Singer, Songwriter: Andrea Molina Dropping Her First Album This Year
Feature Story by Melisa Lewis
Sitting at the local coffee shop with Andrea Molina, she told me one of her goals was to sing the National Anthem before a baseball game. I asked her if a little league game would allow her to check this off her wish list and with a toothy grin, she said it would. In the time I had the pleasure of getting to know Molina, we discussed her dreams of becoming a singer, current business opportunities, her beautiful girls, and passions in life.
The first time Molina sang in front of an audience was at her South Carroll High School’s Senior Memory Night. The room was filled with her peers and their families, though notably absent were her own parents. Days before her performance, she gathered enough courage to admit to her parents that she wanted to be a professional singer. The news was met with disbelief and frustration and ended with her parents refusing to see her performance.
Before that fateful night, anxiety had kept Molina from sharing her dreams with her family; and rightly so, it seemed. With age came self-awareness and fear of judgment. Even though Molina continued to practice singing over the years, she did so in private. It was less intimidating to be young and singing with the princesses on television than it was to tell her parents she wanted to attend college and study music and vocals. She described what it was like to search for quiet places to practice her craft alone, “When I would be home alone, I’d go in the garage, and the acoustics in the garage is [sic] the best. Second is the bathroom.” By repeatedly singing cover songs, as well as opera, until she excelled at them, her practice continued as often as she could find the time. Usually, it came to an abrupt end when her parents pulled into the driveway.
Through this self-exploration of her talent, Molina was discovering a new world filled with possibilities. In high school, her parents scoffed at her desire to be a professional vocalist. Most parents have hopes and dreams for their children, and her parents were no different. They feared pursuing a singing career would set her up for failure or a life full of obstacles not easily overcome. This did not stop Molina as she belted out the song she wrote called, Class of 96, for that unforgettable Senior Memory Night. Her beautiful words celebrated a monumental time for Molina and her fellow seniors. An emotional audience gave a standing ovation.
From there, her courage slowly gained speed, yet going to college to pursue singing felt impossible without the support of her parents. Feeling as though she had few options and unsure of her direction, Molina enlisted in the United States Army. She began basic training in September 1996 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. She took to the culture and later transferred to Fort Sill, Oklahoma where she joined the third corps Artillery Army Choir. Molina fondly recalls her drill sergeant who would often shout, “Sing Molina!” to heighten the morale of the troops. That choir was her first experience with vocal training, and she became more comfortable with the idea of singing in front of others. The anxiety and fear began to dissipate, and she discovered comfort and strength in belting out songs for others.
After completing her military training, Molina was discharged before the war with Iraq. She was willing to go to Iraq, but her service with the Army was fulfilled, and it was time for her to move on. Now a military veteran, Molina returned to school at Morgan State University and studied music. The teachers were strenuous, but she felt she learned a lot in the one semester she was able to attend. Unfortunately, with the increased cost of school and the birth of her first daughter, Molina had to find a more practical way to pursue her dreams of becoming a singer.
Not long after that, Molina joined Saint John’s Catholic Church’s choir and Crossroads Restoration, where she went through Bible College and became a worship leader. This was a great way to connect with others and practice her craft as well as earn extra income. It created a place to showcase her passion for everyone to see, especially her parents. Upon seeing Molina perform they were overwhelmed by her abilities, and her family finally overcame their fears and began to support and push her towards the art of song. When Pastor Edwin “Tito” Matos of the Crossroads Restoration retired, Molina left the choirs but continued to connect with musicians by joining Wisdom Court Entertainment, a music production company based in Baltimore, Maryland. This allowed her the opportunity to record music and sing backup for other artists, such as the up and coming to hip-hop artist Billy Lyve.
As life moves in unexpected ways, Molina moves with it, her music a steadfast companion. Today Molina is the owner of a promising cleaning business and is attending classes to become a Registered Dietician. She says her heart is divided between two passions: nourishing the body through food and music. Even with a full plate, Molina finds the time to work on her very first album, titled Love Does Not Compare, due to be released before the end of 2018. All eleven tracks have been recorded and are undergoing final tweaks and production. Molina describes her creative process as magical: “When you do your craft, and you do it with your whole heart, you put your whole mind and body in full and everything in it. It’s like a form of worship, and things come out of that. Your full potential. Your best work. Hard days can lead to good songs.”
Molina cultivates her craft in many ways and enjoys performing in talent shows, church choirs, celebrations, and other paid occasions. She also loves to join in vocal efforts with her daughters Janiyal and Isis, who have also sung backup with various artists at Wisdom Court Entertainment. When asked to define her musical genre, Molina struggles to claim just one, though she loves opera. Her album will be classified as Christian based but will include many styles including hip-hop, soul, rock, acoustic, and R&B.
When asked where she gets her spirit for the song, Molina explains it definitely didn’t come from her mother who has other interests, and that she has never met her biological father. In the midst of recording her first album, Molina sought to find and connect with her biological father as well as her half-sister and brother. Curious, her half-sister welcomed an open line of communication; however, her father stated he was not interested in speaking to her and discouraged his children from further contact. Confused and hurt, Molina chooses to move on in hopes that maybe one day he will change his mind.
As she moves into the next phase of her musical career, one area in which Molina admits to lacking experience is in self-promotion. Noting the oddity of boasting about herself, and marketing her music or herself on social media, she is interested in learning more and taking the steps needed to get her album into the hands of the people who would enjoy it. Wearing her heart on her sleeve and practicing a craft that is embedded in her soul, Molina looks forward to the upcoming release of her first album and seeing where her singing career takes her.
To contact Andrea Molina, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find her on LinkedIn and view sample recordings on her YouTube page titled He Is Who I Love (no spaces). Eager to share her passion for song and music, Molina is available for personal and professional events. So you can hear for yourself just how beautifully Molina sings check her out!
Photo Credit: Melisa Lewis
Special thank you to Andrea Molina for being so candid and allowing me to test the waters in writing my first feature story.