By Nikole Tower, May 2017 Web Exclusive.
Born into a musical family, Davis Mallory began singing as early as the age of 5 in his hometown of Marietta, Georgia.
Singing isn’t the only profession you’ll find on his resume – he’s also an actor, DJ and former reality TV star – you’ll recognize him from MTV’s “The Real World: Denver” cast, which aired in 2006.
Today, Mallory lives in Nashville and his focus is on singing and songwriting. He wrote over 130 songs in the past two years and the effort will show when his debut EP, “Loud,” drops April 25.
In the meantime, Echo caught up with Mallory to find out more about his latest project and what else he’s working on, and here’s what he had to say:
Echo: Tell me about your new EP, Loud. What kind of sound or vibe can listeners expect?
Mallory: I would say about 90 percent of [Loud] is happy and has a cool, bright, fun kind of sound. There’s actually just one song that’s just me and a guitar … Because I live in Nashville I’m surrounded by a lot of songs written over guitars. Everything else [on the EP] has more synth sounds.
Echo: What song are you most looking forward to performing? Or one that you can’t wait to see how people will react toward
Mallory: It’s called “Loud.” I wrote it with this kid in Nashville who graduated from Belmont [University]. His name is Mitchell Rose and he has a song out already called “Candy.” Every time I write music with him I leave with the catchiest, best song I’ve written with anyone in months … [My friend] connected me with this woman who was Skrillex’s personal assistant for eight years and she now manages this young producer who doesn’t have a lot out yet and gave it to him. He remixed it and it’s like super happy and a whole different version of the song. I’m really excited about it. The producer goes by BPT.
Echo: Has your location at all affected the way your music sounds?
Mallory: Totally. I moved here four years ago, and I was living in New York before Nashville. I had written songs over dance beats and I’ve written a few songs in LA. At the time we were trying to write a pop hit. When I came to Nashville, I started writing country songs and I’m not much of a country writer. I never really originate a country song. I’ve sat in on a country write and helped finish it but it doesn’t come out, like I don’t just typically write country songs. I’ve written songs over a guitar.
For awhile I was trying to figure out who I am as an artist because that wasn’t really me. I started seeking producers outside of Nashville to send me instrumentals that I can write over as well as hunting down pop producers in Nashville. It’s starting to become a popular destination for pop artists but it’s nothing like LA. I started finding some and working with them. I feel like this project showcases my sound. I want to make music that I like to listen to.
Echo: Is there a major influence or a specific theme within the EP?
Mallory: I think that for me as a songwriter I kind of juggle between a few themes. Some days I’m writing a love song and some days I’m writing a song that’s like “let’s party and have fun.” Some days I’m writing a mantra like I want to change the world. I want to put something positive in music and people will hear it and it’ll bring peace. That would be awesome. Sometimes I’ll write the break up song. Those four things are usually what I write about.
Echo: Your music comes across like a diary entry. It seems cathartic. Is it strange to know people are listening to your diary? What kind of feeling do you get from that?
Mallory: Last Valentine’s Day I put out a song called “Anyone Would Know.” I was dating this guy and I think I was about 6 or 7 years older than him. I loved him so much, but I knew it wasn’t going to work out. It sucked, but we were just in different chapters of our lives. It was a really painful relationship, and I journaled it. I went into a cowrite one day, and they were asking me what I wanted to write about. I started reading from the journal and we turned it into a song. It’s sort of weird because I don’t even think he knows there’s this song floating around about him.
Echo: What is something that you would tell past-you that you know now but wish you knew then?
Ten years ago I had a drinking problem and I didn’t realize it. When I was on Real World, I just behaved badly. So looking back on myself I wish I would’ve sobered up and gone throughout the whole show sober. It would have been hard to do when the show is all about drinking… I think I would have done a much better representation because when I got casted for that show I wanted to be a positive role model in the gay community. I don’t feel like I was.
Echo: You’re a songwriter, actor, DJ… Is there a role that you enjoy most?
I love singing the most. I sing all the time. It’s either my favorite song that I’m just singing in my car or lately I finally have original songs that are stuck in my head which is cool. My uncle managed Amy Grant, Michael W Smith. My other uncle was a songwriter. They both live in Nashville which is why I wanted to start off my music career in Nashville. I feel like for me I would much rather be successful in music than in anything else. I enjoy acting, it’s a fun activity just to be weird or crazy or different. Music is my number one.
Echo: Why do you feel music is the best outlet to get what you want to say out into the world?
Mallory: There’s something about the mood of music that can do to someone… There were a couple times when some ugly stuff was happening in America and I had to co-write that day. I went into the room and I was like let’s try to write a song with a positive message. Sometimes music feels like a vehicle for change. That’s what’s powerful about music, to shine a light and use it in a positive way. I always wanted to make music that’s positive.
Echo: What’s a memory from Pride that stands out for you?
Mallory: I think the very first Pride I went to was when I was on The Real World. I remember thinking how cool it was to see so many openly gay people coming out when I didn’t feel that there were that many in Colorado. In any instance, it’s cool to have the visibility of the gay community. I’ve gone to Nashville Pride the last two years, and it’s overwhelming to see so much support from non-gay people. There are people flooding the streets just to show that they’re here because a lot of times [the LGBTQ community] can feel like a minority within the population.
Echo: Do you have any advice for first-time Pride goers? What might they experience that they weren’t expecting?
Mallory: I want to say something, but I don’t want it to be misinterpreted. A lot of people condemn Pride because of people who are so scandalously clad. Some say it paints a negative interpretation on the community, but in the same way there’s also a lot of support in the way that people are dressing. I feel like if you’ve never been to Pride before, then get ready because you’ll probably see a lot of people not wearing a lot of clothes.
Echo: How do you plan on promoting “Loud”?
Mallory: There’s an EDM festival in Tennessee in August that I’m going to be performing at… Right now I’m trying to find the best way to take an electronic project and perform it. Last year a lot of my shows were me and a live band… I’m trying to find ways to make my show unique. I’m a new artist, this is my first EP, so right now I’m spending time on how I want to perform this project.
Echo: Any plans to visit Arizona soon?
Mallory: Yeah! I’ve been to the Grand Canyon and seen a bunch of cool things in and around Arizona. I’ve seen Sedona and where the asteroid hit and the petrified logs. I’ll make sure to come back soon.
Echo: One last question: Do you have a 2017 resolution?
Mallory: Two years ago my goal was to write a lot of songs. In the last two years, I wrote around 130 songs – this week I wrote four. I write a lot. This year [my goal] is to perform. It would be cool if I could get on a tour with another artist that is a named artist… All will come with time.