From YouTube to Good Morning, America

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From YouTube to Good Morning, America

The woman behind the original song “His Daughter”

It was nearing the end of her janitor shift one August evening in Austin, Minn. when lyrics for a song began to come to her head. Still being at work, she grabbed a napkin that was on hand, began scribbling down the lyrics and then went home after work to finish writing what she started.

The lyrics that freshman youth development major Molly Kestner scribbled on a napkin were just the beginnings of a touching song that would go viral within a week.

Kestner’s song titled “His Daughter” was completed after she arrived home from work, making the total time spent on the song around 15 minutes.

“It just kind of started coming and didn’t stop,” recalled Kestner.

“His Daughter” is a song about a woman’s journey throughout her life searching for life and love and finding it in the Lord. The video was recorded straight from Kestner’s cracked iPhone, with no additional edits, cuts or takes and now has over 10.9 million views on Youtube. She uploaded the video with the intention of sharing her music with relatives who live far away.

Molly Kestner sings at Activate Tour,
a convention for Christian social media celebrities.

“I really didn’t think anything of it,” Kestner relates with a laugh. “If I knew  [the video] was going to blow up, I would have looked nicer and made sure people weren’t talking,”

Kestner says that aspects of the video, such as her family talking in the background, add authenticity to her first-take hit video, making the video all the more relatable and genuine.

After Kestner first posted the video, she did not realize that it was starting to go viral until the next time she checked online. Kestner describes the week when her video was being shared across the world and nation as chaos. Kestner, just like most seniors in high school, was balancing a job and all of the work that comes with the last year of high school.

After she posted the video, phone calls, emails and interviews were added to the mix of her already busy life. Having hardly slept a wink the entire week, Kestner went to a studio to record her song for iTunes after the video went viral, and that very day she also received a call requesting her appearance on Good Morning, America.

In spite of the stress of that phase of her life, Kestner relates all of it with a bright-eyed, cheerful confidence in God’s purpose through it all.

“It wasn’t really me writing it, but kind of putting down what He put on my heart…it’s hard for a song to go viral,” said Kestner. “And if it’s an original song, it’s even harder. And when it’s a song about God, it’s even harder. I felt like all the odds were against it, but God had other plans.”

Regarding the negative feedback that comes along with being a social media celebrity, Kestner says that she is not bothered at all.

“I know that God has given me a purpose and a calling for singing and songwriting,” said Kestner. “Even if my song spoke to just one person or made a difference in one person’s life, it’s worth it.”

“His Daughter” is only the beginning of Kestner’s singing and songwriting career, as she is looking to sign a contract with a label in the near future. Until then, Kestner is attending North Central.

“I wanted some place to establish my roots and build community,” said Kestner. “I felt like this would be a great place for me to grow.”

Kestner is studying youth development, which came as a surprise to some.

“I’m doing so much music outside of college that while I was here I kind of wanted to work on something that I am passionate about, which is working with youth and speaking to them,” said Kestner. “And everything that I learn about that I feel will help me in my writing, because that is the audience that I am trying to reach.”