“What’s the cost of my happiness? What’s the cost of my passion?” said alternative singer-songwriter and Hudson Valley alumna Molly Durnin.
“I consider myself a professional musician,” said Durnin. After attending Hudson Valley over the course of five years, Durnin never thought she would end up being a musician.
“Never in a million years did I think I would end up doing this,” she said.
Durnin found herself settling at Hudson Valley into the early admissions program at 16. “I was struggling really hard in high school, it wasn’t the right environment for me and getting out of there really kept me in academia,” she said. Entering Hudson Valley in individual studies, Durnin switched between majors like environmental science and criminal justice, but graduated with a civil engineering tech degree.
“It was just the smarter choice. I have no college debt right now and not a lot of people can say that,” said Durnin.
Although Durnin didn’t start playing shows until college, she has a long history with music. After being put into piano lessons at eight years old, Durnin discovered her musical abilities. Around high school, Durnin started to compose her own pieces of music. “When my brother was in high school I started composing music for these videos because he’s a videographer, and that was really when I started to realize that I could write music,” she said.
Around 19-years-old, Durnin picked up the guitar and decided to teach herself to play. After discovering her talents, she started to write her own pieces, and had her first ever show in Troy’s Revolution Hall. Durnin was asked to open for Australian singer-songwriter Missy Higgins, and the show helped her realize her passion for music. “It was insanely eye opening for me that this feels right and I could do this — that was when I was bitten by the music bug and was addicted,” she said.
Although Durnin graduated Hudson Valley with intentions of using her civil engineering tech degree, after discovering music her second year into the program, her ideals shifted.
“I needed another way to make some sort of money while being in college so I started to play shows,” she said. Within the year of performing, Durnin decided that she would ditch her plans of using her degree and strictly pursue music.
Being a self-taught musician, Durnin feels that her music is mainly experimental. “It just kind of unravels itself, it’s not something I necessarily aimed for,” she said.
Durnin’s lyrics are just as experimental. “I feel like i’m influenced by some exterior spirit or something that’s just using me as a voice because sometimes it feels like I’m not even in control of what I’m saying,” said Durnin.
Although Durnin had success in the Capital Region, she found herself moving to get a new change of pace as well as putting extra cash in her pocket. Living in a tourist town in South Carolina, Durnin has found that she can maintain her lifestyle further away from home. “I can work six or seven shows a week in the summertime and that’s just not something I can find in New York,” she said.
Last month, Durnin did a tour of the East Coast and stopped back in Troy for a home show at The Hanger. “When I come back home I can’t believe the draw that I’m getting as a solo artist,” she said. Durnin attributes her success to the support of the Capital Region, partially why she comes home once a year to play shows.
“I give my musical success almost 100 percent to the support of everybody there. I don’t think I would have followed my passion to this extent without everybody’s support,” said Durnin.
Durnin self-released her first album, Run, in 2012 during her last semester of college. “I remember trying to record my album during finals week and it was a nightmare,” she said. Durnin recorded the album with 14 local musicians and the record became a collaborative effort of musicians in the 518.
Although Durnin had planned to release a follow-up to Run, she pulled the plug last minute on the project. “I pulled the plug because I wanted to take some time and find somebody to work with who could help me have a marketing plan and have some kind of idea of what I’m going to do with this album that’s going to help me get to the next level,” she said.
Durnin felt it was better to hold off on giving her fans new music until she had a firm marketing plan for herself. “I don’t ever want to be one of those people who rush a process just to have a product,” she said. Durnin plans to have a finished product out within the next year.