Celeb Secrets Country is kicking off your week by introducing you to the most genuine and humble artist in country music. Meet Cody Johnson; a 29-year-old from Huntsville, Texas that is about to dominate 2017.
We could tell right from the start that Cody is not your average superstar. He is truly himself from the time he wakes up to when he walks off the stage after a killer performance.
The singer recently released his new album, Gotta Be Me, in August and it debuted as #1 on the Country Album Chart on iTunes — no big deal, right?
Cody Johnson‘s music has made people walk 4 miles from the parking site to the venue, and he even had 12,000 people show up for one of his shows at a venue that can only hold 9,000 people! Johnson is definitely not a name to forget. With all of the publicity he has gotten recently, he is only going up the charts from here on out!
Check out Celeb Secrets Country‘s exclusive Q&A with Johnson below, where he talks about making music, the importance of family, and his plans for the holidays. Keep up with Cody by following him on Twitter at @CodyJohnsonBand.
Celeb Secrets Country: Your new album, Gotta Be Me, came out in August. How do you think that demonstrates your progression as an artist from your previous albums?
Cody Johnson: “It shows more of where I come from. The choices of songs, the feel of the flow, we had so much time for song choices on this album! Simply just listening to the songs that I had written and co-written, and not just picking our favorite songs but the songs that fit the best together. It kind of showed a little bit of a bluegrass background, a soul background, a gospel background, a rock and roll background. The goal is to have a record with a lot of different stuff on it but have the same flow down the middle.”
Celeb Secrets Country: Do you have a specific demographic that you are trying to make music for?
Cody Johnson: “I don’t think we’re trying to cater to a certain age demographic. I want an 18 year old to enjoy this album as much as a 36 year old or an 82 year old. Obviously there are going to be some people who are a little too young, or some people that are a little too old. Who I’m singing to are the believers of country music, people who are supportive of me and give me the job that I have. If I’m going to cater anyone, its going to be to those people who come out to our live shows and support what I do for a living.”
Celeb Secrets Country: You have been blowing up on the country scene! What has been the most unbelievable thing that you have experienced in the past year?
Cody Johnson: “The past year has been the most unbelievable experience! This entire year has literally kept me up multiple nights thinking how in the heck did I get here? From the company we get to keep to the places we get to go. I was just in Boise, Idaho, I walked in to the hotel and several people freaked out and ran over and started asking for pictures. That kind of stuff on a daily basis blows me away because I was never that type of guy. I never set out to get rich or famous. That’s something I never thought in a million year I would ever be, so I’m a down to earth guy so whenever you see people act like that you think, ‘Man, this music is making a ripple!’ We are getting invites to go play stages like the Opry, I never thought that would ever happen, or getting offers to go play shows with people like Jason Aldean! It’s a long way from playing in a bar in Texas, where I am from! You can’t take those things from granted. I was talking to someone in Idaho and they drove all the way from Nevada to be here. To think that I wrote or performed a song that meant so much to them to drive all the way to Idaho, that’s what country music is about to me.”
Celeb Secrets Country: What do you think makes you different from other country artists?
Cody Johnson: “You know, I don’t know. When I figure that out I’ll probably have to start over. I don’t think you should ever try to figure out what makes you unique, I don’t want to know the potion. I know I’m being myself, this is not a put-on. From the way I act on stage, to the way I act off stage, to the way I’m talking to you right now, it’s a daily dedication to be myself and to not let anything about this business or this career, I want to wake up everyday and give my best, whether its this interview or the show tonight, that’s just who I am.”
Celeb Secrets Country: How does your family support your career?
Cody Johnson: “Oh man! My family is the ultimate support system. My wife believes in me whenever I don’t believe in myself, and that is key for a guy like me. I am very driven and dedicated, but everybody is human, everybody is going to fall back sometimes and question themselves. There’s hard times in my job just like there’s hard times at anybody’s jobs. That’s when my wife and my parents and my friends that I hold dear lean in and go, ‘Hey man, you’re doing good. You have to keep going, don’t give up!’ God has put those kind of people around me for a reason and without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Celeb Secrets Country: What has been the most amazing concert that you have ever performed?
Cody Johnson: “I really don’t have a favorite. I’ve gotten to do some pretty incredible things. I’ve always said that when I get to play the Opry, that will probably be my most memorable set. When I used to ride bulls we used to say ‘You have to treat every bull the same, they’re all going to buck and you just have to ride them jump to jump,’ and that’s kind of how my shows are! I don’t care if I’m playing in the middle of the Rangers Stadium or to get up on stage in front of guys like Chris Young or 25 people in South Carolina, we put on the exact same show, every single show is my favorite. Its because I get to go out and play this stuff for a living and I get to have a hell of a lot of fun doing it! Every stage is the biggest stave to me, and that’s not just a blanket answer, I really don’t have a favorite.”
Celeb Secrets Country: Can you tell us a funny story that you’ve had on stage?
Cody Johnson: “Last night I forgot the words to a song about half way through and just giggled! I have fallen on stage, I jumped up and when I came down somebody had moved the ground and I fell flat on my ass in front of everyone. I’ve spilled some nacho cheese or some beer on me before I’ve gone on stage, I’ve had to run off stage and pee in the bathroom between guitar solos because I couldn’t hold it. There’s a million things people never realize what happens. I don’t have many horrible stories because we generally try to stay on top of the game.”
Celeb Secrets Country: What is your favorite way to interact with your fans?
Cody Johnson: “Recently I really have enjoyed doing Facebook Live! It is so cool to watch people tune in and their comments and questions. I’m not a big tech guy, I couldn’t even tell you how to login to Facebook, but that is such a cool way to interact face-to-face.”
Celeb Secrets Country: Rolling Stone said are beating Music Row at its own game! How does that make you feel?
Cody Johnson: “I remember reading that article several times and being amazed. I didn’t set out to do any of that, and I think if I had, I would’ve failed. I truthfully think the product of keeping your head down and just being humble and kind of doing your own thing and not being caught up in the hoopla of it all is what gets you where you need to be. There is nothing wrong with Nashville, but being from Texas, there is a huge stigma about being Texas or Nashville, I have had a publishing in Nashville, I’ve had record deal offers, I’ve had record labels turn me down, and I’ve had people wanting me to sign. There’s country music there, it just didn’t work for me this time. I’ve been told no so much. By the time the time they wanted to talk I had already gone ahead with my plan as if that was never going to be an option, it didn’t make sense financially or promotionally, and it was going to be a little harder to do this all on my own and stay independent. But I ain’t scared of hard work.”
Celeb Secrets Country: With all of that hard work do you have anything very exciting coming up in the next year?
Cody Johnson: “We do! We’re going to be playing some shows with some really big acts, headline some really cool shows, we’re going to be releasing a new single. I’m really looking forward to Christmas and to have a little time off! I’ve been going so hard this year and traveling so much, it’ll be great to spend time with my family! Today, my wife and my daughter are here with me, I get to hang out with them a little bit. But being home for Christmas and getting to take the hat off and focus on who I am and what makes me me, that’s my family and their love and support, that’s what I’m looking forward to the most!”
Celeb Secrets Country: What are some family traditions you do over the holidays?
Cody Johnson: “My dad and I usually end up going hunting! We’ll sit around and play guitars. My little girl’s birthday is in January during Steam Boat Music Fest, so its been a tradition over the past two years now to have her birthday in the snow, so that is something cool to look forward to! Little Texas girls don’t get to see snow all that often.”
Celeb Secrets Country: Do you have any advice for upcoming artists?
Cody Johnson: “Be yourself! There is no amount of fame or money that is worth integrity or character. I think its all about the people you keep around you. Don’t quit. In the beginning you’re going to be told no way more than yes. I don’t care how much talent you have, that’s just the way it is. I would say, don’t take no for an answer, always remain yourself, and always stay positive.”
Celeb Secrets Country: Since we are Celeb Secrets Country, do you have any secrets or fun facts about yourself that you would like to share with us?
Cody Johnson: “I have not always been the way I am. I haven’t always had this work ethic, I haven’t always given everything to the Lord to work out for me, its been a long long long process for me to get my head right to even get myself ready for some of the things heading our way this year. I’m just a normal guy, everyone has their own perception of singers and what they’re like off of the stage, but I’m just a normal guy- I like to go fishing, hunting, spend time with my family, watch football on Sunday, I’m pretty boring!”