It’s a story that’s repeating more and more often: reality television personality tries his hand at a music career. Sometimes it’s just opportunism without any real skill or talent. Sometimes, as is the case with the music-oriented shows, it’s the direct result of going through the proving-grounds in front of a ready-made fan-base. But sometimes it’s just hard work and determination.

And that brings us to Davis Mallory, a gay former cast member of MTV’s The Real World. Long before he hit The Real World, Mallory knew he wanted to be a performer, but that’s not what drove him to the show. It was something else.

“I had a story to tell,” Mallory explained. “My family members are pastors and work in the Christian music industry or are Christian authors. And I was the gay son that they didn't want… They love me, but that's just not what they wanted.”

“I had just come out in college,” he added, “and was literally told I wasn't allowed to come home anymore, because I was living a lifestyle that they didn't approve of. And in that pain, I auditioned for The Real World. And I dragged my family through the mud on the show, and it hurt our family a lot. And I regret it, but I also feel like it was a little about me taking power over my situation.”

After he was on the show, Mallory spoke with the show’s director, “And I ask him, ‘What should I do now that the show's over?’ And he's like, ‘This is what I tell all cast members. Whatever it was you wanted to do before, do that.’ I had wanted to be a singer since I was a kid, and I didn't pursue it because I was gay. I always felt like, if I was gonna be a singer, I was gonna need to be a Christian singer, and how could I be a gay Christian singer? I just didn't feel like it was ever gonna happen for me. So I just kind of gave up on that dream.”

Nevertheless he knew he still wanted to be a singer, but he made the decision not to leverage his Real World appearance. “I wasn't trying to be that kind of artist… I wanted to be a singer that was actually a talented person and was writing heartfelt lyrics and making good music.”

So instead Mallory went to work in New York for a label, Astroworks.” I tried to let them know I was a singer every day I was there, but it didn't happen for me. They didn't discover me or anything.”

While there Mallory began meeting other artists, including Parson James, who appeared at Nashville Pride last year. “It was Parson who actually kind of challenged me as to why I was working at a record label, when he was going after his career very straightforward. And I was going after mine a little tangentially. After meeting him, I quit my job at the record label and just went after it more straightforward.”

“At times I sing with a southern voice,” he added with a laugh, “because I'm from Georgia. Although I'm not trying to be a country singer, it just comes out. And someone was like, ‘I think you'd do well in Nashville, because you're from the south.’ So, I called my dad, who had moved to Nashville the year earlier, and he said, ‘Move here.’ So I moved in with my dad, and I've been here for going on four years.”

After a few years of working steadily as a DJ and writing music with some talented co-authors, as well as independently, Mallory is now preparing to release his EP, Loud.

When asked to describe the album, Mallory laughed and said, “I think it was only after I was asked by publicists, ‘What's the album about?’ that I realized that almost all of them were about a guy that I have been dating on-and-off since I moved to Nashville. We both moved from New York to Nashville the same year.”

“We met on Grindr,” he added, “though we have common friends from New York but we never met in New York.. We've had breakups, we got back together, we've been best friends, we've been lovers, boyfriends… Now we're broken up. But most of the songs are about him in some way, or in some way related, because everything was written during the relationship. I mean in fact, I wrote a song today and it was about him. I'm still writing songs about him and I'm trying not to, but...”

The feeling is real, and it translates into the music, but it isn’t all sappy or sad. “The sings cover different stages of love. The song I put out on February 7 is called ‘Under Your Spell…’ When I wrote it I wasn't writing ONLY about him, but also about all the guys I've ever fallen in love with… That's what the song's about, just falling under someone's spell. But then I have a song called ‘Be Without You’ which was literally about when he decided to take a break from me and move to Florida. I was sad, and I couldn't be without him.”

On the far end of the spectrum is Loud which is a little less about emotion and more about motion. “It was really literally about him… because we were f***ing loudly. I'm gonna make a clean version,” he added with a laugh. “It's just about having sex. It could be about anyone. That's the one that's not just completely about him, but … it was him.”

“There's also a song called "Distance" that I wrote with Bay Brooks from The Voice, and it's about a long-distance relationship. Kind of driving a million miles to try to make something long distance work,” he explained. “And it wasn't necessarily about him, because I've done long distance relationships a couple times in my life, and it was just about that experience.”

Having spent most of the last few years writing, Mallory has finally also begun getting more experience as a live performer. “I've played at the Belcourt Taps Writer's Round, and I've sung at Tennessee Brew Works, and I did a Christmas carol show with a bunch of original songwriters, just singing their original stuff,” he explained. “I’ve sung for Firewrite, which is a writer's round, and I played at Family Wash, which is one of my favorite places to hear good music.”

And we are sure that, once Loud releases, we’ll be hearing a lot more from Mallory. Look for the EP to drop April 25, 2017. For more information, visit DavisMallory.com.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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