In July 2014, when Mallory Johnson stepped on stage at a small local pub in Newfoundland, she had no idea that the realization of her dream had been set into motion. Fresh off of winning a provincial competition to find Newfoundland’s “Next Country Star”, Mallory signed a management and production deal with multi platinum artist, Sammy Kershaw, and was off to Nashville and Muscle Shoals to record for her debut solo album.
Since her debut release, Mallory has been busy promoting and performing her music. She completed her first US radio tour in 2016, was a featured songwriter on “Four Chords and the Truth” in Toronto, showcased during CCMA week 2016 in London ON, performed for the American Ambassador, and has shared the stage with artists like Alan Doyle, Dean Brody, and Rascal Flatts.
Mallory recently released her new single “Good Mistake to Make”. I had a chance to chat back and forth with Mallory to find out more about her, and her summer plans.
Jenn: First of all, tell us a little bit about you?
Mallory: I’m a singer/songwriter and Country Music Artist from Newfoundland & Labrador, based in Toronto. I’ve been performing professionally since I was eleven years old with my family band “The Cormiers”, but these days I’ve been pursuing a solo career in country music. Since 2014, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to visit Nashville and Muscle Shoals to record my debut record, I’ve continued to share stages with artists I look up to, and I’ve been busy promoting some songs off my debut album. I actually just released a brand new single called “Good Mistake to Make”!
Jenn: What is it like to have Sammy Kershaw as your manager?
Mallory: Sammy has been one of my biggest supporters over the last couple of years and I’m very lucky to have him as well as Billy Holland on my team. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to have on my side rooting for me. Having someone like Sammy believe that I have the potential to have a long-lasting career in this business just validates this crazy dream of mine. His advice and knowledge of the country music industry are priceless and I definitely don’t take that for granted.
Jenn: Your mother Loretta Johnson was a recording artist, how did her career influence you?
Mallory: I think her influence was the strongest of all. I grew up listening to my mom perform on stage, and her passion for music is contagious. I got bit by that bug at a very early age and never really imagined myself doing anything else. My family have been my cheerleaders since the first time I held a microphone. I consider myself very lucky to have a family that strongly supports what I do.
Jenn: Who were some of your music influences?
Mallory: I grew up listening to a lot of strong female country artists like Dolly, Loretta, Shania, and The Dixie Chicks. They push boundaries and I think that’s so important as an artist. Kacey Musgraves is another artist I’m inspired by for the same reason. Her writing style is brilliant, she doesn’t filter her lyrics based on what other’s think, and I love how she sprinkles her sense of humor in her writing.
Jenn: Can you tell us about your writing style?
Mallory: That’s always a little tricky because I don’t really have a specific formula I use when I’m writing. Sometimes it starts with a hook, sometimes I browse through melodies I’ve recorded on my voice memo app, and sometimes both melody and lyrics happen simultaneously.
I definitely enjoy using metaphors, and I like trying to find alternative ways to say things that have already been said.
When it comes to my sound, I think a lot of my material leans towards a 90’s country vibe. There are some songs where you can definitely hear influences from my background in Celtic music, as well as influences from artists I admire in the industry.
Jenn: What are your plans for the summer?
Mallory: I’m spending a lot of time this summer touring radio stations in the US to promote my new single “Good Mistake to Make”. Outside of that, I have a few shows in Toronto, and some at home in Newfoundland!
Jenn: Your new release “good mistake to make”. Can you tell us what it is about?
Mallory: Definitely! “Good Mistake to Make” is one of my favourite songs to play live. It’s upbeat, sassy, and usually one that encourages people to dance. It’s a song about taking risks, being vulnerable, and wearing your heart on your sleeve regardless of how it might all turn out in the end. I’m super excited about the writers on this one too —Hillary Lindsey, Gordie Sampson, and Troy Verges. They’re well respected in the country music writing community, and it’s cool to be one of the voices who delivers their work to an audience.
Jenn: What is on your current playlist?
Mallory: Kacey Musgraves, always! I also LOVE the new Chris Stapleton record, and Jason Isbell’s stuff is usually on repeat, especially his album “Southeastern”. I’ve been in songwriting mode for a while too, so I’ve been listening to a lot of Lori McKenna, Natalie Hemby, and Hailey Whitters (to name a few!).