Codie Prevost is a Canadian country music artist with an enormous and loyal fan base, who also happens to write and sing extraordinary good music.
His debut album released in 2005 was the dawning of his country career, and his second album, "Get Loud" assisted him in earning the SCMA awards for Entertainer of the Year, and Male Vocalist of the Year. He has also been nominated for the Canadian Country Music Association Rising Star Award twice. Prevost has opened for artists including: The Oakridge Boys and Florida Georgia Line.
It was an honor and an extreme pleasure to speak with Codie Prevost. He was warm and fun, and just a really cool person. We spoke about his career, and his new album that will be coming out next year. He also told me a secret of how to obtain that record before the general public does....and he shared the secret with the readers as well....
You have an enormous and loyal fan base....
Well you know it's incredible. I started into music and was inspired by my mom and my uncle who played guitar. I just remember at family reunions how all of a sudden they pulled out the guitar and would sing songs that would bring people together, and make this atmosphere that was like nothing else. Even though they didn't do it on a professional level or as a career, there was something about music that just had a power, and I've always hung onto that thought and that idea that music brings people together. So that's what I've always focused on doing. With country music it just boggles my mind that there are these incredible people out there who will support the artist and allow them to have this career and to be able to make this music and keep on going. I've always kept that in the forefront, and I love interacting with people online through my new "Codie Prevost Diaries" series that I started and it's going really well. I'm pretty excited about the feature as well.
So do you happen to also speak French?
No I don't, but I am French. Saskatchewan is right in the middle of Canada. I've never been to Montreal or Quebec. I have been to France for a concert though. Thank god they gave me a translator while I was in France, but when she wasn't with me it was very tough when I was trying to communicate.
What's it like being a country artist in Canada?
I started playing guitar when I was 14, and started writing songs at about 16. Things just kept progressing. When I wanted to get into music I had graduated high school and I spoke to my parents about it. I was from a small town with about 300 people who lived there. So I was actually the only person wanting to pursue music as a career. No one else in the town was really wanting to do a similar thing, wanting to pursue music. So I had no one to guide me. So my dad suggested that I go to college for a year and see what that had to offer, and then see if that will lead you somewhere. I took his advice and I picked the thing that took the least amount of time to get through, but paid the most money, and I took the electro technician program. During that time in college my dad called me and told me about this talent contest. I had been entering talent contests since I was about 16 years old. So I sent them my demo tape and it was acccepted to go to the first round. In the first round I played a couple of original songs that I'd written and this guy walked up to me after the show and introduced to himself as Al Leblanc, and said he was working in the studio in the area and was looking for people's original music to record. You know you meet people like this and sometimes you're not sure if you'll ever see them again, but then the next week we ended up talking and he asked when I was coming down. The next week I was down in this small town writing songs with him. Then this became a monthly thing and then all of a sudden it progressed and we were recording songs together. I explained to him over lunch that I wanted to pursue music and that I felt like there was something there. I told him that I needed someone to help me book some shows. He had said that he had never booked shows before but just to get me started he would try. He told me to take a month and learn some songs and he would try to book me some shows. Well one week later he called me and told me that he had booked me two shows, both that weekend. I was kind of put on the spot but then at the same time sometimes the best thing to do when you're put on the spot like that is go for it. So I went out to play two shows, and I was paid 100 bucks a night, just me and my guitar, but at the same time no one would say no. Those little bars would sell five beers and the band was paid for. At the same time I was getting the experience of performing in front of a crowd. I did this for about a year and then I ended up taking out a small business loan from a group that funds rural businesses in Canada. I first went to the banks and had no luck, but obviously the assets at the time weren't lining up with the liabilities.
So I went to this Community Teachers Group and they wound up being impressed because at 18 years old I had this five year business plan. They invited me back to a board room meeting that they were having where they actually could make a decision on this investment. They had me sit down in the room, show the five-year plan, and play some songs that we're going to be on the album. One week later they called me and told me I was approved, which then I was able to travel to Nashville and record for the first time. So that's kind of what it's been like for me in Canada so far being an artist. My fifth album is going to come out next year, and it's definitely been a whirlwind type journey.
I'm so impressed with you. I actually first saw you on the Jimmy Star Show With Ron Russell.
That was pretty awesome. You know sometimes you're not sure, you don't know what to expect, but it was just so much fun. I've never actually done an interview like that, it was just kind of rolling free. It was pretty awesome.
So you mentioned that you're recording your fifth album?
The album is actually completed. It's going to be coming out in the new year. What is happening right now is people can actually get my new album prior to the public release.
How would that happen?
The Codie Prevost Diaries is something brand new that I started. You may of heard on Jimmy's show that I talked about it as well. It's basically in a nutshell my story from start until now. It's many stories about this journey and what went on, and what's going on, the different changes you go through, and it's all these mini stories as well as stories behind the songs. I write a lot about life experiences and things I've gone through. It's just a way to really connect with the fans. So when you join that by going to my website, you just join up on the pop-up that happens, the Codie Prevost diaries tab. I guess you would get my newsletters and also the Codie Prevost diaries, and in there you have multiple chances to get the album prior to its public release.
So you are most definitely an Indie artist?
I've been an indie artist since day one. The Internet has changed the landscape of music for good. If you look at Spotify and iTunes, it's an interesting time in the world, and I think that the independent can easily be swayed into perceptions, but for me it's been different. From time to time I was swayed as well but then you always come back to, what's the thing that really matters most and if it was gone today you wouldn't be able to do music? It's always the fans. So without thinking about any industry things, that one thing that always matters, that you should just 100% focus on is the fans. They are going to make everything happen, they are going to support you, and if they are supporting you then obviously other people take notice of that.
Yes I totally agree with you.
I also think that there are other points, I mean the music does matter. You know you have to put your heart and soul into music as well. But then you have to be able to take the music and somehow get it out to the people. If you can achieve those two things, and then have people react to it. There is a lot of thought process that should go into it. You've got to think, what will make people connect? Like my new website and stuff, I've come up with a slogan: "Making Music to Make A Difference". That has kind of been always been one of my goals. If it's not bringing people together, it's connecting with people on an emotional level or it's making people have a good time, or dance, or sing. It makes them forget about if they have issues, it's just taking people on a journey away from whatever it is they may be facing at the time.
That's a great point. So do you believe that music can change the world?
I believe music has a powerful message, it breaks barriers, languages don't matter when you're playing music..... it's interesting because I can go to any country and play a Johnny Cash song, and I'll make new friends. It doesn't even matter if I speak the language. It's going to resonate with somebody. You are going to be able to make new friends just by using music.
Do you plan on touring to support your new album?
Yeah, for sure. Touring is a big part of it. Performing live has always been one of my favorite things so when the new album comes out there is going to be some touring along with it. I'm definitely hoping to secure a booking agent in the USA. My goal was always to be able to tour the states. Especially with Twitter and Facebook I've been able to connect with so many amazing country music fans down there and it's definitely time to get over there and meet them.
Do you have an idol or a musical hero?
When I started there's this Canadian guy by the name of Paul Brandt. Maybe you've heard of him I'm not sure but, he was releasing music when I was young, and I was from that small town that I mentioned with 300 people. He released his album called, "Small Towns Big Dreams". It was basically about him going out and doing music and making some sort of success out of it, and being from a small town, and still holding onto that. So I got that album and it really inspired me to get into country music. Just for a while Eileen I went off course and I actually in high school started a punk rock band. We were playing to Green Day and Goldfinger, and all those bands. We would just be covering all their material. It happened that an uncle had passed away and we had to go to Calgary. The previous summer I had been working on road construction which was one of my first jobs. I had saved up $1100 from that job and I had these big plans of buying an electric guitar on that trip. Then something happened when we got to the music store. I went into the room where they kept the acoustic guitars and I picked up this Takamine acoustic guitar after my father suggested that I try an acoustic guitar as well. One strum on this Takamine ....and I ended up buying it. It's funny the way that it worked out because it was basically on sale for $1100 and they usually go for $2600. For some reason it was on sale and one strum and I bought it. I came home and learned Johnny Cash's "Fulsome Prison Blues", and I've been playing country music ever since. Since then Keith Urban came out, not long after it when he first had the Ranch Band, and then he became a solo artist. I just remember finding his music for the first time and truly being inspired. Songwriting wise Eric Church came on the scene, and from a songwriting point of view, I just think he writes some of the best songs in country music. I actually feel he kind of goes back to those traditional guys like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. It kind of has some strong, strong lyrics that he put into it and I was just very inspired by his songwriting.
If you could say anything to all of those numerous fans that you have out there, what would you say?
I'd say thank you. I wouldn't be in business today if it weren't for them. I always have to keep that as number one. That's why am doing music. It's not because somebody's playing it on the radio. That all helps as well but the number one reason is all because of the fans. So thank you!
Website : www.codieprevost.com
Twitter : www.twitter.com/codieprevost
Youtube : www.youtube.com/codieprevost
Written by Eileen Shapiro
I work with Jimmy Star and am a NY Times best selling author and rock star journalist....currently write for Get Out Mag, PureM, Classic Pop, Huffington Post, and several others....I write pop culture interviews with well established talent and up and coming great talent...look forward to working with you....