Sukey Molloy Play, Move, & Sing
Sukey Molloy, founder of Play, Move & Sing. (Credit: Courtesy of Dyana Van Campen)

Sukey Molloy began her career as a modern dancer working in New York City. When she stopped dancing professionally, Molloy shifted to creating classes and workshops for children ages 5 and under. Those one-off sing-alongs and kids’ shows grew into seven albums full of children’s music and stories performed by her band, Sukey Molloy & Friends. Molloy then organized her efforts under one company, Play, Move & Sing. Today, the Nyack, New York-based artist continues to help children learn through her artistic creations – an ongoing journey that, she says, has been an “amazing path of discovery!”

Here’s our lightly edited Q&A, from The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project.

How is your business different from others in your industry?

It’s the way I interact with the children and families – whether I’m in the recording studio, on stage or in the classroom. I create connections by sharing, making eye contact, giving nodding approval, and encouraging everyone to sing and move along with me. The relationships need to be genuine and affirming, to give each person in the room a chance to feel their own sphere of presence, participation, space, and joy. 

There’s a child in each one of us who needs to be acknowledged and cared for, and every teacher and performer has a unique opportunity to bring a quality of sincerity, sharing and presence to their work. It is an honor to do so in mine.

Tell us about your biggest success so far. 

Each album has been my biggest success – until the next one comes along! This October, I am releasing a new winter holiday album called, “Snow Is Falling! Songs for Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa with Sukey Molloy.” I’m very excited about it!  And, it was pure joy bringing in my Sukey Molloy & Friends band members to play. 

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?

The music industry has changed a lot in recent years, and income from recorded music can be challenging to maintain. I continue teaching my music and movement programs, in part, to keep recording – but also, because I love what I do. 

Obstacles will always be there – it’s all about how we are when we meet them. For my part, I just keep digging down inside and searching for what is most meaningful.

Have you experienced any significant personal situations that have affected your business decisions?

In order to be able to teach, perform and create, I need to be in good physical shape. However, I struggle off-and-on with back issues, and have had to continually negotiate that as I go along. As a former dancer, I am familiar with injuries, aches and pains, and have come to accept that it’s part of the profession. Still, it requires intentional self care.

What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs? 

I have to keep finding relevance over the years to be successful. Having joy in my heart and a smile on my face goes a long way to bridge the gap, but income can be up and down. This work requires lots of ingenious creativity. 

How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?

I think about how special it is to share my music and movement with so many wonderful children and families over the years. My life has been made whole with this work, and I wish to continue creating and sharing as long as I can.

What is your go-to song to get motivated on tough days? 

“The River Is Wide” by The Grass Roots. 

Who is your most important role model?

There is one person – aside from my husband, Tom – who has been a remarkable support: Larry Alexander. Larry and I were first introduced when I was considering recording my first children’s album, and he’s still working with me seven albums later. As co-producers, we have found a remarkable working relationship that allows us to support and enhance all my endeavors with children. Larry is a Grammy winner and has extraordinary abilities. We share laughter, creativity, and a willingness to go the extra mile. That’s the greatest lesson I’ve learned from Larry – to never give up until the song has reached perfection. ◼

Instagram: @sukeymolloy
Facebook: @sukeymolloy
YouTube: @SukeyMolloy

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