Posted On 19 Jun 2017
Meet the Nashville based electro-pop artist Davis Mallory, previously of The Real World Denver. Since his time on MTV, Mallory has been focusing on his music career.
His newest song and video out now is called “Loud.” This extremely upbeat single is off his upcoming debut EP slated for a summer 2017 release.
Learn more about Davis in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What are some words you would use to describe 2016 for you and your music? How has 2017 been treating you?
2016 was a rocky year in some aspects. My goals at the beginning of 2016 were to sing live at least once (I had never performed live in Nashville at that point in time and I wound up singing at 8 events last year); to write at least 30 new songs (I wrote 75), to find great producers to record songs I had written from 2015 that I thought were strong (one of which I released last Christmas called “Box It Up” an original holiday song I wrote with Clayton Jones of the band Madison Letter and had produced by Josh Sudduth of the band Relient K, several others are now on my EP LOUD).
I spent much of 2016 doing cover songs with the producer of the band The Queen & King (their covers had amassed millions of plays on Spotify) something I semi-regret doing, because I did not want to be thought of as a cover artist; however, I enjoyed reinterpreting my favorite songs in a series of Free Downloads I called “Under the Covers” and creating elaborate music videos (if you watch my video for Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean” and Estelle’s “American Boy”) which I later applied to my own original music videos.
I went through the end of a relationship in 2016 with a guy I had been dating since 2014. He moved away from Nashville to Florida early summer 2016 and was the reason behind several of the sadder songs on my EP (“Be Without You” & “Distance.”)
So far 2017 has been off to a great start. I had 2 of my songs signed to the dance label Armada: John Dahlback recreated my song “Anyone Would Know” (a love song I released Valentine’s Day 2016 produced by Josh Sudduth of Relient K) and John’s version will be out June 2017 and on my EP. Landis recreated my song “Loud” which he released in January 2017 on Cedric Gervais’ label Delecta.
A song I co-wrote called “Faded” with Matt Giraud from American Idol was released in January 2017 and began receiving radio play was a first for me on 2 counts (my first song an artist released that I co-wrote and the first song I had receiving radio play).
On a personal journey I decided to quit drinking in January 2017 and began focusing on myself in other healthy ways: going to the gym, exercising, seeing a relationship therapist and as a result feel like a much happier and healthier person this year, I went from 210lbs last year to 175 lbs today as a result.
Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it?
The songs playing in the background and in my mind today are several of my own that I have been working on the past 24 hours. The song “Be Without You” on my EP I have spent the last 24 hours putting the finishing touches on the edit for the music video.
Last night I was top-lining over an instrumental sent to me by a duo of Russian producers named Deekey & Stellix a new song I wrote for them that I really like called “Downtown.” Today I have been going back and forth over email with a producer in Peru named Aaron Marz on an original song called “Lost” that I co-wrote for him with Tara Hayes and I have been providing him with an acapella to work from. Last night I wrote new lyrics and provided a new acapella to a producer in Turkey named KKM Kaan on a song called “Help!” that I top lined for him and last minute plan add to my EP LOUD. These are the songs going on in my head and world at the moment.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? If you weren’t an artist today, what else could you see yourself doing?
I have always been a singer – when I left for college my mother said the house got quiet. When I did chores, exercised, or went anywhere really I was and continue today to be singing. As a child artists like N’SYNC and the Backstreet Boys were popular and I dreamt of one day having a career like theirs. Usher was a big influence on me, because I grew up in Atlanta. I knew every word to his song “Nice & Slow” and used to sing it in my bedroom in high school. I was Pre-Med in college and told myself if I did not succeed in music then I would go into the Medical field, but I’m not passionate about medicine the way I am about music so I don’t foresee that career change.
I’m curious to know how you think your time on The Real World Denver catapulted and motivated you to focus on your music career?
I did the Real World fresh after graduating college (2 weeks to be exact) and it was an eye-opening experience. I went from complete anonymity to people recognizing me nearly everywhere I went. The show had roughly 8 million viewers that year. I was when The Hills was also a popular show and when I would visit LA I befriended several of that cast (Lauren Conrad, Adriana) as well as people from various other shows. It was a surreal time in my life. I did a few more MTV shows (Inferno 3 in 2007, Duel 2 in 2009 and Rivals in 2011) but I grew tired of the experience and was eager to work in music. I met the CEO of Viacom at a LOGO TV party in LA who arranged several job interviews for me at MTV in NYC. I landed a role as a Music News Host for LOGO’s NewNowNext.com which after 2 years lead me to a role in A&R/Marketing at Astralwerks Records (EMI/Capitol) home to David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia, Kylie Minogue, Empire of the Sun. During my 2 years at Astralwerks, working around superstars DJs, I took DJ classes at Dubspot School of Electronic Music and I began DJing at clubs around NYC. I also began top-lining over EDM instrumentals and collaborating with other songwriters.
One of my earliest co-writes was with Parson James from Kygo’s “Stole the Show.” In 2013, I left my role at the label to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter and moved to Nashville. My dad had also just moved to Nashville to become the Director of a music venue called Rocketown and I moved in with him at first. My family comes from a musical background: My father’s brother John Mallory is a songwriter with songs recorded by Amy Grant, Sixpence None the Richer and Wynona Judd. My father’s brother-in-law Chaz Corzine is Amy Grant’s former longtime manager and the current longtime manager of Contemporary Christian Music artist Michael W. Smith. In my first few years in Nashville I was writing Country and Americana leaning songs, but I longed to turn my songs into an electronic dance direction. I began emailing my demos to producers around the world – dream producers and up-and-coming guys in the EDM community. I found success that way with many producers showing interest in my work, I currently create much of my music, working with producers remotely sending them the songs I write in Nashville or toplining over instrumentals they send me. However I also found many Nashville based pop producers to work with and my EP is filled with collaborations with local talent: Jon Santana produced “Not that Far Away” & engineered “Distance,” “Loud” is produced by Nashville duo Ricca Vita & J. Hanna, “Under Your Spell” is produced by KELLR and “Ocean Blue” is produced by Nashville-based Brazilian duo Paulo Ventura & RDR.
What was the inspiration for your new single “Loud”? How creatively involved were you with the making of the video for it?
I wrote “Loud” after breaking up with my last boyfriend when I began dating again. I had met a very handsome artist in Nashville at a pop music showcase and the two of us began regularly writing songs together. I had a huge crush on him but couldn’t read if he were gay. In another cowrite I started writing “Loud” with a good friend of mine named Mitchell Rose and in my mind the song was about the other artist I had a crush on with the opening lyrics stating “I think I could love you better, but I won’t tell you how to feel.” Mitchell is a ladies man and always has a new girlfriend, he is one of my favorite people in Nashville to write with and hang out with, and our co-write quickly turned into this love-making anthem. It was a blend of both of our mindsets.
I found Nashville-based producer Timothy Ryssemus (who goes by Ricca Vita on his own artist project) to produce “Loud.” Timothy thought the song needed a pre-chorus and Tim wrote the lines “I know you like it, there ain’t no time to fight it, I wanna make you scream” and changed a line in the chorus to what is now “I wanna hear you scream my name, you won’t be the same.” I wrote the drop “Lou-lou-lou-lou-lou-oud” hook used in the chorus ironically after the boy who the song is about heard it in one of our songwriting sessions and told me he didn’t think it had a true chorus yet. I do not think he knows to this day though that this is inspired from him.
The music video is directed by Derrick Lipschitz who I met when I worked at Astralwerks Records in New York. I had hired him to do work for Astralwerks and I loved his artistic style. When I moved to Nashville he visited me twice and then decided to move here and he is now my roommate. When we worked on the music video for “LOUD” Derrick showed me a video that he liked by a Bushwick, NY based band called ONWE’s for their song “In the City” which served as some early inspiration for our video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2ReyRBG2TE&feature=youtu.be
George Michael was another influence with the inclusion of models/actresses Emily Outlaw (who is also a Nashville Predator ice skater cheerleader) and Kayla Poyner who resemble my Bond girls. I later added out artist Hector Montengero (who competed on American Idol) and actor/singer Manny Sandow nodding to my LGBT ties. We included wildcat masks and brought my himalayan cat Xena on set due to the fact that I am a Leo and I like the symbolism. There are cameos from the producers of the song: Timothy Ryssemus who plays guitar in the video and John Hanna who wears the lion mask.
How do you think “Loud” prepares people for your upcoming debut EP set for release this summer?
The EP Loud is an electro pop dance album with each song created by a different producer from around the world, it’s almost a mixtape. The project as a whole is a representation of the sound of music that I enjoy listening to and each song I wrote either alone or co-wrote. I feel that “Loud” which is the most sexual song on the project is perhaps an outlier; whereas, other songs on the EP are more heartfelt or sensitive in nature. “Not That Far Away” is a song I wrote about being strong in life and holding out for hope that when we die, something better happen. “Distance” is a song I co-wrote with Bay Brooks from The Voice about making a long distance relationship happen. It is only me and a guitar and is the most stripped down song on the project. “Be Without You” which is the next song I am releasing is a song I wrote with Bridget Caldwell who sings on the song with me, and is about losing someone in your life, it’s the saddest song on the project. Help! I recently wrote for a producer in Turkey and it’s a fun future-house track. “Because Of Love” I wrote over a beat by a duo of French producers that is a French Electro House anthem similar to a Swedish House Mafia or Justice or David Guetta song about a fictitious girl who breaks your heart. “Ocean Blue” I co-wrote with Lockwood Barr a Nashville Industry Award Winner for Best Live Performer and is produced by Brazilian duo Paulo Ventura & RDR, it’s about traveling the ocean to get to someone you love and has a tropical house drop. “Anyone Would Know” is a song I wrote for an ex-boyfriend I had when I lived in New York, John’s version is similar in vein to some of the Chainsmokers songs.
Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Some of my early favorite childhood artists include Kirk Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Usher, Mariah Carey, John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band. As a young adult- post MTV days, I became really interested in artists like Robyn, Florence & the Machine, Simian Mobile Disco, Disclosure and Calvin Harris. This year Jon Bellion is an artist I became obsessed with, watching his behind-the-scenes videos for the creation of his songs while wishing I had chronicled more of the songwriting process for my own project. I love Jon’s voice, his writing style and admire that he produces. Another artist this year that I dug deep into listening to his music is Prince. I have listened to nearly every song Prince has commercially available and have been inspired by how prolific he was (there are over 1,000 songs) as well as the fact that he played, wrote and produced his music. On my list of artists that I would love to work with at the very top is Disclosure. I love their music and often DJ it and would be so happy to collaborate with them. Longtime producer dreams include Max Martin, Timbaland & Pharrell whose music I have listened to my whole life and love. From a duet perspective I would love to team up with Missy Elliott or Britney Spears. From a Nashville angle I would love to work with Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris or Kacey Musgraves.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?
I write songs from a variety of places. Sometimes I’m writing a song specific to what I’ve been going through: a break up or falling in love. Earlier this year I wrote a new song with Bonnie Bishop (Dave Cobb who produced Chris Stapleton’s Grammy-winning album Travellor just produced Bonnie’s new record) called “Fear of Falling (In Love)” about a boy I was developing feelings for who told me he was not ready to date me and asked that we cut off communication. As recently as last weekend I went out and met a boy at a club in downtown Nashville who invited me back to his house and was doing lines of cocaine. It was pretty troubling to observe because I am sober and I saw a lot of beauty in this person and then a lot of personal demise and self inflicted harm. I see that throughout the whole world though, not just this person, I’ve seen that in myself and as a songwriter naturally this lead to writing a song about the situation. I aspire to create music that would lead people to make good decisions with the way they treat their bodies and the way they treat other people around them. I grew up in a very Christian home, which as a gay person obviously had some negatives, but on the positive side the mantra to love others as you love yourself was instilled in me. I hope to write music that spreads love and can be an agent of healing – not an agent of negativity.