Nashville is like Newfoundland, except for the accent, says singer Mallory Johnson

Mallory Johnson of Conception Bay South is building on the success of her 2015 single Tupelo by immersing herself in Nashville's country music scene.

Have a First Listen to Mallory Johnson's Nashville-made debut EP

Mallory Johnson of Conception Bay South has moved to Nashville to further her country music career. (courtesy Dave Howells )

"It's basically the same thing as Newfoundland except the accents are different," says country singer Mallory Johnson of her new home in Nashville.  

Johnson, who is from Conception Bay South, took the country music world by surprise when her single Tupelo rocketed up the iTunes music charts in 2015.

"That song has done a lot for me. It's opened a lot of doors,"  said Johnson.

After Tupelo, Johnson moved to Toronto for a year, and in November she relocated to Nashville, the centre of the country music industry — and a city that she now loves.

"The people are very, very friendly. Everyone is warm and welcoming," said Johnson.

Serious about music

As friendly as Nashville may be, Johnson said it is also a very serious music industry town.

"I have friends who go to their publishing house or wherever their writing room is, and they're there from 9 a.m. to 5 [p.m.]," said Johnson.

"Whether they come up with a song, whether they come up with a hook, whether they come up with 10 songs, they sit themselves in that room and they create."

Johnson spends her time writing, in both formal environments such as writing rooms, informally with friends, seeing other musicians perform and working on her own performing. .  

Her self-titled debut EP was created with legendary Nashville music producer Sammy Kershaw and seasoned Nashville studio musicians.

"It was very intimidating for me," said Johnson. "But walking in there I've never felt so confident, and I've never felt so validated that this is what I should be doing."

Success requires a lot of work

Johnson acknowledged that making a career in the country music industry is daunting.  

She said her mentors have told her that she needs to have good music, a good live show, to be a kind and humble person, and cultivate supporters and cheerleaders within the industry.

"All of these, they kind of need to line up for things to work out," said Johnson. "The only thing that's going to make that happen is if you work really hard for it."

Have a listen to Mallory Johnson's conversation with Weekend AM host Heather Barrett. 

Conception Bay South's Mallory Johnson talks to Weekend AM's Heather Barrett about her life in Nashville and brings along her self-titled debut EP for a First Listen 18:25

Do you have a new album of music that Weekend AM should know about for First Listen? Email us wam@cbc.ca and tell us about it.

You can hear First Listen on Sundays on Weekend AM from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. (5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in Labrador) on CBC Radio One.  

About the Author

Heather Barrett

CBC

Heather Barrett is the host and producer of Weekend AM on CBC Radio One in Newfoundland and Labrador.