Hall of Fame songwriter boogies into music video

By Sabreena Saleem

Local country songwriter Gary Mullis was inducted into Alabama’s VIP Songwriters Hall of Fame in May and doesn’t plan on stopping there.

Mullis has lived in the area for most of his life while maintaining strong ties with Alabama due to his music career. The ambitious songwriter takes pride in his accomplishments and has several awards and prizes displayed on a wall in his DeKalb apartment.

Northern Star: Can you tell me a little bit about your music?

Gary Mullis: Well, I’m a songwriter, and I’ve been writing songs since back in 1997, around that time … . I also played drums [and] played the tambourine [and] washboard. But I’ve been putting my songs in songwriting contests [since] back in 2008 … . I’ve won platinum and gold records for a lot of songs I’ve written … and they’re in the VIP Songwriters Hall of Fame.

NS: What’s one of your songs [you received a] platinum [for]?

GM: This year, a big platinum record I won [was the] … Songwriter of the Decade and I won a first place sponsorship this year … . I won first place for all three of my songs in the songwriting contest, and I won a free recording for all three of the songs. There’s “Pretty Angels,” a Christian song, “Wedding Day,” a wedding song [and] “Rolling Down the Road,” a truck-driving song … .

NS: Can you tell me more about the Hall of Fame?

GM: Kimberley Glover does a songwriting contest every year with an Alabama publishing company and a fundraiser for the Alabama … Music Hall of Fame … . Skeeter Davis … and myself were inducted this year, May 31, 2014, into the VIP Songwriters Hall of Fame Museum in Lexington, Ala.

NS: I see you’re wearing an Alabama sweatshirt. Do you go to Alabama often?

GM: I was down there this past June and … the song that I had written, I won a big platinum record for Song of the Year with Kimberley Glover performing it on her Christmas CD. I danced to the song that I [wrote], “Doing the Christmas Boogie” in my red Alabama outfit and a Santa hat on.

NS: “The Christmas Boogie” is a song you wrote, but [it’s] also a dance?

GM: Yeah. There are over 100 dancers in the video all dressed in Christmas costumes [doing the dance]. [The video is] going to be premiered … at the Taylor Street Plaza … on Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. … and … at The House Cafe the night before. Kimberly Glover and her husband Darrell Glover will be coming up here for the premiere … .

NS: Have you always been into country music?

GM: Well, I listened to Bill Blough down in Aurora, Ill., on WMRO radio. He played on the radio for many years. Back when I was 18 and lived on a farm over south of Malta … I listened to him.

NS: Did he inspire you to write music?

GM: Not then, but as I got older I tried to play the bass guitar and gave up on it. Then I kept to the drums … . I’m not the best, but I do pretty good on them … . My cousin said I can hold my own. I also play a washboard that Leroy Troy gave me. He played Billy Bob on [the TV show] “Hee Haw.”

NS: Which song that you’ve written is your favorite?

GM: I like my song “Doing the Christmas Boogie” … and if you search it on YouTube … people really like [it].

NS: Besides the video [premiere], do you have anything else you’re working on?

GM: I have a book I’m working on.

NS: What’s it about?

GM: The book is titled “Gary Mullis: Growing Up on Farm Country Music Nashville Stars.” It’s about me growing up on a farm.

NS: Have you finished writing the book?

GM: I’m all done writing the book and this guy in DeKalb … is helping me with it. We have over 400 pictures … . Some of them will be in the book.

NS: Will you also be talking about your music in the book?

GM: Yeah, I’ll be talking about my platinum records and the songwriting contests. Pictures [of those] will be in the book, too.

NS: When will the book be published?

GM: I’m not sure. Hopefully by the end of next year.

Gary Mullis will host a video premiere party for “Doing the Christmas Boogie” Oct. 6 at The House Cafe, 263 E. Lincoln Highway.