Cody is one of the first true friends I found in Nashville, as we discovered each other during the early UPstar. Music days back in 2019. It's been so cool to see the improvements Cody has made both as a songwriter and artist in the past few years. I sat down and talked to Cody about his sensational song "Hitched", making the move from Ohio to Nashville and how much living in Nashville has helped him improve his artistry and songwriting.
Get To Know Cody
"I'm from the rural part of Middletown, Ohio. I picked up a guitar when I was 14 and started playing live when I was 20, getting into bars with a fake ID. At that point I was playing hometown gigs. I really loved music growing up. What got me into playing guitar was the game Guitar Hero. I was like "man, I really want to play these songs on a real guitar". From that point I started playing some riffs and eventually started playing Country Music. I went to school to play college baseball for a year. I was a pretty good bullpen catcher but really fell out of love with it. I transferred to a community college back home and eventually music became more important than school for me. I dropped out to pursue music. That's how I got started, then I moved to Nashville a year and a half ago."
Driving Away With A Broken Heart
You look at the artwork for "Hitched", see the ring and automatically assume that this is another cheesy love song. You couldn't be more wrong. The first verse of the song pulls you in as a guy is getting ready to ask his girlfriend to marry him. He gets hit with some cold hard truth as the chorus makes you realize that this couple isn't getting hitched. This poor guy is getting thrown out on his ass, is loading up the trailer with all of his prized possession and has to package up his broken heart right along with it. Cody Garrett and Liam Slater showcase their witty songwriting and display that their pens can hang with the best of them. A great play on words and a song that will pull on your heart strings. This is a song that has and will continue to put Cody Garrett on the map. Excited to see what's next. "Hitched" was released on October 22, 2021 and has racked up over 160,000 streams on Spotify.
Inspiration Behind "Hitched"
Written By: Cody Garrett, Jake Parshall & Liam Slater, Produced By: Jake Parshall
"I was with Liam Slater and we went over to Jake Parshall's studio, primarily to hang. We went there to write a song and when we walked in Jake said "I got this title Hitched for ya". We threw it around a bit. At first it was a party song about forgetting a girl and hitching up with my boat. We realized it would be much better as a sad song so we came up with the idea of hitching up a trailer with all of our things. We were going to get hitched with a couple of kids and then the only thing getting hitched was the trailer that's driving away. We wrote it fairly quickly, came back the next day, made a demo with Jake and put some finishing touches on it. The process just flowed. It was easy to write and was written from the heart. I can't think of another song out there with a situation where the girl leaves you out of the blue and you have no idea what to do. That is the premise of the song. You're in love with the girl in the first verse and going to propose, then you break up. When the second verse comes around you're asking yourself what you did wrong. Was it "could I have turned a couple more wildcat games off?", or helped out more around the house, but you're not sure. It was a unique story to us and a fun song to write".
Q & A With Cody Garrett
Q: What was that "lightbulb" moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music?
A: "I think it got to the point where I was writing so many songs by myself in Ohio but wasn't improving much. I knew I needed help improving my songs. I believed that I was good enough to make it down here. People say "if you want to succeed in Country Music you have to move to Nashville''. I wasn't sure about that, but now I believe that wholeheartedly. People make you better here, whether it’s other artists, songwriters, people in the industry, people hosting writer's rounds or anything like that. They are all in for the music. I think I was stuck in a state of mind in Ohio and wasn't getting better. I feel as though I've gotten so much better at writing, singing, playing guitar, all of it, since I've been here."
Q: What was the transition like for you, making "the move" from Ohio to Nashville?
A: "Definitely had to get out of my comfort zone. I think I'm very outgoing, but there are settings where I'm very shy and closed minded. I had to get myself out there more and shake hands with people that I never would have before - because I would be too shy or scared. I did meet a lot of people through UPstar. Music and that made my transition a lot easier. A lot of it was shaking hands with people or sending Instagram DM's to people whether they responded or not. I learned to grow thicker skin and not let things bother me as much. Personally, I have drifted away from some friends at home just because we don't see each other all the time. We’ve gone from going out every weekend to just a couple times a year. It can be hard to make friends down here and that's different. A nice change is that I have a grocery store right across from me while at home it is 20 minutes away from my house."
Q: Who are some artists and songwriters who influence your music?
A: "I really like the traditional artists like Jon Pardi and Riley Green, but still love guys like Sam Hunt and Morgan Wallen that bend the boundaries a little. Morgan Wallen does a little bit of everything; some stuff that's Country and some that's more Rock. There is also "Wasted on You" and "Broadway Girls" that have more of a trap beat in them. Cody Johnson is another one. I don't wear a cowboy hat, but love the guys that do and play real ass Country Music. I listen to everything. I grew up on Rap and Rock though it doesn't influence me that much in my writing. I do slip in some guitar melodies that are more Rock influenced. I can lay down a fat rhyme - I used to rap in high school."
Q: What's the best advice you've ever been given?
A: "There are a couple things. I like the saying "you can't trust the process, you have to enjoy the process" because when you make it, you are there and there's nothing really else to chase. So if you aren't loving what you're doing now, then you won't be as happy then. And "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger", is another saying that's very important to me."