Last week, Nashville-based artist Cody Fry released “Flying,” his first album in three years. Fry’s lyrics and cinematic music meld together to capture a moment in time and allow us to visualize the concise story that the album tells. The way that the songs bleed into each other makes you want to listen to the album from start to finish without skipping a track.
I spoke with Cody Fry about what exactly went into the creation of his album and what artistic decisions he made along the way.
BCT: First off, I’d like to get to know you a little better — Where did you grow up and how did your environment encourage you to pursue music?
Cody Fry: Thanks for having me! I grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago, a town called Northfields. When I was a kid, my father was a jingle writer. That business was really booming in the 90s and he wrote countless TV and radio commercials for companies like McDonald’s, Nintendo, etc. and we had a pretty rad studio in the house. It was a really exciting place to be around when I was a kid. And my dad got so much joy from creating music. It was so apparent that, more than anything else, was what inspired me to pursue music. It really is just so much fun!
BCT: I’ve heard that you can play several different instruments. What can you play and what is your go-to instrument for songwriting?
Cody Fry: Well, I’ve always been willing to give any instrument a try. But the only instruments I would say I am truly proficient with are guitar and piano. I’ve played lots of instruments on recordings (drum set, bass, accordion, mandolin, trumpet, saxophone, ukulele, Irish whistle, melodica, marimba) but only in the safety of the studio. My trumpet playing would probably send people running for the doors!
BCT: Why did you decide to relocate to Nashville for your music, as opposed to another big music city?
Cody Fry: It was sort of by chance. After high school, I wasn’t planning on going to college but my friend Niko convinced me to check out Belmont University, which is in Nashville. I really loved the environment and community and ended up applying. I’m really glad I did. Nashville is such a great town, and the community I got to be a part of at Belmont really strengthened me as an artist and musician.
BCT: “Flying” is your first full length album in three years. Why the long break before going into the studio again? What makes “Flying” different than anything else you’ve released?
Cody Fry: Good question. Honestly, it takes me a long time to make albums, particularly because I’m doing other work at the same time to pay the bills. I didn’t plan on taking this much time between albums, but I also didn’t want to rush it.
The album is different for me in a lot of ways, one of which is that I used a producer for the first time. Chad Copelin is an unbelievably talented producer and engineer who graciously agreed to help me with this project. Chad has worked with so many cool artists from across the genre spectrum — Sufjan Stevens, Kelly Clarkson, Third Eye Blind; he’s crushing it. We produced most of the album at his killer studio in Norman, OK, and his involvement raised the quality exponentially.
BCT: You included an orchestra on the album, complete with strings and a horn section. This might come as a surprise to some people, given the fact that your music is upbeat and vibrant. Why did you decide to make this move when recording your album?
Cody Fry: That’s the fun stuff for me. I love film music, I love orchestrating and working with symphonic musicians, so at some point I just decided, “I’m going to put orchestra on every song on the album.” I thought it would bring a cool cinematic flavor to the music and make it a bit more unique than just a straight-ahead pop record. I tried to use orchestra a little differently on each song, to see how many different sounds I could come up with. I also wanted to bring some little-used instruments into pop music, like flute, clarinet, and french horn. I wish I had some cool artistic explanation for why I wanted to use orchestra, but the truth is that it just sounded fun, so I did it!
BCT: You recorded “Flying” in Ocean Way Studios in Nashville. There’s a lot of history there — tell us about the experience.
Cody Fry: I’ve been lucky enough to do a lot of work at Ocean Way over the past few years. I’ve scored several projects for other people in Studio A, and there is no better place to record orchestra in Nashville. The team there is incredible. So, when it came time to record my album, Ocean Way was the obvious choice. The main tracking room in Studio A is a converted church sanctuary, with stained glass windows and super high ceilings. It’s stunning. Really a special place.
BCT: Why did you feel like including an intro and some interludes was an important part of the album as a whole?
Cody Fry: The album is pretty wide-ranging, swinging from electronic-dance to organic ballad. I wanted to give a little space for listeners’ ears to adjust, and the interludes helped me do that. Also, it was just really fun to write them. I’d do a whole album of interludes if I could!
Each one is supposed to prepare the listener for the tune that follows. Like “Wind at the Edge of a Cliff” — it’s supposed to give you the feeling of standing on the precipice of a mountain while the wind is sort of dancing around you, represented by all the woodwind flourishes. That emotion really helps set up the theme and tone of “Flying,” which immediately follows the interlude.
BCT: SiriusXM The Pulse premiered your song “Go,” as well as “Nobody But You” from the new album. How did you get connected with them?
Cody Fry: There’s a programmer named Adam over at The Pulse who found my music somehow. I was shocked when he emailed me and asked if I’d like to be included on one of their shows. Super cool! They have been so supportive.
BCT: I also went to school at Belmont, and we had a Showcase Series there. Each artist who performed got to sing two original pieces of music and one cover. If you had to choose two originals and one cover song that you believe really showcased your talent and what you’re about as an artist, what would you pick?
Cody Fry: I actually performed in the Urban/Pop showcase my sophomore year at Belmont, I wore a purple v-neck and covered “Billie Jean!”
The cover I always do at my show is “Over the Rainbow” so I’d probably do that tune. hard to pick, but I’d probably do “Flying” and “Better” as well.
BCT: Since you just released “Flying,” what do you have planned for the rest of the year?
Cody Fry: I’ve got some Christmas music coming out in December. Really excited about it. We recorded it at the same time as “Flying,” with the orchestra and all that. I’ll be finishing that up and getting it prepped for release! It will be called “Christmas Music Vol. I.” Clever title, I know. The plan is to release a few holiday songs each year until I run out!
Thanks so much for having me. Really appreciate you taking the time!
Make sure that you check out Cody’s new album “Flying,” which was released on October 6th
You can catch up with Cody on social media here: