“I believe that kissing has its advantages”: the talented whistler who is sought after by Dr. Dre, Barbie, and Karen O.

“I believe that kissing has its advantages”: the talented whistler who is sought after by Dr. Dre, Barbie, and Karen O.

If you come across Molly Lewis at a social gathering and request for her to whistle a melody, she will likely refuse. After having a martini, her ability to perform may be affected – just as you may have stumbled over your words while making the request.

Typically, she is not overly concerned about her abilities. Lewis maintains a constant smile as she shares, “As long as I am able to breathe, I can whistle.” She recalls a fellow whistler who refused to kiss his wife for two weeks leading up to a competition. Lewis, on the other hand, believes that kissing is actually beneficial as it strengthens the lips.

If you do not write lyrics, you must endure this alternative analysis.

Lewis, a Sydney native currently residing in Los Angeles, has achieved a remarkable career as a professional whistler, living a surreal lifestyle. With her lips as her preferred instrument, she has become a sought-after collaborator since entering the competitive world of whistling in 2012. Some of her notable collaborations include working with Dr. Dre, Karen O, and Mac DeMarco. The New Yorker described her talent as a blend of “part Snow White communing with the birds, part haunted theremin.” She has been invited to New York to contribute to the Barbie soundtrack alongside Mark Ronson, to Shanghai for an art exhibition hosted by Gucci, and to the Cannes film festival as a guest of Chanel. To avoid any confusion at customs, she has listed “musician” as her occupation on her passport.

Now, she’s releasing a long-awaited debut album, On the Lips, a deft odyssey through exotica, jazz clubs, bossa nova beats and Italian cinema powered by the pathos of Lewis’ whistling.

“I consider myself fortunate to have monopolized the market,” Lewis states. “I am quite competitive and have discovered a niche where there is minimal competition. When individuals seek a skilled whistler, they often turn to me.”

Musician Molly Lewis in front of a front lit backdrop

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Although Lewis may present herself as elegant with her velvet attire, she is often dressed casually when we have conversations.

She expresses her fondness for that time period, but she doesn’t incorporate it into every aspect of her life. She doesn’t want to be someone who is simply playing dress-up with the past.

Her attention to detail is immaculate. In the video for her single Lounge Lizard, she’s a glamorous apparition on a spiral staircase. Her Cary Grant-esque co-star – who gamely simulates a sax solo – is a nod to her love of Hitchcock.

During her childhood, Lewis learned to play the soundtrack of the film noir, Laura, on the piano. She also paid careful attention to the melancholic whistling heard in Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western scores. Being raised by parents who were filmmakers with a unique sense of humor instilled in her an appreciation for atmosphere and campiness.

Lewis resided in Los Angeles until the age of 13, at which point her family relocated to Mullumbimby, a town in the northern rivers region of New South Wales known for its appeal to those with alternative lifestyles. Despite the initial culture shock, Lewis grew to appreciate and embrace her new home. She does not believe, however, that she could pursue a successful music career in that area, joking that perhaps she could perform duets with street musicians outside the local newsagent.

As a young person, Lewis watched the 2005 film “Pucker Up,” which features participants such as an investment banker, a social worker, and a turkey hauler competing at the International Whistlers Convention. Lewis recognized her own skill in whistling.

She expresses a long-standing fascination with unconventional subcultures, finding them amusing and intriguing. She anticipated the opportunity to observe and study such communities.

If she successfully auditioned, Mark Lewis, a documentary filmmaker, promised to take his daughter to Louisburg, North Carolina to compete. He had previously hired her for her first professional job, whistling on the soundtrack for his 2010 documentary Cane Toads: The Conquest. The music was overseen by Lewis’ mother, Rhyl, as usual.

Musician Molly Lewis poses in a white coat in front of a front lit backdrop

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In 2012, Lewis successfully qualified for the competition and went on a three-month road trip with her father in Florida, with the competition being their first destination. Although she did not win at that time, she would go on to achieve victory in subsequent years.

She stated that individuals were showcasing their top technical abilities by performing “Flight of the Bumblebee,” which was impressive. However, she desires for whistling to be heard in a more elegant and ethereal manner.

Following her studies in film history and theory at university, Lewis relocated to Berlin with her former partner and eventually returned to LA. It was in LA where she achieved success by winning a trophy at the 2015 Masters of Whistling competition. In the previous year, she also placed second in the all-round category.

She recalls, “The average age at my initial competition was quite high, but I’m only kidding. It wasn’t exactly a sport for the young. However, at the most recent competition I attended in Los Angeles a few months ago, the audience was noticeably younger.”

Could Lewis be credited as a major influence in this shift of demographics?

She responds, “Oh my, I’m not sure about that. It could be possible.”

For ten years, Lewis has been frequenting Hollywood lounge bars and making connections with others who share her love for retro culture. Now, she is preparing to relocate to New York to immerse herself in the city’s jazz clubs. No matter where she performs, Café Molly is the unique pop-up lounge experience she brings to life.

“I will carry my red velvet sunken piano lounge with me until I have my own,” she states. “If there are any investors interested in a guaranteed plan to earn a lot of money at a whistle club, please contact me.”

  • Molly Lewis’ new album “On the Lips” is now available on Jagjaguwar.

Source: theguardian.com