Growing up in a small town didn’t stop folk-rock singer Cody Allen from pursuing his dreams of making a name for himself in the music world.
“I think with anybody that comes from a small town and tries to get the courage to leave, when you go to university or leave for a job opportunity, anything like that, you realize that there’s a lot more in the world than the place you were raised,” he said.
The singer grew up in the small city of North Bay in Ontario — not exactly a place known for putting people on the map. Allen started singing and playing guitar when he was 18, and after that he knew it was what he wanted to do in life, despite the lack of opportunities where he lived.
He spoke about the misfortune of many musicians trying to make it with music in a small town. “The biggest worry of mine for up-and-coming musicians coming from small towns,” he said, “is that if nothing happens for them, or if people don’t go to their shows, they give up, and that’s the end of their career.” Allen moved to Ottawa three years ago at the time of his third album release All Is Not Lost. Prior to that, he released two more albums before sparking the attention of French producer Shawn Sasyniuk.
Moving to Ottawa, for Cody, was a strategic decision.
“I wouldn’t move to a place like Toronto. It’s always saturated with music and you’re not seen,” the singer said. “I wanted to go to a big enough city where I’d at least have a chance to make a name for myself.”
Allen is currently working on the release of his fourth EP, Ignite. His music, evident through comparison of his albums, is dynamic. His sound has changed along with his life, and everything going on in it.
He confided in me that the new record would be different from the last, which had been darker than previous ones, as he wrote it from a deeper place while in his hometown.
“The new record is all about having perseverance and not letting anything get in your way,” Allen said. He vowed to himself that the new album would be more positive and relate to everyone who wanted to achieve their goals, no matter how big they may be.
Despite his boldness and musical versatility, Allen is a singer that sticks to his guns when it comes to being true to himself and what he believes in.
“I’ve always been told to take singing lessons, so that my voice stays the same throughout every song,” he said. “I say, well, that’s changing what I feel and how I’m delivering [the song]. That’s why I’ve stuck to my guns, and maybe I’ve missed opportunities, but that’s fine with me.”
At 29 years old, the singer shows no signs of slowing down doing what he loves, and has little trouble remaining humble while doing so.
“I’m pretty laid-back. I’m the guy that goes out drinking with his buddies,” he said. “With me, what you see is what you get.”
Cody Allen will be performing at The Mansion on May 28.
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