One of the industry’s foremost songwriting coaches with thousands of student success stories under her belt, multiple award-winning singer-songwriter Deedee O’Malley’s influential volume The Lemonade Maker musical ebook is her trademark primer on how to take setbacks and turn them into something great. She also has a YouTube show titled The Lemonade Maker. With pandemic related lockdowns preventing indie and superstar artists alike from gigging and touring, no year has tested her trademark optimism like 2020.
Believing in that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel and urging everyone to keep their spirits up and positivity focused, O’Malley and her Nashville-based singing and writing partner Mike Lusk are not simply making lemonade––they’re literally blooming, personally and creatively, as the romantic country-pop duo POPPYIRIS, named after the state flowers for their home states of California and Tennessee.
Launching with the drop of three singles at the tail end of 2019, POPPYIRIS has enjoyed a prolific output in 2020 (pre and during the pandemic), releasing nine singles, two full-length albums (Love Just Knows and Uptown Girl Downhome Guy) and earned thousands of views on YouTube and their website for the nine videos they have shot this year for infectious songs like “Uptown Girl Downhome Guy,” “Why The Hell Knot,” “Greener Where You Are,” “So Familiar,” “My Red White and Blue,” “Our Time, “Ain’t No Secret,” “Finally Got It Right,” “Popsicle Stand” and “Another Chance.”
“Deedee and I really focused on shooting the videos when COVID-19 shut live performances down,” says Lusk, a veteran studio vocalist who has sung with country greats like Tanya Tucker, Garth Brooks, Darius Rucker, Miranda Lambert, Alan Jackson and George Strait. “Though we have worked together in Nashville, it made more sense for me as one person to fly out to the West Coast, where they have such amazing, diverse terrain—desert, mountains, beaches, valleys—that we chose to feature in these clips.”
O’Malley, a three-time John Lennon Songwriting Contest winner who has shared stages with the likes of LeAnn Rimes, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers and Glen Campbell and sung with Jermaine Jackson, Patti Labelle and The Pointer Sisters, adds, “We started to do these when it seemed people all felt trapped in their own homes and backyards. We chose to shoot in these wide-open spaces to give people at home a sense of space when they couldn’t get it themselves.”
Lusk and O’Malley’s POPPYIRIS collaborative team includes her longtime songwriting partner Cindy Walkov and producer Grant W, Nicholas, who has worked with Yolanda Adams, Sy Smith, Ne-Yo, Toni Braxton and John Legend. The duo first connected when O’Malley and Walkov came to Nashville in 2016, hoping to find the best male vocalist for O’Malley to sing their recently penned duets with. They found Lusk through producer Peter Young. The singers had instant personal and vocal chemistry and recorded many of these duets. Once O’Malley realized Lusk was also an accomplished songwriter, they took their collaboration to a new level and evolved into an official duo patterned after the male-female dynamic of artists like Sugarland and Lady A.
“When we first met at the studio in Franklin, we realized our senses of humor were similar, the professionalism was there, and there was a deep connection that was as if we had known each other our whole lives,” Lusk says. O’Malley adds, “We branded ourselves POPPYIRIS because there’s no better symbol for the concept of timeless love than a flower. Beyond just musical partners, we have become great friends and are also part of each other’s families.”
Contact POPPYIRIS via Don Swartz, 615-477-4801