Cody Johnson Turned Down A ‘Big Fat’ Record Deal
Cody Johnson is now on top of his game in country music. He has a number of CMA nominations going into next week’s show in Nashville, including one for the coveted Male Vocalist award.
When we talked with Cody recently, he told us that early on in his career, before he signed with Warner Brothers Nashville, many people wanted to change his style. He said, “You just have to stand your ground. I had a big fat record deal sitting in front of me when they asked me to take my hat off, and I turned it down. At the time, I was starving. My wife and I didn’t have anything, and that was a hard pill to swallow. This is not an easy thing to do to stand up and say, ‘I know who I am already. I don’t need you to tell me who I am. This is who I am, musically and personally.'”
Johnson added, “It gets easier over the years because the bigger you get, the more people accept that. I think it’s a hard road, and that’s why a lot of people don’t take it. They will let people influence them to change their name, change the way they dress, or change their producer because that producer had a lot of hits.”
Cody told us he’s glad he stood his ground, “It’s been a hard road, but I’m thankful for it because I feel like I’ve earned everything. When you get to it good, it tastes so much sweeter. And that’s really who I am, so I’m never gonna change that. I am not arrogant about it. I know who I am musically. I know who I am personally.”
Staying in his native Texas has also helped him along. He told us, “Not moving to Nashville is a huge part. If I lived in Nashville, people would want me to do things all the time. I think that being grounded comes from me living in the middle of nowhere on a cattle ranch in Texas, and when I get up in the morning, I shake all of this off. When I fly in private, get a driver to pick me up at the airport, and I come to the bus, and I rock twenty thousand people at night, then yeah, we’re in rock star mode.”
He concluded, “It’s fun, and I’m so grateful. I love my job, but when I go back home, I’m a husband, I’m a father, I’m a horse trainer, and I’m a cattle rancher. I think sticking to that and shaking off all this every week is a good process to be in.”