A country singer and songwriter out of East Texas, Cody Johnson grew up in the town of Sebastopol. Born into a musical family, he began playing guitar and singing at the age of 12, learning to play the drums soon after, and sang regularly at his church. He started his first band — which included his father for a while — when he was a freshman in high school, dividing his time between music and his passion for competitive bull riding. Following school, he took a job with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville, where he supervised prison inmates.
Johnson released three albums during the late 2000s on his own CoJo label, and their growing sophistication led Trent Willmon to sign on as producer for 2011’s A Different Day. The album helped him win the Texas Regional Music Award for New Male Vocalist of the Year, and he left his day job to devote himself full-time to music. He continually gigged on the Texas club and bar circuit, where his rowdy, energetic, and passionate blend of country and rock brought him a large and loyal fan base. Three singles drawn from his Six Strings, One Dream album placed in the Top Ten of the Texas music charts. His second album, Cowboy Like Me, was recorded in Nashville and released early in 2014. It became his first to chart, reaching Top Ten country and Top 40 overall on the U.S. album charts. The popularity didn’t seem to change him much; he continued playing an average of 150 dates a year, and stayed on his own CoJo label for 2016’s Gotta Be Me, which reached number two on Billboard’s Country Albums chart, making it his most successful release yet. Eventually signing with Warner Music Nashville, Johnson finally made his major-label debut with the 2018 single “On My Way to You.”