Cody Fry: On American Idol, His New Album & Film Scoring

Cody Fry: On American Idol, His New Album & Film Scoring

Belmont University Alum Takes on The Music World With New Album

I didn't get a chance to meet Cody when i interviewed him but i could tell through his writing in an interview via email there is something different about him. Each song has its own story to tell, something he highlights with his varied use of styles — one minute a rich slice of blue-eyed soul and a full blown pop rock anthem the next. Torn between the worlds of songwriting and film scoring, Cody makes for a surprising mixture of the two. I fell in love with the title track "Falling": very nostalgic and uplifting tones definitely an artist to listen to if you are a fan of artists in the same realm as John Mayer, Ben Rector and Dave Barnes. Go listen to his album now!!

I saw that you recorded orchestra on your album; what was that like?

"It was an absolute dream. I do some orchestrating and composition on the side, but this was the first time I got to do it for my own music. There’s nothing like being in the room with all those musicians and hearing that music come to life for the first time. We recorded a ton of music, 17 songs in one day, but it was a bucket list experience for me. Definitely a stressful day, but so much fun."

Does composing film scores influence your traditional songwriting and vice versa?

Definitely. When I’m writing for film, songwriting helps me to think more melodically. And with songwriting, it helps me to think more cinematically. The whole goal of film scoring is to create music that enhances the mood of the scene, whether it be heart-wrenching, or joyful, or anything in between. So with Flying, I got to sort of “score” my own songs. I tried to think, “What instrumentation or arrangement will help create the right feeling to help accentuate the meaning of this song?” and that’s a lot of fun for me. Ideas like using fast flute/clarinet passages to create the feeling of “wind”—that’s straight from the film scoring playbook.

What is your favorite film score?

I’m a big John Williams fan. He composed the scores for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jaws, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, to name a few. The music is so well crafted and so much fun to listen to.

What vision did you have in mind while writing "Flying" and how did you come to choose the title track for the record?

The song “Flying” really represents what I wanted to accomplish with the record, and how it feels to put yourself out there in a creative way. Obviously the song is literally about a guy who jumps off of a cliff, but the metaphor is pretty obvious, and that’s how it feels to release an album—jumping into the unknown. And on a musical level, I think it’s the most successful combination of songwriting and film scoring on the album.

As a Belmont alum what advice would you give to music majors interested in film scoring and songwriting majors interested in making it as an artist?

Focus on your product. If you’re a songwriter, write the best songs. If you want to write for film, compose at the highest level. Don’t get distracted by branding or color scheme or social media data, that stuff is all sideshow. A great product markets itself.

One thing I’ve noticed about successful creative artists—they all have a killer gut instinct. You might call it “taste.” College is the best time to develop this sense because you’re constantly being exposed to new perspectives and material. Explore new genres, learn as much as you can, analyze what makes a great song great, then try to replicate it. I’m not in college anymore and I still try to do this as much as I can!

Man, there’s so much I would say to myself in college. Lift up and celebrate others. Always be kind. Share credit, take the blame. Cultivate humility. Don’t speak ill of others. I guess all that stuff goes without saying. College is the best. Take time to enjoy it.

How has American Idol impacted your music career?

"I learned a lot about performing under pressure. There’s nothing like the pressure of TV cameras, it’s really intense. In terms of practical impact like new fans or things like that, I think it helped out a bit. Probably not as much as you’d think, but I definitely run into people every now and then who saw me on Idol and became fans."

What have you learned from touring with Ben Rector, Dave Barnes, Hunter Hayes and any others?

"Oh man. Great question. I’d compare it to the food industry. I feel like I’ve gotten to train under so many great chefs, work in their restaurants, learn about their cooking techniques, see how they run their businesses. And now I want to open my own restaurant, but because of those experiences, I at least have a little starting knowledge of how to get going. I feel extremely lucky that I have friends who I can call and get great advice since they’ve been through this stuff.

I’ve learned so much practical knowledge, like what a Tour Manager does. But also some things that are more difficult to articulate, like how to deal with the anxiety that comes with being an artist or how to lift up the people on your team. Those things, the ones that are harder to articulate, those are the lessons that are absolutely invaluable."

What are you hoping your fans will feel/take in from this album?

"I just hope people enjoy listening to it. I had so much fun making it, I hope that it comes across. And I hope that this album represents a page turn into a new chapter for me. I’m really excited to get on the road and play these songs."

Cover Image Credit: Cody Fry

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