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London, England, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 1987 | SELF

London, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Established on Jan, 1987
Band Pop Folk


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"MOLLY, Madame Jojo's review"

The 27-year-old singer-songwriter Molly Smitten-Downes – known on-stage as Molly – was plucked from obscurity by the BBC in March, named as the act representing Britain at this year's Eurovision Song Contest. There was a general murmur of surprise. After a policy of sending once-huge, now-desperate acts (Engelbert Humperdinck; Bonnie Tyler) to Eurovision with little success in recent years, either the BBC has consciously gone for a completely different strategy or it has run out of money.
Molly may actually be a shrewd choice. Britain hasn't been represented by a singer-songwriter since we won with Katrina and the Waves in 1997, and it is quite the fashion at Eurovision now to send a young, creative act that can deliver a song live.
In many ways, Molly fits the bill. She has plenty of charming, folky electropop songs up her sleeve, even if none was particularly groundbreaking during a 40-minute "introductory" live set at the intimate nightclub Madame Jojo's in Soho.
Her sound sits somewhere between Duffy and Florence Welch, the Welch connection highlighted by a persistent twinkling synth harp and cowbell. Appearing with a Seventies-style headband on her long wavy hair, Molly looked quite a lot like Emmelie de Forest, last year's Eurovision winner for Denmark, though with added kickass knee-high boots.
First, the good news: she can definitely sing. Unlike some of Britain's previous Eurovision entries, Molly is a safe pair of lungs, with a gift for euphoric, swooping choruses textured by a lovely bluesy rasp.
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Her Eurovision party piece, Children of the Universe, was preceded by a string of up-to-date pop songs with plenty of country-influenced attitude and a strain of contemporary funk. Best of the lot was the staccato waltz Please Don't Leave, where lush strings fell away from a dubstep chorus that gave sentimentality a wide berth.
Stage presence was a bit of a problem, though. Molly's nervy giggles and very British understatement ("I wrote this song for a little competition . . . called Eurovision") might not wash when she's in sole command of the 10,000-seater B&W Hallerna in Copenhagen next month.
Can Molly's Eurovision song work live and under pressure? It might be soaked with lyrical cliches ("Power to the people", "Shining like diamonds", "I'll never walk alone"), but the stomp-stomp beat and singalong gospel refrains lent themselves well to the dance floor and were difficult to shake off on the way home. It was a long way from nul points, and thank goodness for that. - Telegraph


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy