Davis Mallory has had an interesting decade since we first saw him on The Real World: Denver which aired a decade ago. After becoming known nationwide for not only that show but his subsequent appearances on The Challenge, Davis has done a complete 180 and made music the focus of his career. He has spent the past four years writing and developing music that has now been put together on a remarkable first effort called “Loud”, which is available for purchase today.
With the album just coming out, I spoke with Davis right before his performances here in Manhattan at Monster Bar, Kola House (which we love here so much), and Rise Bar to discuss his transition out of reality television into music, his musical influences, and what is next for this talented guy.
Most people know you from being on The Real World, but I know that you have a big background in music with your family.
My mom had put me in choirs as a little kid; there are videos showing me singing at the age of five or six and I continued that into my senior year of high school. By senior year, I was in a show choir with 5 guys and 5 girls singing acapella songs. Three of those guys went onto make it big in the country music scene, but for me knowing that I was gay during that entire time made me realize that there wasn’t a platform for me to go into the industry. Because back in 1995, I mean, even Ellen DeGeneres was even out yet, it was a big problem to be gay. I think that’s why at this chapter of my life it is much easier to be openly gay and be a singer and do what I truly want.
The Real World: Denver was a big part of your career in that it launched you into the pop culture stratosphere. How did you find yourself on that show?
I was in college in Florida, and I just came out during my year at school there which my parents were not happy with. My mom specifically was like “Don’t come home”, and I truly wasn’t welcomed in my own house that spurred me to audition for The Real World in an act of vengeance. Not just that, but I wanted to work on MTV and find a job after just finishing college so I thought this would be a good foot in the door and to good time with it.
What was the overall experience like with that show and “The Challenge”?
It was stressful because once my parents found out that I made it onto the show, they tried to persuade me not to do it. Even starting the show, I had mixed emotions while it was filming, and it played itself out with my time there.
Has their stance changed on homosexuality since the show aired a decade ago?
Yeah, I mean I don’t think their stance has changed a lot with their beliefs, especially with religion and sexuality, but they are not in my face about it regarding being gay like they were when I was younger.
Was it in your thought process to do music while you were on the show or right afterwards?
Not really. I wasn’t equipped with much at that point regarding having everything together musically, and I also didn’t want to make that awkward transition from reality personality to music star as it didn’t really work out for others who tried. I’ve spent the past four years writing songs, and that was with people who are much better than me in that process, as well as finding producers and all of that. I had to go through a transition where I could become good, because at that point in my life I wasn’t.
Who did you draw inspiration from the most when you made this album?
Amy Grant has been a childhood influence on me, because my uncle managed her for nearly 30 years. So, I spent a lot of time at her house and I idolized her. I wanted to be here when I grew up. But, being a Christian person and gay still feels conflictual to me, because in a perfect world I would be a Christian singer. That is what my family would like for me to be. The fact that I’m gay sort of halts that. In my trajectory with my career, I want to be able to find a blend with this music and be one of the first to be able to do so.
In a more modern way, Katy Perry has been a big influence on me because I used to work at a CD shop that sold Christian music and I had her first CD when she was known as Katy Hudson. When she became famous, I recognized her voice but not the name, but quickly put two and two together and figured they were the same artist.
I listened to your song “Loud”, the title track and its fantastic. Can you go in a little deeper about the album as a whole?
A lot of the songs are about different guys that I’ve dated, mostly about one that I dated for the past three years that was in my life as I wrote most of these songs. When we first fell in love and when we fell out of love, there were songs that were specifically about him. “Loud” is essentially about seeing someone that you want to be with, and convincing them that you are better than the one they are with at the moment, and in my personal life I was kind of crushing on a songwriter that I was working with. I couldn’t tell if he liked me, and I later found out he didn’t and is straight. Womp womp.
Are all these original tracks?
Yep, all original, no covers. I wrote a song for Diem Brown, who was on “The Challenge” and passed away recently called “Beautiful Girls (Diem’s Song)” and with the same co-writers of this song is a new song on my album called “Anyone Would Know” produced by Swedish DJ/Producer John Dahlback who has worked with Lady Gaga, Avicii & Swedish House Mafia. I also cowrote songs with many other artists including a country artist named Lockwood Barr, a pop singer named Mitchell Rose, and many more.
If there is one artist you would love to work with today outside of Amy and Katy, who would it be and why?
I have a couple. It would be really cool to do something with Britney Spears, like a duet kind of thing. It would be a ton of fun. From a producer’s point of view, I love Disclosure and would really love to do something with them.
What are you looking forward to the most in your future going forward?
I am currently looking for an agent or manager to come on board, I have a lawyer already that acts like a manager but the goal is to get a manager whose actual profession is that in order to connect all the dots. The goal really is to get out on the road; this is my first project and I would really love to tour and I have my eyes set on these things. I would just love to get into these people’s hometowns, perform and record new music. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.