Cody Johnson Is Inspired by Eric Church Standing Up for ‘What He Believes In’
"Even though our music is nothing alike, I feel like we are a lot alike in the way that he’s doing what he believes in,” Johnson tells Taste of Country on the same day Church released his new single, "Desperate Man."
“I think that guys like me and Eric Church, if we tried to do anything other than just be authentic and be ourselves and give you what really is deep down inside of us, it’s just going to come across as fake."
Johnson should know: As one of the most successful independent artists to come out of Texas, the mainstream newcomer has racked up some impressive numbers just being who he is—a cowboy with a dream. His peers who fight for what they believe in keep him doing what he's doing.
“I think Chris Stapleton has had a huge influence in making the pendulum swing the other way toward more traditional country music,” Johnson remarked hours before taking the stage before an exuberant crowd assembled for his set at Windy City Smokeout in Chicago.
“Even though [Stapleton] is not technically traditional country, I think his attitude and his ‘I don’t give a damnness’ made the pendulum swing a bit more, and I kind of think I possess the same quality.”
Country music fans’ adoration for these sorts of artists can not go understated, as demonstrated by Johnson’s ever-growing "Co Jo Nation"—which not only continues to follow the former amateur bull rider from city to city, but also is doing everything in its power to ensure that he will be someone within the industry to be reckoned with for a long, long time.
“When you stand behind the microphone every night and you watch it happen from New York to Florida to Wyoming to southern California to Chicago, it’s just the coolest thing,” says Johnson, who recently put the final touches on his new deal with Warner Music Nashville. “We have always had our own little niche, but now it’s starting to come alive like never before. I think Warner saw that in me a lot more than I did, because I just keep my head down and stay focused on the task at hand so much.”
And in case you were wondering, Johnson has no intention of letting this new record deal change him one bit.
“I truthfully feel that Warner saw the potential in me to make some history in country music and they wanted to be a part of it,” notes Johnson, who will soon release a brand-new album under the label umbrella. “I know I could have done it without them, but it would have taken another 10 years.
"When you have an entity like Warner that is willing to do it the way you have done it and they have shown such respect for the path we have been taking, I just feel like it was just God's timing, His always-perfect timing.”
Listen to Cody Johnson, "With You I Am"