Photo by: Max Smith
Singer-songwriter Cody Carrera will be releasing his new album, Shattered Signs & Deadly Sins, on October 28th, and the first single from the album, “False Advertisement,” dropped on September 30th. Each song represents a zodiac sign, and is described as a “dark pop” album.
In addition to music, Cody is also a gifted actor with an impressive list of credits, including a guest spot on Glee. Originally hired as an extra, Cody was bumped up to a speaking role during rehearsals after he made an impression on fellow cast member, Dot-Marie Jones. Cody’s additional credits include 90210, Kickin’ It, Lab Rats, Sleepy Hollow and Hidden Figures, to name a few.
We recently spoke with Cody about his new music, his musical sound, creative process, and lots more. Check out our conversation below.
How excited are you to release new music?
Cody Carrera (CC): Oh man, I’m ECSTATIC! If you only knew the entire story of what it took for me to get here, at this place, on release day, you wouldn’t believe me. Plus, we would be here all day! HAHA! But I’m ready for this album to be out in the world. From the very beginning it’s taken about five years to get to this place, so I’m ready for everyone to hear it. I’m ready to release it into the world—finally.
What can you tell us about what we can expect from your new album?
CC: What I can say is get ready for an emotional ride. I arranged the track list so at the start of the album you have all the very high stakes and high emotion songs and as the album goes on, it gets a little more lighthearted. All of the songs are dark—even the lighter ones, but it gets more uplifting as you go on. There’s a lot of rage, a lot of grief, but also a lot of fun along the way.
When people listen to your music, what are you hoping they get out of it?
CC: In the dedication page I say “this album is for anyone who’s ever had their heart broken, been in pain, or felt different. You’re safe here. This is for you.” I would want the listener to feel like I understand them. That they aren’t alone. If I can do that with my art, then I’ve done my job. A big theme of this album is grief. I lost my father in December 2019 and then the world went through the Covid pandemic that following March. That’s what inspired my song “Shattered” which is the first track on the record. It was such a bizarre time and it felt like the world was mourning with me. We’ve all been through so much since then, and the world is a dark place, so I want everyone to know, you’re not alone. I see you.
How would you describe the sound of your music?
CC: It’s definitely pop music, but I would say “Dark Pop” or “Goth Pop” as the genre. Pop music has always been my favorite genre and has served as a source of inspiration for me. A lot of my songs, like the first single “False Advertisement” or “Your Sin” have huge production with big beats and a fast dance tempo. It’s very upbeat, but then you listen to the lyrics and you’re like “whoa, this is dark”. I also love a good metaphor. I think I laced the record with a good number of metaphors. I like smart writing. I like to say something in my music. There’s a time for easy listening, but this record is not it. It’s a thinking and feeling record.
Who would you say are some of your musical influences?
CC: Three albums served as inspiration for the sound. Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, Taylor Swift’s Reputation and Dua Lipa’s self-titled album. Those three were the reference points and I think we did a good job capturing that “dark pop” sound. I have a laundry list of inspirations. Obviously Gaga and Taylor, but also Cher, Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, Beyoncé, Björk, Laura Nyro and men of the past like David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. This list goes on.
Did you always know that music was something you wanted to pursue?
CC: I’d say yes and no. I’m an actor as well. I started in musical theater. I went to a musical theater camp when I was in high school called Stagedoor Manor. It was one of the best educations as an artist that I got. It was a three-week session and you get placed in a play or musical when you got to the camp. You spent your mornings in classes and your evenings in rehearsals for the show that you put on at the end of the three weeks. I was nervous to sing live. I have natural tone and emotion, but my pitch needed work, but I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and signed up for a musical instead of a play. Like the good little student I was, I gave myself one acting class, one vocal class and one dance class. I learned so much.
After I graduated from High School, I moved to Los Angeles and appeared on a couple episodes of Glee in 2010. After that it was all acting, but music was always something I wanted to do. I was writing songs since I was ten. On and off I was always taking music and vocal classes and lessons. It was always something inside me that I didn’t know was possible until I met my producer and fleshed out the songs I had written while going though some stuff. It always starts with going through some stuff.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
CC: Don’t depend on anyone but yourself. It’s tough, but true. If music, acting, or really anything is what you really, one hundred percent want to do, give it your all and don’t wait on someone to give you permission to do it. If I waited around for someone to tell me I can write, act or sing, I would be doing absolutely nothing. No one is going to be your biggest fan if you aren’t your own first and foremost. I’ve been told “no” more times than I can count, and I’ve probably gotten .5 percent of roles I’ve auditioned for. Be persistent, be open to learning, and make it happen yourself. NO ONE is going to give me permission to be an artist because I was born an artist. It’s what God put me here to do.
What is your favorite song to perform live?
CC: Up until this point I haven’t performed live yet! When my second EP The “Witch” Chronicles came out in 2018, I did a few gigs at karaoke bars, but I’m an unsigned artist and making the record from recording, writing, mixing, mastering, and promotion became the priority. I train with Jan Smith Studios in Atlanta every week with my coach Heidi and I wanted to be sure I was ready to perform live. It’s a whole different ballgame than recording, and as an independent artist, I have to do it all myself. Now that the record’s out, I’m ready. I did just record a live version of “False Advertisement”, which is the first single and that’s one of my favorite songs on the record, so I’m going to go with that one… for now.
Can you describe your creative process when you’re writing new music?
CC: For me, for the songs of this album, it truly started writing lyrics from my personal experiences. The Fire EP came out in 2017. It had five of the songs on it, and working with my producer JWhales was very organic. We tapped into those song from the lyrical perspective first. Most of the time my songs come to me in a flash, and I write them in five to ten minutes and I have to write them down in the moment or they’re gone. The only song on the record that didn’t happen that way was False Advertisement. That one came to me in pieces, sort of like a puzzle, until I went into the studio and it was complete. It was funny how that one came to be. I just keep my phone or a pen and paper handy because you never know when inspiration will strike!
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