Catching Up with Davis Mallory (The 2017 Edition)

Davis Mallory

Singer-songwriter Davis Mallory returns to “Jake’s Take.” (Photo property of Jason Lee Denton)

 

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

It is a pleasure to welcome singer-songwriter Davis Mallory back to Jake’s Take.

Since his last visit to the blog, Davis has been hard at work crafting tracks to put on his upcoming EP, Loud, which is scheduled to drop on July 7.  For this project, Davis Mallory collaborated with numerous collaborators including The Voice: Season Eight alumni Bay Brooks (“Distance”), Jon Santana (“Not That Far Away”) French EDM duo Vorden (“Because of Love”), and KELLR (“Under Your Spell”).

In addition to working on Loud, Davis Mallory released a holiday single last year, “Box It Up,” which he co-wrote with The Madison Letter lead singer Clayton Jones. The song was the most added holiday track in the What’s in Store Music program, where it was played 500,00 times in retail stores throughout the 2016 holiday season.  Davis Mallory also co-wrote “Faded,” a song that he collaborated with American Idol fan-favorite Matt Giraud and produced by KELLR.

In this edition of Catching Up, Davis revealed the LOUD EP creation process, opened up about performing at Pridefest Milwaukee, and told me how social media helped him connect with his Loud collaborators.

Jacob Elyachar: How have you grown as a singer-songwriter since your last visit?

Davis Mallory: Last Christmas, I released an original holiday song that I co-wrote with Clayton Jones and produced by Relient K-member Josh Sudduth. The song was featured in CCM Magazine and on many holiday playlists. It was enrolled in What’s in Store’s Music instore radio station – which goes out to over 40,000 retail stores. The song wound up being their most popular original song played over 500,000 times in one month’s time. January 2017 started off with a band.  On January 16, 2017, American Idol alumni Matt Giraud released a song I wrote with him called “Faded,” which was produced by KELLR and featured rapper July 3-0 which went on to receive heavy radio play in his home state of Michigan and premiered on Yahoo Music. Four days later, my first song ever signed to a record label came out: “Loud” by Landis which was signed to Grammy nominated producer Cedric Gervais’ Delecta. Delecta then made me a spotlight artist on the Cedric Gervais website, which was super exciting.

On Valentine’s Day 2017, I released the first song from my debut EP LOUD titled “Under Your Spell” produced by KELLR. The song is about new love – and they way falling in love with someone can have power over you. My good friend and longtime video director Derrick Lipschitz directed the music video. My second song to be signed to a label: “Anyone Would Know,” which was produced by John Dahlback came out on June 16, 2017, which was signed to Armada. John produced official remixes of Lady Gaga’s “Marry the Night” and “Judas.” He has also collaborated with Avicii & Swedish House Mafia, so to have a song produced by John Dahlback was and is a huge deal to me, especially because I worked at Swedish House Mafia’s record label years ago and love John’s music.

On April 15, 2017, Parisian duo Vorden released a song I wrote for them called “Because of Love” which was featured on YourEDM. This was an exceptionally proud moment for me because I wrote this song alone. I co-wrote my other previously released songs.  Ten days later, I released “Loud,” the title track off my debut EP on April 25, 2017, which was paired with a music video directed by my good friend Derrick Lipschitz. This project was a labor of love and perhaps my best music video to date. The video features Nashville Predator ice skater Emily Outlaw and actress Kayla Poyner (who stars on the current season of the Nashville TV Show) as my Bond girls. I incorporated lion masks and my Himalayan cat, Xena, into the video because I am a Leo. The producers of this version of the song (Ricca Vita & Subrense) appear in the video wearing the masks and rocking on the guitar. I also casted American Idol’s Hector Montenegro and actor Manny Sandow nodding to my LGBT ties and the video has some George Michael elements as George was an influence on both the writing of the song and the video for his song “I Want Your Sex.”

I will be releasing the EP tomorrow, and I have spent the past few weeks in Los Angeles promoting the project. I met with the music companies including the music team at Bunim Murray Productions, who produced The Real World to integrate my songs into their shows. Revry TV is also interested in my music for their streaming channel as I begin to film a documentary-style series on the creation of my project, and SESAC LA (I am an SESAC songwriter) to schedule several new co-writes in LA. I wrote three new songs this trip. I had my first radio interview with Dash Radio with host DJ Hapa where I sang the song “Loud” live on air. I also performed at Los Angeles’ club Avalon for their Tiger Heat Party on June 29. Currently, I am in New York City to release my EP. I will be going on the Derek & Romaine Radio on July 7 and performing several shows at Kola House, Rise, and The Monster.

JE: This July, you will release your debut EP: LOUD. Could you please share your songwriting and recording processes with my readers?

DM: Most of the songs written on the project were written in 2016. I have added a few new ones leading into the release date that was written this year: “Because of Love” by Parisian duo Vorden and “Help!” by Turkish producer KKM Kaan. The songs on this project are often written about love lost, and love found. “Under Your Spell” was written and produced in summer 2016. “Loud” “Distance” “Be Without You” “Not That Far Away” “Ocean Blue” were all written and produced in 2016. “Anyone Would Know” by John Dahlback is the oldest song written on the project – written in 2015.

 

(Album cover courtesy of Davis Mallory)

JE: What were some of the challenges that you faced creating this EP? How did you overcome them?

DM: One hard part was narrowing down what should go on the project. I have several songs I did not include that I hope to add on a follow-up. I created a playlist of songs that I felt were homogenous to narrow down ultimately. Naturally, the biggest challenge was the work going into writing and producing these songs. Hunting down different producers for each song and making sure their ideas for how the songs sound, matched my vision and then getting the songs up to par to share with the world. I am an independent artist (no A&R, no manager, no publisher, no label) and I finance my projects independently, so I worked my best on creating a quality record on a budget that is competitive in today’s marketplace. Each song in my mind is great, but of course, there’s always room for a higher production value. The final challenge though once the project is created is getting the music heard. While The Real World Denver had a significant viewership (4 million viewers), this was in 2006 before Facebook and Instagram. My social media numbers are meager in comparison to today’s cast members. Finding a way for people even to be aware that this record exists is the current challenge.

JE: Last month, you performed at Milwaukee Pride. Why was it important to you to participate in this festival? How has the LGBT community supported you in your endeavors?

DM: I performed at Milwaukee Pride on June 11, 2017, on a lineup that included Betty Who, Todrick Hall, Steve Grand, 10,000 Maniacs, & Crystal Bowersox. My show included two dancers wearing lion masks, a drummer & guitar player, and custom videos for each song and choreography. I performed three songs including an acoustic version of my song, “Distance,” a cover of Coldplay and The Chainsmokers’ “Something Just Like This,” and a fan asked that I sing my tribute to my MTV co-star Diem Brown called “Beautiful Girls (Diem’s Song)” so I sang it acapella as my band had not learned it. The rest of the songs were performed over my pop/EDM tracks with the band highlighting the instrumentals.

I came out nationally on MTV’s The Real World in 2006, so as an openly gay artist it felt great to be on stage singing music and talking about the relationship that these songs were written about. This experience was very fulfilling as I have always been a singer and have longed for this opportunity to sing my music and to have fans for an entirely different reason – In contrast to years ago, when I was fresh off The Real World and once toured the US talking about the show. I appreciate the show, the platform that it has given me and that time in my life as a young person to encourage other people that it is okay to be gay. Now as an out artist from time to time I incorporate gay themes and imagery into my videos and songs; however, my music is written from a mainstream pop angle that speaks to all audiences (gay, straight, et cetera) and hope to have the focus always be about the music – as my mom says: “Make great music, and it will be discovered.”

JE: How has social media helped you reach out to potential collaborators? What are your personal favorite social media networks?

DM: I have used Instagram to collaborate a lot. I met both Vorden and KKM Kaan on Instagram. I also met KELLR, a very talented Nashville-based producer who has worked with Usher and Wyclef Jean through a website called SoundBetter. I met Jon Santana through a Facebook group called YEP (Young Entertainment Professionals). I value Instagram as a connecting tool to find other like-minded people. I have a lyric video coming out soon for “HELP!” created by a gay visual artist based in Canada named Tyler Hyde.

From a fan perspective, I use Instagram’s stories feature to chronicle my days: highlighting my songwriting sessions, my recording sessions, my performances and my day-to-day life. I have hosted several behind the scenes videos on Instagram & YouTube. I use Soundcloud as a place to soft release new music as it’s in the molding stages before releasing on Spotify and iTunes. I have a presence on Twitter and Facebook as well.

JE: We just entered the halfway point of 2017. What can your fans expect from you during the next half of the year?

DM: At this point, I have written 50 new songs for 2017, so I may round out 2017 with 100. My goal though this year was not to write a certain number of songs, but to instead perform live outside of Nashville and I am doing that which feels very rewarding. I spent 2016 performing only in Nashville at several singer-songwriter rounds and benefit concerts including We Matter Movement’s Suicide Prevention Festival and the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence). This year, I have played three shows in Nashville but am now out on the road performing in NYC, LA, the Milwaukee show, and am eyeing other markets. I have been fine tuning my live show by creating custom videos for each of my songs, and I hired a choreographer to create dances as well. I have been working with a vocal coach Kati Hendricks to get my endurance up for longer shows. I plan to promote this EP throughout the remaining part of the year and create music videos for several songs on the project: specifically “Distance” which will be set at a Singer-Songwriter Writer’s Round in Nashville and “Ocean Blue” which will be an animated video. The video for “Be Without You” is finished and will be out soon.

I have written several new songs this year that I am really in love with and am already working out music video concepts for some of them. One is called “Downtown” by Russian producers Deekey & Stellix; another is called “We Had It All” by Russian duo Tim3bomb. I wrote a new song with Bonnie Bishop called “Fear of Falling (In Love)” and it holds interest with several big producers who have the stems. I wrote a song called “Make It Out Alive,” this year with an artist named Katy Collins which is also in the hands of several producers and should be out soon, too. One song that a handful of listeners has told me might be the best song I have written to date I wrote this February called “Back to You” co-written with Raquel Cole (who was ranked in Canada alongside Shawn Mendes and Alessia Cara as one of the top 25 Canadian Artists Under 25). It’s on hold with a major label for an artist to cut it.

For more information about Davis Mallory, visit his website!

Davis Mallory is also on social media. You can follow his adventures on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, Twitter, & YouTube.

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar