On the lips

LA musician Molly Lewis curates a playlist of songs to whistle to
By Barry Pierce | Music | 21 February 2024

As Lauren Bacall put it in Key Largo, “You know how to whistle, don’t you? You just put your lips together and blow.” If anyone is an expert at it, it’s Molly Lewis. A professional whistler, Lewis has worked with Dr. Dre and Karen O and recently featured on the track Meeting Ruth on the Barbie soundtrack.

Born in Sydney, Lewis’ first stepped up to the international whistling stage at the 2012 International Whistlers Convention in North Carolina and since then she has carved out a hugely successful career as a whistler. Recently, she has contributed music to fashion houses like Chanel, Gucci, and Hermes, and supported Weyes Blood on tour. She also runs the regular gig night in LA called Café Molly where everyone from John C. Reilly to Mac DeMarco has performed.

Marking the release of her debut LP On the Lips – a blending of classic Hollywood jazz clubs, Italian cinema soundtracks and lingering embraces between lovers – Lewis has curated a playlist of songs you can’t help but whistle along with.

Green Sea by Alberto Baldan Bembo
“This is the song that plays when I swan down my grand entry hall staircase to take the borzois out for an airing in the convertible.”

Rear Window Suite: II. Lisa by Intermezzo
“I listened to this often while in NYC last summer and it made me feel that life was very romantic and there was a mystery behind every window – even while dodging rats and bathed in sweat on an overcrowded subway.”

16 Waltzes, Op. 39: No. 9 In D Minor by Johannes Brahms, Idil Biret
“According to my music app this was my most listened to song of 2023. I didn’t even realise I’d listened to it so much. It’s just lilting and longing and the way it builds and falls makes my heart hurt.”

Ganglat efter Blecka by Merit Hemmingson
“This song always fulfils my very deep but misguided fantasy of somehow finding myself back in Medieval times.”

Doricamente by Ennio Morricone
“From the Maestro – this stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it.”

Island by Ken Nordine
“The King of Spoken Word strikes again with this perfectly melancholy monologue.”

My Mama Said by ABBA
“I thought I’d exhausted ABBA years ago but then I recently heard this banger.”

Spoiled by Your Love by Anita Ward
“I once listened to this song fourteen times in the car while on the way to have my heart broken and it still hasn’t spoiled it for me. That’s a powerful tune.”

California by Mylène Farmer
“There’s something about the way the French view California that really taps into my own cheesy love of LA and this song encapsulates that to me. The beginning with its sound effects of a cop car, hearing English words like “freeway” and “sexy” popping out here and there… it really gets me going.”

Flags of the World by The Zenmenn
“Put this on in the car while driving and try not to bop out. Impossible!”

Follow Molly Lewis on Instagram.
Molly’s album On the Lips is out now via Jagjaguwar

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