Cody Johnson’s new single is about to put him on the map! Get to know the country singer in an exclusive interview about his new song, forthcoming album, & more!
It’s been a long road to the top for former prison guard turned singer-songwriter Cody Johnson, 31, but the county crooner is about to have a major breakthrough! With a newly inked deal with Warner Nashville, and a sentimental first single from his forthcoming album, Ain’t Nothin’ To It, all eyes are on the the Texas native! Cody sat down to tell us about the new song, what to expect from the full album, and just why his fans are so incredibly special.
Before making music your full-time gig, you worked as a prison guard. Can you tell me about making that transition?
I played shows for a long time while I had that job. At the same time, my wife was working two jobs and we didn’t really know if the music thing was ever going to take or not. It was a huge challenge for me to quit – it was the longest standing job I had ever held. It was a career in my mind. So to leave that, and go play at the time, honky tonks and bars we didn’t really make a lot of money at, it was pretty scary. You have to have faith, and just keep going. What’s more surreal for me than that, if you can believe it, is all the time that’s gone in since then. I’ve been at this almost 11 years, and so, within the last five years, things have completely changed. We went from a truck and a trailer to a van and a trailer, to a bigger van and a trailer, to a bus and a trailer, now two busses and two trailers. Here we are doing this today, moments like this to me, getting to wake up in NYC and go do interviews all day, that’s more surreal to me than anything.
What was your earliest memory of music?
My dad played the piano. He always played the piano around the house growing up, and he played in church some growing up. Everybody in my family pretty much sings or plays something. My earliest memory of music was my dad playing Floyd Cramer.
As a kid being surrounded by music, did you ever have an inkling that this would be your life?
I always kind of knew or felt that I was meant for something. I always tried to find that, when I started riding bulls in high school…I thought that’s what my calling was. Even when I worked at the prison, I always thought “well one day I want to be a warden.” I’ve never been the kind of guy ok at being in the middle. I’ve always wanted to be the top at what I was doing. I took that drive and that passion and put it into music.
Your fans are very intensely passionate about your music. What do you think it is about your sound that they connect to so deeply?
We haven’t had the opportunity to be played on terrestrial radio as much. I think in today’s world, it’s kind of a cool generation and era for me to be in, because I feel like we as a society like things that other people don’t know about. And when you get a mass following of a bunch of people that kind of feel like they’re in this club so to speak – they’re pretty passionate about it. Another thing that I think contributes to that, is that I always have just empowered the fans. Without those fans, I don’t have anything anyway. It’s a point I make to say at every show – to give credits to those fans, because they are the ones who have streamed us to this point.
What is the inspiration behind the new single, “On My Way To You”?
To me, it’s a story of everybody. It’s a story about all the bad things that you kind of take for granted in the big picture, but get you to a good spot in the end. For me, I relate it to my wife, as most guys will when they hear the song. ‘Before I met you I was this I was that – and it led me to here.’ It’s a good retrospect song because people forget to look back sometimes on all the bad stuff that got you to the good point. All the hard miles that got me here to do this interview for instance. [My wife and I] have been married for 10 years. She was at one point pregnant in the backseat of a van, filled with a bunch of guys who were playing shows.She’s been there for all of it.
Tell me about the overall tone and feel of your new album?
The record is fun. I went through 400 plus songs. We were so blessed at the outpouring of songs we had people pitch to us for this record.This time, I asked myself, ‘if I got in my trunk, and I turned on the radio, what would I want to hear?’ It was a really fun process, and the having fun doing it, completely translated onto the record. In October, there will be a few surprises – sneak peak stuff to hold fans over until 2019.
Is there anything else you want to tell your fans about the record?
This is a turning point record. I feel strongly that this is going to be the record to bridge that gap for me. This album’s got a lot of passion in it, every single inch of it. This is me, all the way.