think the meaning behind the song, the initial inspiration for it was basically I was just thinking about high school and how some of the most beautiful and popular people had the most messed up lives. It was as if their beauty and popularity were all that they had sometimes. But I think the further along I got with the song, the more I began to see myself in the girl I was writing about. Its another song that kind of follows a story line or falls similar to the way I wrote “His Daughter”, but this is obviously a different story. But there was a time in my life where I was really struggling and not a single person in the world knew. To everyone else I was just a pretty girl who had a nice voice and was getting some attention for it. And I think a lot of times we think we like to keep the way people see us, if it’s in a positive way, we like to act like that’s the only side to us because it’s easier to be that then to be honest. So the moral of the song is to just not make quick judgments about people you don’t really know because we all have our own struggles and we all have our demons. And the prom queen doesn’t just represent the popular kid in high school. To me, she’s a symbol of anyone who has ever lost themselves in a label people have placed on them. And I think that’s most of us at some point in our lives. Especially in high school.
Is there a video in the works?
Yeah, so it’s definitely in the works and I don’t want to give too much away yet just because we haven’t completely solidified anything for it. But that’s going to be getting filmed here really soon and I think it will be a really powerful piece of art or content to go along with it.
Are you currently working on new music for an album? If so, what can we expect from that?
Yes, so I moved out to LA last February, so we’re coming up on a year, and I’ve been writing about a song every single day. So it adds up! A lot of the songs that I’ve written, I’ve travelled to New York, Nashville and London just to write and I’m finally kind of putting together a list of songs that will kind of be like, I’ve been calling it my mini album. That’s probably going to come out early this summer later this spring, that’s basically a culmination of my journey over the last few years of being signed and kind of developing myself as a writer. So I’m super excited. There’s songs I wrote a while ago and songs that I’ve just wrote recently, but all of them are just very unaffected songs from my heart because I think that’s where all of this started. All of them I’ve written on and just put a lot of time and effort into the stories that I want to tell.
Who or what are your musical influences?
There’s a lot of musical people who have influenced me. I was just talking about this the other day. I think different aspects of who I am come from different genres and different artists. I think the soul that a lot of people find surprising in my music, I think that comes from people like Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse. I think the songwriter aspect is really influenced by Sara Bareilles, Regina Spektor.. I think I really love classic rock like I love the Foo Fighters and the Rolling Stones and I think that kind of adds edge. I think that pop music has really limited itself and something that I love about music in the past was that there were just no limits on songs. You could tell a story and it could be really intricate and different and people weren’t worried about it being a radio hit. I think there are still some people who have done that, like I think Lukas graham is a great example of someone who put out a song and did not fit your typical radio standard but it was just so powerful. So I never want to limit myself on the songs that I write and I always kind of want to be true to myself because I am a storyteller at the end of the day.
You collaborated with Kelly Clarkson, what was that like? Did you learn anything in specific when working with her?
You know what? She didn’t have to say anything for me to learn from her because I think she’s someone who very much lives out who she really is and I think that in itself was so inspiring to me when I had met her and got to work with her. To see someone who has had such success, who has had so much attention and has been in this industry for so long but is still so level-headed and kind and humble. That was really inspiring to me because I think it just proves that you can go through the craziness of this industry and still come out on the other side as a good person. I think its not easy and I think you need to surround yourself with good people who will keep you in check and I think she’s done that. I’ve worked with her musical director, Jason Halbert, a lot and he’s been with her for like 10 or 15 years or something and he’s just a really solid guy. She just has a really good team around her and I think that’s just a reflection of her.
Top 3 most played songs on your playlist right now?
Oh, that’s a good question! Let me look, I listen to so much music. I don’t know if you’re that way! Let’s see, last night I was listening to Jon Bellion, I love his stuff. I honestly started listening to him like last summer because my husband is a huge of fan of him and was like, ‘You need to listen to him!’ I feel like I’m never ahead of the curve with songs and now everyone is like ‘I love Jon Bellion!’ and I’m like I loved him before! Let’s see what else. Truthfully I’ve been listening to a lot of 90’s stuff lately like a lot of No Doubt, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers… which people are always like a little bit surprised by! I feel like I kind of go through phases. Like I’ll go through phases where I’m only listening to like really throwback Otis Redding and Sam Cooke and older soul. Then I’ll go through the 90’s and then I’ll be in the 2000’s listening to “Fire Burning” by Sean Kingston!
“Prom Queen” will be available tomorrow via APG/Atlantic Records.