Hi Cody, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
HEY! You know what – I can’t think of a single thing to complain about, personally speaking, but if you want me to polarize your audience concerning the state of the world – I could go on and on!
Can you talk to us more about your latest release, “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere”?
I couldn’t think of a more appropriately isolating song than this (now classic) hit by Dwight Yoakam. We’ve all been feeling the blues this year, watching as our neighbors struggle in these hard times, and I wanted to reflect that sense of melancholy.
Did any event in particular inspire you to record this song?
YES! This year!! HAHA
Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?
I keep seeing these cool lyric videos that artists are putting out with their songs. That’s something that’s on my short-term bucket list.
How was the recording and writing process?
It was as close to feeling like Cinderella as a country boy from Arkansas can get. I never thought, in a million years, that I’d be walking into Ronnie Milsap’s studio (originally owned by Roy Orbison) to record a song by one of my heroes. Yet, there I was, masked up with sanitizer in hand, to do just that. It was like an out of body experience that was enhanced by having been caged in my house since March. Producer Skylar Wilso, and his incredible roster of players, took my references and explanation of how I wanted this thing to sound and delivered it in one expertly landed take. As a musician, there’s nothing like standing in a room, armed with the gifts of instrumentalists at the top of their game, and listening as what you hear in your head comes to life in front of you. It’s really something.
What role does Arkansas play in your music?
It’s in every note that swells from my throat. Every rodeo or homecoming game that I sang for (always the National Anthem.) Every funeral or small-town revival. I was “that kid that sings real good.” I lived a uniquely bucolic childhood that would’ve been an entirely different story had I not been a singer- a thing that wasn’t so much an after school activity as it was an extra limb. Singing came as natural to me as inhaling and exhaling. I don’t know, maybe that’s why people always perked up a little when I was singing. It was never a choice that I made, but a journey that I’ve always been on. First, I felt like my hometown of Beebe was rooting me on, and then, when I moved to Nashville in 2011, the whole damn state. Deep down, I’m always doing it for them.
How did your musical perspective change as you moved from Arkansas to Nashville?
If anything, I’ve honed my skills as a writer. I’d sure hope so after all these years. I’ve learned to be more of a realist and to appreciate the small victories. It’s so easy to lose sight of yourself in town where everyone around you is shooting for the same star. When I started focusing on the abundance rather than a scarcity of opportunity- that’s when I broke through the negativity that the ego loves to focus on. That’s when I found myself.
When I moved to town I was 100% sure that I’d have a deal in 3 months. haha I’ve lived 3 lifetimes since then and am so grateful that it didn’t happen for me sooner. As the folk song goes, “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.”
Having written for some major names in the industry – do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than on your own?
For me, writing with someone else always has a sense of urgency behind it. There’s this unacknowledged pressure to get in, get it done, and get the hell outta there. So, in that way, collaborations have the potential of stifling my creative process. I’ll say though, I’ve never had a co-write that didn’t finish with a keeper. I think because I’ve written alone for so long, that’s where I feel most comfortable. But there’s certainly strength in numbers. When you get a couple of songwriters on the same wavelength there’s no TELLING where you’ll end up!
Does the new single mean we can expect a new album in the future – how’s that coming along?
Or my name isn’t Minnie Pearl! Yes! We’re working on our release calendar now. The music is in the bag so now it’s just a matter of timing!
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
I know for sure we’ll start with the release of the title track for the album, “The Wreck,” in early 2021. From there, it’s The Opry or bust!
What else is happening next in Cody Belew’s world?
Well, we’ve got something reeeeeeally fun planned for Christmas 2020 so stay REAL tuned for that. And just living in gratitude that we’ve been able to create and release music during these crazy times. I’m truly having the time of my life.
LISTEN: “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere”