© 2024 Public Radio Tulsa
800 South Tucker Drive
Tulsa, OK 74104
(918) 631-2577

A listener-supported service of The University of Tulsa
classical 88.7 | public radio 89.5
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Meet Molly Lewis, professional whistler

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

At the Academy Awards this weekend, there will be Oscars handed out for a range of talents, from best director to best makeup. But, of course, any movie requires so many more professionals in a variety of fields. Take some of the work that went into a scene from "Barbie" where Barbie goes back in time and...

MOLLY LEWIS: She kind of opens a door and enters a room where she meets the creator of Barbie. And there's a radio playing and - in the room, and it's playing this song.

SHAPIRO: That is Molly Lewis, and her job is - well, we're going to let her tell you.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANDREW WYATT, MARK RONSON AND MOLLY LEWIS' "MEETING RUTH")

LEWIS: I'm a musician, and I happen to be a professional whistler. I always brace myself for that what-do-you-do question. I know there's going to be a long conversation after that when I say I'm a whistler. And I understand why. It's not very common that you meet a whistler. You know, I didn't move to Hollywood to become a professional whistler. I've been really blown away, for lack of a better term, at the opportunities and the things that have come about because of this talent.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANDREW WYATT, MARK RONSON AND MOLLY LEWIS' "MEETING RUTH")

LEWIS: When I was 22, I went to a whistling competition in North Carolina. So for the classical category, I chose the "Queen Of The Night" aria from "The Magic Flute," you know, wanting to do something complex and difficult. (Whistling). I did learn after I did this at the competition that this song is extremely common. I would never perform this one again, just because it's really basic. You know, people have said to me, oh, you must be so happy, you're whistling all the time. But, you know, whistling is - for me, it's emotional. I'm playing this instrument, so I'm kind of whistling through all feelings.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOLLY LEWIS' "CRUSHED VELVET")

LEWIS: The music that I'm creating with whistle, it's definitely not just a happy jingle sound.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOLLY LEWIS' "MOON TAN")

LEWIS: It kind of crosses many different emotional territories.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOLLY LEWIS' "COCOSETTE")

LEWIS: Over the years just because I've been whistling, I have had some incredible interactions with people and animals that have felt very magical.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOLLY LEWIS' "COCOSETTE")

LEWIS: I was whistling on my balcony. A guy walking past on the street yelled up, are you Molly the whistler? I've also talked to an 18-year-old parrot before, an African grey. And that bird really was incredible. We definitely had a romance.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOLLY LEWIS' "COCOSETTE")

LEWIS: I guess people often think of whistling as a little earworm jingle thing, maybe, or maybe some catchy, annoying riff that they've heard. You know, I get it. Like, any instrument can be really annoying if people are playing it badly. But I do want people to think about whistling differently, and I hope people do after they hear my music.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOLLY LEWIS' "PORQUE TE VAS")

SHAPIRO: Molly Lewis' new album is "On The Lips." Our story was produced by Matt Ozug.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOLLY LEWIS' "PORQUE TE VAS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Matt Ozug
William Troop
William Troop is a supervising editor at All Things Considered. He works closely with everyone on the ATC team to plan, produce and edit shows 7 days a week. During his 30+ years in public radio, he has worked at NPR, at member station WAMU in Washington, and at The World, the international news program produced at station GBH in Boston. Troop was born in Mexico, to Mexican and Nicaraguan parents. He spent most of his childhood in Italy, where he picked up a passion for soccer that he still nurtures today. He speaks Spanish and Italian fluently, and is always curious to learn just how interconnected we all are.