Bettendorf native singer-songwriter has a very productive pandemic – New baby, new album

Like many of us, Molly Conrad learned a lot about light and darkness during the Covid pandemic.

Molly Conrad at her album release concert in Buffalo, NY

The 29-year-old singer / songwriter from Bettendorf – currently living in Buffalo, NY – has experienced a fairly productive pandemic, producing a new boy with her husband and a new album, “Light of the Dark.” One took nine months to make, and the other only three days.

“I really like sad songs,” Conrad said recently, noting that she had been writing new music for the past two years. “I love the melancholy truth with sprinkles of hope sprinkled in and tried to capture the nuance of those feelings on this record.”

“Light of the Dark,” released October 15, premiered over three days in his home’s old garage last July. Nashville producer and sound engineer Alex DeVor was amazed at how much they did in a long weekend.

“I think we have some really special songs,” DeVor commented in a recent release. “We recorded them in a three-day whirlwind.”

The disc includes nine tracks with intimate and stimulating lyrics accompanied by a

Bettendorf native singer-songwriter has a very productive pandemic - New baby, new album

Molly Conrad in her first official music video, “You Don’t Look Like You’re Dying”.

Indie / alternative atmosphere. In addition to work by Conrad and DeVor, the record features Buffalo musician John Franco (her husband) on guitar and bass and was mastered by Kerry Tucker, St. Ambrose teacher and Quad-City musician (member Einstein’s Sister).

“Light of the Dark” was recorded “in 3 days, which seems impossible when I listen to it,” Conrad recently posted on Facebook. “Alex Devor, sound engineer, mixer, keyboardist, producer, friend, worked hard and it shows. The album wouldn’t be what it was without him.

Conrad has lived in four states and toured many parts of the United States and northern Germany. She lived and worked in Nashville from 2015 to late 2017 (where she recorded her previous album, “Mind Over Mirror” with DeVor), then moved to Minneapolis for a year. Conrad has moved to Buffalo since her husband (they met in Nashville) grew up there; they got married in 2019.

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Conrad had his first child, Timothy, in December 2020, his personal pandemic plan.

“I kept thinking that I wasn’t creating, I wasn’t doing anything, but I was literally creating life, like a human being,” she said in a recent phone interview. “In fact, there was a certain lull in my creative process. I had already written a lot of songs. It’s just, I didn’t have time to record them because of the life and the movement and the baby and everything. While I was pregnant I was so absorbent and I feel like it’s

Bettendorf native singer-songwriter has a very productive pandemic - New baby, new album

Conrad is a 29-year-old native of Bettendorf who had her first child last December.

also necessary in order to create some sort of takeover of everything, pause and exit. So, I was not as prolific as usual, but I kept reminding myself that I was creating life, which is the greatest creation. So, but then I came back and started writing a lot this year. And I feel like during the pandemic, I feel like I wish we could do anything. And since it’s time for us to do everything, but then it’s like hard to really do it.

Conrad described his style as “emotional singer-songwriter vibes. I feel like I’m singing more about life in general and the different ups and downs rather than focusing on certain relationships, ”she said. “I feel like it’s more my internal struggle, like there’s anxiety and just a tinge of emotion in this one that feels true to me and who I am and who I think about. that a lot of people are. I feel like a lot of people have all kinds of feelings and then we value the more positive ones. So it’s like you’re happy, right? But so, it kind of shows with a lot of different feelings that come from just being a person in the world. “

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The first song on the record (“Devin”) is about social anxiety, “which I think could be linked to a lot of people after Covid-19,” she said.

She has worked with Kerry Tucker (her teacher and mentor from St. Ambrose, her alma mater) on all of her albums.

“Everything I learned from him has helped me. You know, he always told me that I would show him a song that I wrote, and I would say, help me play them better or something, and then he would say no, ”Conrad recalls. “He would tell me to keep things that I had as they were, so that he could help me by encouraging me, for example, to accept myself. And to continue writing, he always encouraged me. Every time we caught up with each other he would say, so do you still write? He gave me the freedom and independence to write, and I would show him songs and he would show my support, but yet having that support to carry on and accept myself made me accept more of my style of writing. ‘writing. Because it’s a little different from traditional pop.

The title track, “Light of the Dark,” has Conrad shedding light on the hard times (also very relatable), but also finding the silver lining in the clouds.

“It’s like accepting both sides of it too, because it can be difficult but life can also be brilliant,” she said. “There is a silver lining and it is also normal that there is also a struggle. And like, I’m just going through this life and I don’t really know what I’m doing. I just try to laugh about it sometimes, I guess.

Bettendorf-native singer-songwriter has a very productive pandemic - New baby, new album

The cover of Conrad’s new record, “Light of the Dark”.

During the Covid shutdowns, Conrad has been broadcasting live and posting videos. She filmed two official music videos for the new record, made in Rochester, NY. You can see the first one, for “You Don’t Look Like You’re Dying”, HERE. She did a few outdoor concerts prior to the album’s release, most notably at the Crawford Brew Works in Bettendorf last July. Conrad did an album release gig in Buffalo in mid-October.

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“There’s definitely something about having a live audience that changes what a performance is,” she said. “This energy. You can play whatever you want on your own, but this connection really puts a spark in the music. The music scene in Buffalo is pretty strong, Conrad said. “It reminds me of the Quad-Cities. A lot right now there are pockets of live music and a great community that they are building, ”she said, noting that they have a big outdoor festival in September called Music is Art, started by the bassist of the Goo Goo Dolls.

“This festival is always free. So there are every year, ”said Conrad. “They have different things, like workshops and co-writing and songwriting sessions. Different things they do every week. Yeah, it’s really taken.

His home music studio proved to be very convenient to record, so Conrad could watch his baby and breastfeed him during the writing and recording process. DeVor came from Nashville for the sessions. She hopes to be back in Quebec to play live in December.

“Light of the Dark” is available on Spotify, Apple Music and iTunes. For more information, visit www.mollyconradmusic.com.

Bettendorf native singer-songwriter has a very productive pandemic - New baby, new album

Jonathan Turner has covered the Quad-Cities art scene for 25 years, first as a reporter for the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, then as a reporter for the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has often been seen on local theater stages including the Bucktown Revue and the Black Box Theater.


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