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Christopher Cody Lifeline Bio

September 18, 2017

Born in Santa Clara, California , Christopher Cody. grew up in a family headed by his military officer step-father and a ‘keen-eared’ and loving mother who was C.C.'s primary form of encouragement from an early age. Instinctively drawn to latin-jazz which was the sound of the streets, percussionists in particular, such as Michael Carabello, Raul Rekow, Joe Morello, Karl Perazzo and Elvin Jones, molded his musical mind, as a young man C.C. studied drums and advanced quickly into music theory as he grew older. Christopher's first foray into pop music came one afternoon as a group of young drummers and percussionists stood in line, waiting to take turns to audition for a popular Bay area group called the Silhouettes. The rite of passage involved playing a tune called “Samba Pa Ti” by Santana. Having never heard the song before, Christopher made sure he waited to the very last, studying the parts every aspiring drummer played (or was trying to play). That afternoon, Christopher came home a little later than usual from school, but as the official percussionist for the Silhouettes. A year later, C.C. headed up the opening act with the Fabulous Flippers for the Chicago-influenced Bill Chase Group (note, this is five years before the Bill Chase recorded his first record “Open Up Wide”. Along the way there were guitar and piano lessons and the urge to compose words and music followed not long after. At seventeen, Christopher began his official singing career when the singer in the band fortuitously couldn’t make the high water mark in a then popular tune by a gritty Welshman, Tom Jones, called “It’s Not Unusual”.

 

To add complication as well as interest to his musical affinities, Christopher had fallen in love with classical music—French Impressionism, Italian Opera, and 20th century Russian composers in particular. Attending concerts given by the San Francisco Symphony every last Thursday of the month, had proven to be life-changing to a young Christopher Cody. “I seemed to have had a double standard, or at least torn between a few distinct sounds and styles,” reflects C.C.. “I used to defend Charlie Watts and Ringo Starr, insisting they were part of something new and exciting to my purist, jazz-head friends. Yet, when I’d listen to Dave Brubeck’s Time Out, or Miles Davis’s Birth of the Cool, pop would suddenly plead no contest—well, at least for that moment. One Thursday afternoon at War Memorial Opera House, I remember hearing the SF Symphony playing “Daphne and Chloe” by Maurice Ravel. I walked away shaking my head, muttering to myself, ‘What was that!? I was so deeply moved—bewildered by the sounds I had just heard. It was the moment I discovered to what heights music could draw a man’s soul”.

 

Before his 19th birthday, C.C. had signed with Rampart Records of L.A., releasing a single called “Through the Night” under the pseudonym Brock” Ambitious and now bitten by the music industry bug, By 21 years old Christopher lived on and off in L.A. and New York City, making the record company and publisher’s rounds, finally ending up at the foot of the Gates of Leonard Korobkins Beverly Hills office (renowned music attorney for Chaka Kahn) in Hollywood three years later. With C.C, down to his last five-dollar bill, made one last ditch effort to get signed before having to trek back to Santa Clara. Early one morning, Cody headed out to the offices of Leonard Korobkin where he  waited outside the gates for any sign of Leonard Korobkin or company co-owner Herb Alpert. As Alpert was walking through the parking lot hours later, C.C. ran past the gates, racing by a startled and furious security guard, and before he could be accosted he begged a slightly apprehensive Alpert for a chance to audition. Acting on a hunch, (and much to the guard’s annoyance) Herb was sympathetic, telling the young hopeful to return later that afternoon. At that point Christopher proceeded to play songs on his acoustic guitar he had recently written, including “Stuck, Only Children Survive”, “Lady”, “Expressway”, and ,”Heart in My Sails”—songs that would end up on the six albums Cody would eventually record for Rampart Records between 1978 and 1985. That very day, Cody was welcomed as a new member of the Oakland Bay area musical family.

 

Billboard & Cashbox Gold & Platinum

Two of those six albums made the top 100 Billboard album charts, culminating with Street Music (co-produced by Eddie Davis, and Paul Zaleski) producer for Al Green which achieved a coveted Top 10 position in the fall of 1978. (“Through the Night” making it to the 9th spot on the Billboard singles chart) Forever the impassioned artist, Cody's second albums consisted of a range of material: from experimental synthesizer arrangements, live orchestral pieces, jazz inflected tunes, to contemporary R&B inspired songs. Having toured with multiple R&B and Gospel artists, which led to Cody's notable appearance on Christian America T.V. a first for a white artist) Cody soon became a headlining artist, selling out halls and Clubs such as the Triple Tower Bonaventure in Los Angeles and the prestigious Mr. J's by twenty-five years of age. Earning a handful of Grammy nominations, Cody had arrived to the U.S. Music scene.

 

In 1989, Cody signed with Dream-Seeker Records a small label out of Memphis. His “Sole Village” album, provided him with a top-ten Billboard pop hit, When Cody opted to follow it up with a stripped-down, edgier album called “I'll Go”, for the first time in his career he found himself with a less than enthusiastic label, unwilling to release an album. For the next five years, in a move reminiscent to episodes in the careers of George Michael and Prince, Cody and his record company engaged in a long battle of creative wills—songs being the sum and substance of the contention. ” There comes a day when an artist has to make a hard choice between two roads that lie ahead, knowing full well even the one he knows to be right will lead to a dark forest, leastways for the foreseeable future comes a time when success must be measured by a different yardstick.

 

After a five-year hiatus, Cody had finally come through the dark forest and was released from his Dream-Seeker records contract and in1990's he released the successful “Winds of Change” album in Europe. It soon became Cody's most successful international work to that date. Two years later, he recorded “Walking on Your Lifeline:, whose single and title track, “Walkin' On Your Lifeline,” stormed its way to the Top 10 Cashbox charts in several countries. A successful North American artist, through some strange twist of fate, had suddenly landed feet first on the world stage. To this day, he continues to have a large, international following, giving concerts from Seattle to Florida. By 2009, Cody had grown skeptical and weary of the music industry status quo, (and the Hollywood mindset). After throwing himself headlong into the study of the humanities, a careful examination of world religions, philosophies, both Eastern and Western, he decided it was time to move his family west to Kansas City. “I decided to pull myself out of the mainstream,” he explains, “and roam the banks of Kansas City Blues.”

 

Signing with Village Records, both Cody's commercial outlook and professional output took a radical swing with the largely funk-jazz album entitled “Love You Out of Your Mind”, released in 1997 respectively. “I had finally rounded some of my enduring (and obsessive) visions of the jazz-pop idiom in these recordings. To this day I listen to those recordings with a sense of satisfaction, at least as much as the ongoing urge to move forward allows”. By the end of the decade his muse was taking him still further afield, toward one of his earliest loves, Gospel R&B music. Having just produced a cd, called “Say It Out Loud”, for Jazz pianist Freddie Fox, owner of Giant Studies located in New York, Cody had included a song called “A Word to My Father”, a highly emotional song dedicated to his late step-father who died from Cancer, in the style and tradition of Steely Dan, one of the only groups his father truly enjoyed.

 

In 2012 Cody released “Say It Out Loud” the gospel single under the TMG record label.  It was a compilation that combined seven of his earlier classic gospel works with seven new songs, marking the debut of yet another phase of Cody's continually fascinating career and a return to the Contemporary Christian genre that made him a remarkable artist . In 2014, forever pursuing new sound images and poetic themes, Cody spent long periods in New York, taking in the culture, listening to street musicians and forming new associations within the underground music industry. It culminated in the 2015 release of a poetry book entitled, A Great Life. “It began by doing nothing other than watching and listening, which eventually ended in the urge to lay my thoughts to poetry. By the time I got to fifty or so poems, the instinct to put music to the verse led to A Great Life. New methods bring new music.”

In late 2015, amidst a very busy recording schedule, Cody stopped performing and directed his attention to finding the time to re-record many of his better known songs for a cd entitled, “If Somebody Loves You”. “True, some may consider the If Somebody Loves You album simply a modernization or update of older material, but I feel it is much more a statement of my present-day musical mindset, a finalization of light and sound to deliver my soul to the audience by my own hand. A solo project that began in late 2016 and one that is being delivered from within a truly unique cultural mindset.

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