Cody Johnson Lists Willie Nelson as 1 of His 'Most Influential' Artists

Cody Johnson Lists Willie Nelson as 1 of His 'Most Influential' Artists

Cody Johnson is one of the most respected artists in country music, an artist who has been working hard on his career for close to a decade. Johnson, who has earned acclaim for his authenticity and air of approachability, rose to fame in recent years thanks to the success of songs like “Wild as You,” “Dear Rodeo,” and “Nothin’ on You.” In 2019, when Johnson was on the cusp of stardom, he sat down with the Bobby Bones Show to dish on his biggest country music influences, naming some of the most iconic musicians of all time. 

Cody Johnson has released eight studio albums

There are a lot of country artists chasing the dream of stardom in Nashville, but Johnson might just be the most authentic of them all. According to a 2021 interview with CleveRock, Johnson actually has a background in rodeo, and early on in his career, he had ambitions of being a rodeo champion. He pursued his dream all while writing songs during the day and working at a maximum-security prison in order to make ends meet.

While Johnson never actually managed to make it as a rodeo star, he did break into the country music industry, with the help of a lot of grit and determination. He released his first album in 2006, under his own label. He went on to record and release seven more country albums, with the most recent, Human: The Double Album, getting released in October 2021. By that time, Johnson was a big star – and had worked with several country music icons, including Brooks & Dunn and Reba McEntire. 

What did Cody Johnson say about Willie Nelson being his biggest influence?

Johnson has never been shy about his affection for classic country music. In a 2019 interview with the Bobby Bones Show, Johnson opened up about a few of his biggest influences.

“As a songwriter, Willie Nelson is the most influential person on me because Willie was able to, in his entire career, and he’s still able to – be a chameleon,” Johnson noted. “He’s got one of the top-selling reggae albums of all time. Willie can do whatever he wants and still maintain himself.”

Johnson also named artists like Chris LeDoux, Garth Brooks, and George Strait as big influences on his love for rodeo, while classic country singer Merle Haggard gave him that “lonesome need to go find this elusive dream.”

All the artists Johnson named are mainstays in the music industry—Brooks, who is well known for his stadium tours and hit songs like “Rodeo,” is still actively performing, as is “King of Country” Strait. LeDoux passed in 2005, but during the course of his legendary career, he recorded dozens of albums and released songs such as “Western Skies” and “Country Fair.” Haggard, who helped pioneer the outlaw country style of music that remains so popular today, released iconic songs like “Okie from Muskogee” and “Mama Tried.” 

Cody Johnson is ‘done chasing acceptance’

All of Johnson’s favorite artists have earned acclaim for their authenticity – something that Johnson’s fans love him for as well. In a September 2021 interview with Off the Record, the artist revealed that he’s very happy with where he’s at in life. “I don’t mean to sound arrogant because I’m not, but I’m to the point in my career where I’m through chasing stuff, I’m done radio, I’ve done chasing the label. I’m done chasing acceptance,” he said. “I’m done chasing all these different things because I’m just going to be human and put out my artwork and hope that it is positive to people and lifts them up…and that’s good enough for me.” 

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