Cincinnati's Mol Sullivan Is Having a Big ‘Little’ Breakthrough

Sullivan's new EP A Little Hello may be her most cohesive body of work yet.

Feb 8, 2023 at 5:06 am
click to enlarge Mol Sullivan's new EP A Little Hello is out now. - Photo: Brooke Shanesy, Jessie Cundiff, Kinsley Slife, Jessie Hoffman and Andrew Elaban
Photo: Brooke Shanesy, Jessie Cundiff, Kinsley Slife, Jessie Hoffman and Andrew Elaban
Mol Sullivan's new EP A Little Hello is out now.

This story is featured in CityBeat's Feb. 8 print issue.

If you’ve been paying attention to the Cincinnati music scene over the last decade, you’ve probably heard of Mol Sullivan.

The singer-songwriter has been performing around the city since the early 2010s. She’s toured the country, been an NPR #DeskoftheDay pick and filmed a colorful music video in a public pool.

But this month, Sullivan arrived at another landmark in her music career when she released her new EP A Little Hello on Ruination Record Co., a small label based in Chicago and New York.

“This is not only the first body of work that I’m releasing with a label,” Sullivan tells CityBeat, “but it’s also the first body of work that’s, like, cohesively, thoughtfully produced.”

Sullivan has been busy over the last several months creating content and promotional materials to accompany A Little Hello, which was released Feb. 3. As CityBeat speaks with Sullivan, she’s on her way to do the second round of edits for the cowgirl-themed music video for her song “Bury the Hatchet.” It’s one of three music videos she’s put out for the EP—four if you count the bonus track “Deep End Dive.”

There’s a lot that can go into releasing an album, and in an ideal world artists would have an entire team working with them to make it happen. In her career, Sullivan has juggled much of it herself, but hopefully not for much longer.

“Mostly the label stuff is for the support that that brings and working to have a team that can help automate some of the backend work that goes into all this,” she says. “I don’t want to burn out. I’m grinding right now in the hopes of having a sustainable future.”

Even with the videos almost complete, the songs finished, the promotional photos taken and the band rehearsed for tour, Sullivan has loose ends to tie up. And when asked how it feels to be nearing the end of this process, she gives a delightfully unconventional answer that epitomizes the playfulness behind many of her songs and visuals.

“[It’s] like I’m getting ready to go to the Christmas event, and I’ve got my holiday shopping done, and I have everything wrapped up with a beautiful bow, but I’m still panicking to, like, get my side dish done. And I’m gonna be 20 minutes late,” she laughs.

And in case fans need a visual aid for the metaphor, the side dish is green bean casserole.

“I’m a total slut for green bean casserole,” she says. “But with fresh green beans – no canned business.” If the extra content is the side dish, then A Little Hello is the main course. Its six tracks span a seven-year period of Sullivan’s life, dipping back into a pre-sobriety era and evolving into the person Sullivan has become.

Sullivan’s lyrics and vocal performance play with both the heavy and the light. “Bury the Hatchet” for instance, takes the listener on a swift emotional journey from a lamenting and heartfelt “What a shame” to an equally sincere “Yeehaw!” All six tracks are earnest and complex, and the credits are filled with familiar names from the Cincinnati music scene, like Alessandro Corona and members of WHY? There’s the upbeat, piano-driven opener and title track “A Little Hello,” featuring Stephen Patota (Flocks) on guitar, the ethereal waltz “Fight 4 U,” and “Rounder” with Victoria Lekson on harp, plus two bonus tracks, including “Golden” which has the voices of Brianna Kelly, Kate Wakefield, Jess Lamb and Sara Hutchinson.

Sullivan says that some of her best experiences as a musician have been collaborations, and she’s excited to be in a position to open that door for others.

“It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s engaging, and I wanted some of my favorite voices to be featured on a song,” she says. “I’m really looking forward to expanding the collaborative horizons in the future. I think it’s just a really fun way to be supported by and support my community.”

With the EP out in the world, Sullivan turns her attention to touring and prepping for more upcoming releases. She starts this month with shows on the East Coast. Next, she and her band are heading west before returning to Cincinnati for a release show at Northside Tavern on March 3. And as far as Sullivan is concerned, the tour will be a success no matter how it turns out.

“Having great shows and having a great reception—that’s all incredible,” she says. “[But] touring, itself, is the prize. I love traveling, I love spending time with my friends and making music and meeting new people.”

For how busy Sullivan has been in preparing for the release of A Little Hello, she seems impressively calm. She says she is embracing the uncertainty that comes with new releases with a positive outlook—one that could help any creative maintain sanity.

“I have no control over how it’s received, how well things perform,” Sullivan says. “I’m not writing for that. I’m just writing what I feel like. My goal has been to make things that I am proud of, and I’m just so excited that these things that I’ve been excited about for so long are just like — they’re done.”

Mol Sullivan’s A Little Hello and accompanying videos are out now. Info:

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