Sylvester Sessions #108

Sylvester Sessions #108

Sylvester Sessions #108

Molly Payton

Auckland, New Zealand
Molly wears pieces from High Winter 93 23
Photography by Olivia Renouf


Tell us about yourself, what you do and what inspires you?

I’m a musician and songwriter from Auckland. I moved to London at 16 and started my music career up over there before moving back here end of 2022. I write mostly about everything that’s happened in that time. I’m inspired by my friendships and relationships. Having such a turbulent lifestyle makes you realise that if you just have one or two solid people around you can get through a lot.


What are you working on at the moment - personally and professionally? 

Independence in both categories. In terms of my personal life, I’ve always been a bit codependent within relationships and friendships and this year so far has really been about pushing my own boundaries a little bit and starting to do things on my own a bit more. In terms of music, I’m currently without management and label for the first time since I was 16. I'm making my debut album and wanted to have complete creative freedom while doing so which meant parting ways with a lot of my team. Obviously this means financing things myself which is intimidating but I’m so much prouder of what I’ve made knowing it’s all me!


You are heading to Europe to play music for the next few weeks - tell us about your trip and what you are most excited about?

I am! I’m going on my own which is scary. Touring solo after touring with a band for 5 years is intimidating and can be lonely at times. Luckily I have lots of friends in the UK who I’m so excited to see again, and the festival I’m playing (Primavera Sound Madrid/Barcelona) is one I’ve always wanted to play! 


What are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment?

I’m 7 hours in to a 27 hour journey to London right now. My taste is rapidly declining the longer I stay awake. I started the flight reading Kate Morton’s 'Homecoming' and listened to 'Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You” which is one of my favourite albums by Big Thief. Somewhere around the 5 hour mark I fell into a bit of a ‘Bridget Jones Diary’ hole that I think might get me through the rest of the first flight.


Do you have any rituals in how you go about approaching song writing and performance?

Songwriting is what comes most naturally to me so I don’t really have any rituals or real systems around how I do it. If I’m in the right mood something good will happen, and if I try and force it it won’t! Performance is something I’ve had to really work on over the past few years and I still get really nervous before shows so I do have rituals around that. Recently I’ve started doing vocal warm ups before I play which really helps, and I’ve also tried to cut out drinking at all before I go on stage.


What is your favourite thing about the cooler months?

Probably the food. I love cooking and a lot of my favourite meals are very hearty wintery dishes. Everything just tastes better when it’s a bit cold and miserable outside.


How would you describe your personal style and what influences what you choose to wear?

I’m only 21 so It’s still changing a lot, I don’t like to pin point my style too much because I don’t want to limit myself or get stuck. At the moment I definitely like a messy rocky look but with pops of fun colour. I know that how I dress affects my mood and how I interact with the world so if I put that extra bit of effort in to find a really fun outfit I’ll usually have a better day because of it. 

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