Okolona teen realizes 'dream' on the Net

OKOLONA – Jordyn Mallory just took one giant step forward on her road to stardom.
The 18-year-old singer-songwriter left her hometown of Okolona a year ago to jump start a career in country music. A year’s worth of songwriting and playing gigs finally paid off, when she won the chance to star on an Internet show, “If I Can Dream.”
“It’s like ‘Real World’ and ‘Big Brother,’ without any of the fussing and fighting,” Mallory said in a phone interview from Nashville. “It was really cool.”
The show, created by “American Idol” producer Simon Fuller, follows musicians, models and actors on the road to fame. The “dreamers” share a house in Beverly Hills, and Mallory lived in the house for two weeks. New episodes of “If I Can Dream” air each Tuesday at Hulu.com, and episodes featuring Mallory should begin to air this Tuesday or next.
Mallory won a MySpace competition to become a “dreamer.”
“I joined later in the contest, and I got a call from (producers) to do a Skype interview. Then three weeks later, they told me I had been voted into the Top 2, so I got all my friends and family to start voting. A week later they called to say I’d won, and four days later I was in L.A. It all happened so fast,” Mallory said.
The singer flew back into Memphis on Tuesday, stayed in North Mississippi long enough to visit family and friends and attend Friday night’s Jason Aldean concert in Tupelo, and then she arrived at home in Nashville over the weekend.
Sixty cameras followed the cast of the show to capture their every move.
“It was a little weird, but at the same time it was easy to forget about them,” she said.
Mallory said that while her episodes have yet to air, she’s already seen how the show can help her out.
“I’ve gotten so much exposure from it. I’ve gotten a lot of new fans and met so many people,” she said.
Mallory describes her sound as “country with a twist,” and said she has a lot of pop, Ramp&B and blues influences.
“I know there are so many young girls in country music; I’m trying to make something different and unique,” she said.
Mallory will show off that sound at a concert in Tupelo on Oct. 7.
Singer-songwriter John Milstead, from Tupelo, is performing it as well, and he, like Mallory, has spent a lot of time in Nashville lately. His song “Don’t Believe in Love” won second place at a major songwriting competition, which put him in touch with a host of songwriters.
“I’ve been going to Nashville for the last three weeks, writing with some pro writers,” Milstead said. “I’ve got probably six or seven writers next month. The first guy I’m working with worked with Ray Stevens.”
Milstead said he and Mallory have crossed paths in Nashville. The upcoming concert will showcase their writing abilities.
“It’s going to be an acoustic singer-songwriter type show,” he said. “I’ll do a stripped-down version of all my songs and talk about how I write, and she’s going to do the same.”
Contact Sheena Barnett at (662) 678-1580 or sheena.barnett@djournal.com.

Learn more
■ Watch episodes of “If I Can Dream” at Hulu.com, and learn more about the show on its site, ificandream.com.
■ Jordyn Mallory’s website is jordynmusic.com, and John Milstead is
on the web at johnmilstead.com.

Singer-songwriter benefit
- Who: John Milstead and
Jordyn Mallory
- When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7
- Where: The Lyric, Tupelo
- Cost: $10
- Info: (622) 844-1935
- Extra: Proceeds benefit the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society and the Tupelo Community Theatre.

Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal