Davis Mallory has worn many hats during his career in the entertainment industry. From TV personality to red carpet correspondent to record label staffer, he's back to doing what he loves most ... music.
You were born into a musical family so it was a given you’d follow a musical path. Who in your family has been your greatest influence?
My uncle Chaz Corzine managed Amy Grant for nearly two decades and continues to manage Michael W. Smith for just as long. Growing up I often went to Amy and Michael’s Christmas concerts. Amy’s Christmas albums are some of my favorites and when I was 10 years old I sang a cover of Amy’s “Grown Up Christmas List.”
My Grandfather recorded me and my uncle shared it with Amy. She wrote me a letter which I still have and shared in my 3rd Grade show-and-tell. Last year I found the audio and shared it with Amy again and she posted it on her Facebook last Christmas.
You starred on MTV's The Real World: Denver and subsequent MTV programs, including being the music news correspondent for MTV's NewNowNext.com. What was your most memorable interview and why?
I enjoyed meeting and interviewing Ellie Goulding. I discovered her music on a music blog in 2009 and had witnessed her career gradually bloom. At the time of our interview in 2012 she had just recently performed at the Royal wedding and her song “Lights” had climbed the Billboard charts to #2. I was both nervous and charmed by meeting her. We were both wearing Tom Ford cologne which she identified and got off on a great foot, until I mistakenly asked her what it was like dating Afrojack (she was dating Skrillex) and she rightfully teased me for it. See the Interview below.
You also did a stint at Astralwerks Records (UMG/Capitol) in the Marketing/A&R department. How did this experience prepare you for your career as an artist?
I worked at Astralwerks Records (home to David Guetta, Kylie Minogue, Swedish House Mafia, Empire of the Sun, The B-52s, Kraftwerk, NERVO, Eric Prydz, etc) from 2011-2013. I began the same week that Guetta released his Nothing But the Beat album which spawned his first #1 single “Without You” and the numerous other singles including “Titanium, feat Sia." I also worked the promotion and marketing around Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child” single and their world tour; Kylie Minogue’s Live at Abbey Road and “Timebomb” single; and, Empire of the Sun’s second album Ice on the Dune.
I had longed to work at a record label since I was a child. I spent countless hours roaming CD stores and buying new music. The first albums I bought were Mariah Carey’s Daydream and Boyz II Men’s II as a 12-year-old. Throughout high school I worked at a CD retailer and I longed to one-day work for a label and see what goes on. I also heard a story at this time of a Country recording artist named Julie Andrews who was discovered while working at Sony Records in Nashville so I wondered if I worked at a record label would that lead to my own music being discovered.
My role as Marketing Coordinator at Astralwerks varied depending upon whom I was supporting. I reported directly to the General Manger of the label Glenn Mendlinger as well three Marketing Directors, one Publicist and two A&R Directors. I created promotional materials (T-shirts, posters, bracelets), ran logistics for events (pop-up events at SXSW, artist showcases), handled giveaways and contests, operated our label’s social media accounts, hired videographers/reviewed music video treatments, commissioned remixes, and pitched our artists to brands for sponsorships. I learned so much during these years about how a professional major league artist is represented and I developed great relationships.
You are a prolific songwriter and have worked with some heavy hitters in the music industry. Who are your mentors and what have they taught you?
The first co-write I ever had was with Parson James in 2013 whom I met while working for Astralwerks. Parson is such a talented songwriter and every song we wrote together was vastly different from the other. I could tell that he was going to be prolific because he was able to create such unique and beautiful songs. This was also the first time that my ideas were being included in another person’s song. It was a very affirming experience for me, which lead me to soon after leave my role at Astralwerks and move to Nashville to pursue artistry and songwriting more seriously. Once landing in Nashville one of the first songwriters to write with me was Roger Murrah. Roger was awarded BMI’s Songwriter of the Decade and penned one of my favorite childhood Country songs, Alabama’s “I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why).” I wrote 4 songs with Roger in 2014 and while writing with him, I was still very new to co-writing and songwriting overall so I mainly observed how he did it and offered my ideas but let him lead. When I met Scot Sax (via his publisher in 2015) I had finally gotten the hang of co-writing. Scot won a Grammy for writing Faith Hill & Tim McGraw’s “Like We Never Loved At All” and his co-writing style has been to put on a drum kick, lay out a guitar riff, and allow me to throw out ideas that I hear for the track. Scot taught me that “Love Shack” by the B-52s was recorded as the ideas came about, adding to the recording in real time (instead of a common practice of only recording the demo once the ideas have all been fleshed out at the end of a co-write). With Scot I wrote one of my favorite songs to perform live called “Dancing Round the Fire” which we wrote in this method.
Tell us about your current project(s), and your recent holiday release, “Box it Up.”
I wrote "Box it Up" just after Christmas in February 2015 with a new writer I met named Clayton Jones. Clayton and I met via Washington Street Publishing who had just signed one of my songs for Film/TV pitches. I had a meeting with the owners of Washington Street one day when Clayton came in for a meeting with them after mine. In our brief passing we exchanged contact information and scheduled a co-write. I came into the co-write wanting to write a Christmas song. I also wanted this song to have elements of dance music since I came from this world at Astralwerks and so when we began writing the lyrics we wrote “Christmas is here why won’t it stay, I wish that we could put it on replay” to communicate this idea. Since it was just after Christmas that we were writing this song, the theme of wanting the spirit to linger came naturally. My sister’s name is Garland (she was born just a few days after Christmas) so I put her name in second verse: “your hair a glistening garland.” After we wrote this song I knew it was special and so beautiful thanks to Clayton’s beautiful musical arrangement, and I had just met Jewel Coburn who is a song publisher/plugger in Nashville and shared it with her. She loved it and said that Tim McGraw may be interested in it. I waited and waited to see if he would cut it that Christmas but he never did. The more people that I played it for the more ideas came in for artists who they envisioned recording it. Ariana Grande and John Legend were two whom I presented it to via Ariana’s publicist who was my colleague at Capitol Records and John Legend’s wife Chrissy Tiegen’s agent who is a friend of mine from NYC. After 2015 passed and neither artist decided to cut the song, I decided that in 2016 I would release it myself. I had “Box it Up” produced by Josh Sudduth who is a member of Relient K and a producer I had just recently begun working with. I love his skill at capturing my vocals and creating beautiful tracks. I have filmed a music video for the song with The Nashville Film Institute’s Zachary Layman and Blake Guidry, which I’m excited to release to kick off the holiday season. The video encompasses the idea of keeping the spirit alive all year round.
Time for the shameless plug … What would you like our readers to know about you?
I’m excited about 2017. I have several songs which I wrote and am singing on that are being produced by John Dahlback (Swedish DJ/Producer who has worked with Lady Gaga, Swedish House Mafia & Empire of the Sun) which will be coming out next year. Matt Giraud of American Idol and I wrote a song together called “Faded” that Matt’s releasing and his voice on it sounds like Justin Timberlake. It’s a great song and direction for him. I recently wrote a song with Matraca Berg (3-time Grammy nominated songwriter who wrote of one my childhood favorite Country songs “We Danced Anyway” by Deana Carter) and I have been writing with Bay Brooks from The Voice (Team Blake). I am gearing up for a debut album in 2017. Since living in Nashville I have written over 100 songs and I am going through these to pick which I would like to include on my first project.
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