When 19-year-old Molly Hocking won The Voice UK in 2019, the world was her oyster. A wistful, quiet life in St Ives, Cornwall had not prepared the singer-songwriter for the fast-paced, hungry, cut-throat music industry or busy streets of London, but, as an avid surfer quite accustomed to deep waters, Hocking dove fearlessly in anyway.
Signed to Polydor Records, Hocking took to the studio, co-penned handfuls of tracks and prepped for a big debut back on The Voice UK’s stage – but no amount of newcomer hype could stand up against the pandemic, which put a spanner in the way of her big break. Somewhat a determined dreamer, Hocking waited patiently to take her plunge, uninterrupted. She’d already waited for so many years, between an elimination from The X-Factor in 2017 and her winning stint on The Voice UK – so what’s seven months?
Today, Hocking has finally dropped her anticipated debut “After the Night Before”, a young-love’s heartache single that perfectly soundtracks a lonely autumnal walk through crunchy auburn leaves. With an accompanying video and a return to The Voice UK on Saturday 7th November, fans of the singer’s journey will see Hocking finally stand centre stage once more. And, with news that Hocking will tour alongside Olly Murs – previously her mentor on The Voice UK – in the new year, it’s touching to see the singer’s moment in the spotlight has only just begun.
To mark the release of the single, House of Solo spoke with Hocking to explore the track, her life under lockdown, a planned EP for a 2021 release and her dream collaborations.
Hi! Thankyou for chatting to me!
You’re from St Ives in Cornwall (UK), are you still there now? Is that where you’ve been holding up during quarantine?
Yes, I’m still living in St Ives. I’ve been in St Ives, living with my mum and dad and little brother Ted during the quarantine. The weather was amazing, and the beaches were empty, so I felt very lucky to have the best of both worlds. St Ives and Cornwall are stunning. […] St Ives will always be my first home, but I absolutely love the excitement and businesses of London when I’m here – and the shops! The fashion is amazing! I can [finally] get out of my surf wear!
It’s been a mad year, particularly to follow winning The Voice UK in 2019. What’s it been like for you?
I have always wanted to perform and follow my passion for music, but without the platform from The Voice UK it would have been tougher – the music industry is cut-throat. Life after The Voice was busy, but the personal journey I went on through the programme was my biggest achievement. It has given me a great platform, but the hard work starts now – in getting the music industry to believe in me and take me seriously.
So, I have concentrated over the last eight months in surrounding myself with good, genuine people in the business. Although, I still need a champion – someone already famous who will take me under their wing. If I could choose, it would be Adele or Elton John. They both have longevity and seem to lead their own lives as well which is important.
I know you had to postpone your new single when Covid-19 hit, too. It must have been hard to put everything on hold when you had so much planned.
I was really busy after The Voice. Straight after, I went into the studio with some of the most talented producers and writers and [co-wrote] around 15 original songs. I geared up to release my single – I had just finished filming my music video in March – and I was ready to go back onto The Voice and perform when Covid hit… and everything stopped. I was gutted. I’m so excited to start getting my music out there now.
I imagine, like for a lot of artists, that song-writing been somewhat of a saving grace during this extra time, to keep you busy?
[I actually] released some dance music under a pseudonym during lockdown which actually did quite well on the club charts – more to follow on that soon.
You’ve had an incredible journey and such huge, rapid success. I imagine that could’ve come as quite a shock… what’s it been like to be able to follow your passion?
It will still be hard to fulfil my dream. The toughest challenge will be getting radio airplay. Without that, people won’t download or stream which is so important for people to see me as a credible artist, but I am determined not to disappear anytime soon.
Well it’s great news that it’s new single week! The new song, “After the Night Before” – can you tell me a bit about what this song is about for you?
I think “After the Night Before” will relate to everyone. It’s about losing something. For me, it was about a short relationship and heartache (surprise, surprise!) but I think it can also be about falling out with a friend or family member. It’s a power ballad – I was inspired by Adele. She’s a great storyteller and I think this song does exactly that and is [a bit] different to the music out there at the moment – hopefully it will set me apart from the rest.
And you’ll be performing the song on Saturday 7th November on The Voice UK – how does it feel to not only be taking to the stage again but to be heading back to The Voice? Will it be strange performing in front of Olly Murs again, but this time as a guest performer?
I cannot wait to go back and see everyone on The Voice this weekend. They felt like family to me and doing the show was like being in a bubble. I was sad when it was over! So, going back – especially seeing Olly who has been a great support – will be fantastic. To perform my first original single will be surreal. If you had told me three years ago I would be doing this, I would have laughed! I’m a normal girl from Cornwall who just likes to sing! But it’s brilliant and I have waited a year and a half for this platform again and for my moment, so I need to smash it.
“After the Night Before” is set to be the first single on a new EP scheduled for next year – could you tell me a bit about the project and the songs you’ve been working on?
I’m hoping to get more of my original songs out in an EP shortly after this release. I’ve been lucky enough to co-write with some of the best musicians and have a wide mix of different songs, from my trademark ballads to more upbeat songs that show a different side of me. I would love to collaborate with someone like Sigala or Rudimental in a dance track of some sort like Becky Hill, who is doing brilliantly at the moment, which is so deserved.
In terms of sound and artistry, who is a big inspiration to the music you’ve been making?
My biggest inspiration is probably Eva Cassidy, and I have been lucky enough to be compared to her. That is a huge compliment. I also think Gary Barlow is fab. He’s a great songwriter and performer. And of course, I can’t forget Olly (Murs). He’s a brilliant entertainer too.
Finally, what are you looking forward to in the new year?
I’m looking forward to next year and getting a band to work with. I’ve spent most of my career so far singing on my own, so to work with some likeminded musicians will be such fun and a great support. I will also be supporting Olly (Murs) on his tour next year which is very exciting! Watch this space!
Stream Molly Hocking’s new single “After the Night Before” on streaming platforms.