It’s amazing that we took this long to interview Molly’s stepson, Liam, for our Student Spotlight. We thought that it seemed appropriate that he get interviewed for the 10-year anniversary of Molly’s Music. He began taking lessons when he was 10, joining the original OC Glee group a couple years later and singing his first solo, “Viva La Vida,” at the OC Fair. Since then, he’s worked with a few of our most beloved teachers and currently studies guitar and voice with Ben W. A fun fact you may not know about Liam is that he took a musical theatre course with Rebecca Black at El Rancho Middle School right before her infamous Friday song hit the airwaves.
MM: How long ago did you get started with music, and how did you get into it?
LW: I think it started as more of a hobby. I don’t really think it became something I worked at until I was able to play a song called Never Had, by Oscar Isaac. After that I really started to put in a lot more effort towards music.
MM: What are your musical goals, and what steps are you taking to reach them?
LW: I really would just like to be able to look, and know how to play a song by looking at the music. So right now I’m working on reading music with my teacher. The reading part is the hardest by far of the skills I’ve had to work on. I would say it’s similar to learning a new language.
MM: You sing, play the guitar, and act. Do you have a favorite out of the three?
LW: I actually really enjoy playing guitar, so I would have to say guitar is by far my favorite out of those three.
MM: What was it like being in OC Glee when it started?
LW: I remember really enjoying it. Everyone seemed really close, and there was kind of a sense of community. It was really enjoyable to watch it work its way from the ground up.
MM: I know you went to El Rancho and took musical theatre with Rebecca Black. What was she like?
LW: She was really nice and a very hard worker. I think people, even the ones who knew her, forgot that once she became famous. Everyone started to talk about how entitled and spoiled she was, but that wasn’t what her personality was like at all.
MM: How have your musical tastes and abilities changed since starting out in music?
LW: Well, once I started to really get into the guitar, I noticed that I paid attention to the instrumental part of the music and less to the singing. I don’t mean to say that singing isn’t an integral part. In fact, it’s probably one of the harder skills to master when it comes to music as a whole, but when I say I started to pay less attention to the singing I mean that; when I heard a song it wasn’t just the voice that I heard anymore, but all the other instruments that make that sound.
MM: Who are a few bands/artists who have inspired you, and why? What genre do you like most, or hear your own vocal style in when you listen to it?
LW: I remember as I was growing up I would listen to artists like Death Cab for Cutie, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros, Passenger, Mumford and Sons, Iron and Wine, and Brett Dennen. When I play guitar I like to switch up the sound a little, so I’m always trying to find new techniques to help me have a different sound. The group that I probably enjoyed interpreting the most was Iron and Wine. I think if I were to narrow down a genre that I listen to frequently it would probably be alternative. At least that’s what I think I end up sounding like when I play guitar.
MM: Can you share about a technique, skill, or song you struggled with, and how you are overcoming or have overcome it?
LW: Well, when I first started playing guitar it was incredibly difficult to get the kind of sound that I wanted when there weren’t tabs or any kind of support to figure out the chords to the song. So if it were a pop song, I would remember that most pop songs usually are G, D, E, Am, or D major.
MM: What advice would you give to other students just starting out?
LW: I would probably tell them to stick with it. The way it worked for me was that for the first three months playing guitar was fun. It was new, and I did it pretty consistently. After those three months though, I really didn’t practice all that much and unsurprisingly, I started to suck. Then I heard a song I liked called Never Had, and when I heard that song it inspired me to get back into guitar. It wasn’t that it was that great of a song but something in my head just kept me going at the song until I finally got it down. And now I practice almost every day, so I guess my point to that long-winded story is to stick with something even when it gets boring, because eventually you’ll hit a wall, and the only way you’ll get over that wall is if you keep practicing.