Openly gay singer Davis Mallory has debuted a new pop song called "Jane Fonda" for the masses. The track was written in Stockholm, Sweden and the video was directed by Cooper Smith in Nashville, Tennessee.
Many may recognize Mallory from his MTV Real World days in 2006 or his later appearances on the network's Challenge competition shows.
He has gone on to DJ and write music over the years. His EP Loud dropped in 2017.
Along with the "Jane Fonda" single, songs such as "Shirtless," "Sun and Moon" and "Getting 2 Close" are planned for a forthcoming album.
Windy City Times: Where does the name "Davis" come from?
Davis Mallory: I'm a fourth, so my full name is James Davis Mallory IV. My mom wanted to differentiate me and had me go by "Davis." Everyone above me went by "James."
WCT: You grew up in Atlanta, Georgia?
DM: YesI was born there.
WCT: You knew you were gay in sixth grade?
DM: Pretty much. I remember liking a girl in sixth grade, but also remember liking a guy around that age. I told my mom, then realized I let out something I shouldn't have, because of the way she responded to it.
It grew as I got through high school and I was more aware of guys.
WCT: How did you celebrate Pride this year?
DM: I was going to play some Pride festivals this year, but those were cancelled. I was booked in California, North Carolina and was in talks with Germany and Australia. All four of those would have been new to me.
When Pride actually happened, I didn't really do anything.
WCT: How was being an out cast member on MTV overall? Was it positive or negative from fans of the show?
DM: Mostly it was positive. I am sure there was some negativity, but I remember the positive. Many people identified with me and still message me to this day that they came out after seeing me on that show. That is always nice to see.
WCT: Do you watch the current MTV Challenge show?
DM: I watched some of last year's shows. MTV used my song "Shirtless" on one episode.
WCT: This new music was planned to be released before the pandemic?
DM: Yes. Two summers ago I was in Sweden for a performance and I wrote five songs. I have only released two of them so far. "Shirtless" was the first and "Jane Fonda" was the second. I started writing more and more in the same style. One of them is called "Atlanta," which is produced by the same person that did "Jane Fonda." I was going to call the album Atlanta, but decided to name it something different. I haven't announced it yet, so I will hold that back until later.
WCT: Why did you pick actress Jane Fonda for the new song?
DM: She held a big name in Georgia, being married to Ted Turner. Turner Broadcasting was based out of Atlanta. Her name felt like a melody and I built the concept around it.
I will admit I had heard the Mickey Avalon song by the same name in my youth and I always thought it was cool.
WCT: Do you have to get the rights to use the name?
DM: I reached out to her team and showed them the song prior to releasing it. I asked for her involvement. She declined to be in the video, but gave permission to use the clips.
Her rep said she is very focused on her activism and doesn't want to distract from that.
WCT: Why not pick Ricky Martin as the subject instead?
DM: It's not necessarily a heterosexual song. The lyrics are "you are stunning and fine like Jane Fonda" and, for me, that's about a guy.
Prince was a big inspiration for that song, because after he died I listened to every song he made. His [androgyny] influenced me as an artist, as well as George Michael's career. My management suggested that I could be the next George Michael made me want to cater to a female fanbase.
The song is not me. I did "Shirtless," which is about how good looking men are when their shirts are off. I didn't want to make a career off of me being gay.
WCT: Was there a moment in Jane Fonda's career that was your favorite?
DM: Her workout videos were inspiring. I do watch Grace and Frankie, her recent work too. Barbarella is super-cool with the styling.
WCT: Is your song "Anyone Would Know" about coming out?
DM: That song was about a guy I dated in New York prior to moving to Nashville. I find myself journaling about things when they are not good to help with stress. I brought that journal into the co-writing session. The words "anyone would know that I'm with you" are from my journal. I wrote it to boldly show him how much I loved him. He was jealous of me and Mike C. Manning from The Real World: DC having a friendship. That was the reason we broke up in the end.
It was a big song for me because it got me assigned to a label.
WCT: You put out a song called "Lost" with a Peruvian DJ?
DM: Yes. I wrote that with a girl that I lived with at the time and stars in the music video with me. It was a topline, where a DJ needs lyrics written over his music. I wrote it and he approved it. The video was nominated in DJ Mag Peru for Best Music Video the year it came out.
I like the message of the song. It's about if someone's life is not heading the right way that God has their life under control. I was raised with a Christian upbringing.
WCT: How is living in Nashville working out for you?
DM: Nashville has been a great place for me. I moved here after living in New York, Chicago and Atlanta all for two years in each place.
Now, I have been in Nashville for seven years. People are here for music. It is not just country music, but many different genres. I have been able to write and produce songs here. I do have an itch to go live in LA, or maybe Europe.
WCT: How has COVID affected your career so far?
DM: I have not been able to go out and perform, so I have mainly stuck to online promotions. I just did a virtual Chicago Ryan Banks Academy fundraiser with Jeff Garlin as the host this past June where I sang one song. I think I'm putting the song on the album. I wrote it at the start of COVID and it is very churchy!
Put your leg warmers on and dance over to DavisMallory.com for information on "Jane Fonda" and Mallory's other work.