WITH A STYLE and approach often likened to Prince, Cody Chesnutt’s music is anything but boring.
“Prince writes the music the way he feels it, and I subscribe to that as well,” he says. “Creatively, there are certain similarities – the diversity and uninhibited expression. The initial writing process is always the same – me and an acoustic instrument, be it a piano or guitar. My aim is to always get the song first; get a very clear vision of what the song is and what I think it should say, then open it up to other musicians and see how the colour in the painting, so to speak. I remember how Aretha Franklin was taken to Muscle Shoals and found all these great musicians, and I began to think I could do the same thing, so I went down there and found my band. There was so much talent. I met my drummer and he knew the keyboard player, the guitar player, and a huge pool of people in the scene, and it came together in a very organic way. I’m thankful for what they all brought to the record.”
Chesnutt speaks candidly about the ten year period between his 2002 debut Headphone Masterpiece and follow-up Landing On A Hundred, including adultery and becoming a father.
“The second album was about redemption, without question,” he says. “But not just for myself. I wanted other people to have their own experience of redemption and I wanted that album to aid people in their own redemptive process and for it to be a part of a healing process. I wanted to understand my role as a father and a family man, and a lot of different things. I took time to grow as a person, and I wanted that growth to be creative too. It was really about making sure I was ready to expose myself again, and making sure I had something to say; something that I could commit myself to.”
An upcoming Australian tour is the start of a busy few months for the Atlanta native.
“I’m beginning to wrap my head around some new songs,” he says. “I have material that I feel strongly about, so I’ll definitely have another album soon. A lot of people have just discovered my last record, so I’ll be touring it as much as possible for the next few months, then I might do some soundtrack work for movies or things like that. What I tell people is to come is to come to my shows with an open mind and an open heart. That’s really all I can ask for.”
CODY CHESNUTT PLAYS THE HI-FI OCTOBER 20.