Emily Molloy was heading to Los Angeles anyway, but after winning the sixth annual Whistler Music Search it would be safe to say that she might not need a plane to get there.
Interviewed the morning after the competition, which took place at the Crystal Lounge on Thursday, Oct. 22, she says she's not yet down from the clouds. There are more than a few laughs between sentences.
"Oh God, I left all my stuff everywhere last night. It was so much fun," she says.
"What a week, I'm blown away. Overwhelmed, actually."
Molloy had a few fans in the house, including some buddies who had rigged up a letter "E" with LED lighting.
"Oh my gosh! Where did that even come from? When they threw that up I almost started to cry," she says.
A wildcard from the first week of the competition, Molloy is a high-energy singer-songwriter who performed her own original songs in the final — which along with bragging rights brought $500 and professional video and recording support from WMN Studios in Function Junction to the winner.
"I was really nervous about it because all the performers were so amazing. I feel like I had squeaked in (to the final), I do. I just really wanted to showcase all of the different genres that I can go with," she says.
Placing with Molloy was James Gray in second place, and Eric & Brad in third.
The win is one of many recent firsts for 30-year-old Molloy.
"I went onstage thinking I would just be me. I've been nervous for a week and I didn't know what I would play, except for one song that I had just written four days ago," she says.
That song, "Sometime," is a ballad and contrasted with the higher-octane rock of the rest of Molloy's set. It was written with her new collaborator Nino Celella of Sound & Soul Studios in Squamish, who performed alongside her on the keyboards.
"I have been in the studio with Nino quite a bit and collaborating. He's been writing all the piano," Molloy says.
"I've only known him for about a month. We met through mutual friends and he came to one of my shows and asked if I wanted to start writing music with him. I've never collaborated in writing music before."
Her interest in music is longstanding and she began to get serious a decade ago.
"I picked up a guitar 10 years ago and started singing. I had always written poetry when I was a kid, listening to Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt. I would listen to Gwen Stefani and other amazing singer-songwriters and I kind of idolized them when I was younger," she says. "I knew it was what I wanted to do, powerhouse rock and roll."
Originally from the small town of Meaford on the shores of Georgian Bay on Lake Ontario, Molloy first moved to Whistler 12 years ago.
Asked what made her want to shift from cottage country Ontario to cabin country B.C., she laughs and says she originally wanted to teach skiing. Until very recently, she was a massage therapist at the Whistler Day Spa.
For the past two years she has regularly performed and toured with in the Will Ross Band, whose frontman won the 2014 Whistler Music Search.
Molloy has one album out, Brave, released last year. She is in the middle of creating her second, as yet unnamed, at Sound & Soul.
"I've almost finished writing it. I haven't started recording it yet," she says.
This brings us back to L.A.; it's another first for Molloy as she hasn't been there before.
It turns out that the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) has a "writing house" in the city, which is where Molloy is headed.
"As a member, they have benefits and you can stay in L.A. for up to two weeks for free. You can go down there and stay and hang out. They give you a roster of places to go and things to see," she says.
"I can't perform unless it's an open mic because I don't have a visa yet, but I'm going to go check it out. I'm nervous and excited and all those things."
While in L.A., Molloy wants to organize a future tour in the U.S. and get to know where to perform, explaining that the chicken-and-egg situation about playing south of the border is that she can't get a visa without gigs, but needs the visa to work.
"So I'm my own booking agent. I have to figure out the scene and where I want to play," she says.
"When I come back I'll be doing music full time."