Interview with Davis Mallory

Interview with Davis Mallory

Music is a notoriously tough business. There are so many talented musicians out that it’s difficult to stand out. Davis Mallory, a former cast member of Real World Denver and an artist on the rise, is making his mark.

Today, we’re speaking to Davis about his new single “Sun & Moon”, how he uses PR and media strategy to promote his work,  his insight into what it means to be a full-time artist and his thoughts on the entertainment business.

Q: What PR strategies are you focused on in promoting your new single Sun & Moon?

Davis: One of my personal goals was always to be featured on Billboard–which I had just achieved earlier this month. I had learned my lesson in publicity with my last release, LOUD. I had hired a publicist to help with my project last summer. The publicist only got me spots in LGBTQ press, not mainstream. So these were smaller blogs when I wanted to get on MTV and Entertainment Weekly. To get on these blogs was outside of my budget, it cost about $2,500 per month. So, I decided to handle it on my own for Sun & Moon. I reached out to blogs myself, and many didn’t write back. Billboard, however, did write back and started covering me. It’s a highlight of my career so far.

Q: Which PR strategy and what promotional channels do you feel are most effective in your music campaigns?

Davis: I built my PR strategy little by little. I got advice from friends that worked at publicity firms. Then I created an email list. Every time a single came out I had one to 10 stories organically written about me. For those that don’t write back but have covered me before, I send out personal emails asking if they were willing to write about me again. One thing I’ve witnessed from working at a record label is that every time a “victory” happens, check in with your media list. My victories typically occur for me one to two times a year, and then I use it as a marketing opportunity, for example, reaching out to VEVO. Regarding social media, Instagram is my favorite but I also natively post on Twitter and Facebook. For Instagram, you can use 30 hashtags like a lot of people do, but you want to do it purposefully and target places you want to be discovered.

Q: Which PR strategy and what promotional channels do you feel are most effective in your music campaigns?

Davis: I built my PR strategy little by little. I got advice from friends that worked at publicity firms. Then I created an email list. Every time a single came out I had one to 10 stories organically written about me. For those that don’t write back but have covered me before, I send out personal emails asking if they were willing to write about me again. One thing I’ve witnessed from working at a record label is that every time a “victory” happens, check in with your media list. My victories typically occur for me one to two times a year, and then I use it as a marketing opportunity, for example, reaching out to VEVO. Regarding social media, Instagram is my favorite but I also natively post on Twitter and Facebook. For Instagram, you can use 30 hashtags like a lot of people do, but you want to do it purposefully and target places you want to be discovered.

Q: What was it like getting so much publicity from The Real World: Denver?

Davis: It was a weird experience because before the show I was a college student. When they started filming, I thought to myself, “Am I really on this show? Is this real life right now?” It was four to five months of shooting which was condensed to a total time of less than a days worth of TV. It was a crazy experience. Every morning you would get a microphone on your body underneath your shirt. We only had a specific directory of places we could go. After it aired everyone recognized me in public–from the grocery store to malls to clubs. They all wanted pictures with me. It was bizarre. After more seasons aired, it slowly stopped happening. I honestly wish I was on a music reality TV show instead like The Voice or American Idol. It would have made more sense!

Q: What made you decide to go into record labels and then leave marketing behind to launch your career as an artist?

Davis: In high school, I worked at a CD store and got a ton of CDs from record labels. I always loved getting in the shipment each week and took them home. I always dreamed of one day working at a record label to eventually get signed. I was under the impression that it was going to be like when Julie Roberts got signed. She worked at SONY in Nashville and then got signed when A&R heard her voice. So, I followed suit and took a job at Astralwerks, under EMI at the time, to work in the marketing department hoping to get signed. I realized this isn’t what happens in real life. Every time I brought on an intern, they also came to me with their CDs hoping to get signed too. Unfortunately, that’s not how the music industry works. You need to go out into the big world and promote to get fans.

Q: What have been some recent projects you’re most proud of?

Davis: I have a lot coming up! I recently did a two-and-a-half week tour with EuroPride. I booked that with my assistant and not a booking agency. I used a favorite video where I sang to a large crowd and then used that to contact bookers from different EuroPrides. Then I saw a window last summer where I wasn’t booked DJing every weekend in Nashville, and then set it up! The trick is to go one by one to an audience I knew would resonate with my music, and it worked. I also filmed three music videos by the end of this year which is very exciting. A lot is in the works, and it feels so good to be doing what I love every day.

Davis Mallory Profile Picture

Born and raised in Marietta, GA, Davis grew up singing in his church choir. After graduating college from Stetson University, Davis auditioned and was cast on MTV’s The Real World: Denver and starred on MTV Challenges: The Inferno 3, The Duel 2  and Rivals. Davis’ love for music lead him to a role as the music host for MTV’s NewNowNext.com. Davis attended Dubspot School of Electronic Music studying DJing and audio production, and began DJing throughout New York–his debut DJ performance was at the legendary nightclub Pacha. Davis also began songwriting, collaborating with New York artists on co-writes and writing toplines over EDM instrumentals. Already having an intriguing story to tell, Davis gave a TED Talk on his path out of Reality TV and into the music industry titled “Achieve Your Creative Dream.”

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