Cody Johnson Puts His Fairy-Tale Love Story With Wife Brandi On Full Display In New Single, “The Painter”

“The Painter,” which heads to country radio on August 14, serves as the lead single off Johnson’s upcoming album, Leather, due out later this year.

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Melinda Lorge

Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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Posted on August 11, 2023

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Brandi Johnson, Cody Johnson; Photo Courtesy of CBS

Cody Johnson just released his brand-new single called “The Painter,” and it’s inspired by perhaps the most important person in his life — his wife, Brandi Johnson.

Written by Benjy Davis, Kat Higgins, and Ryan Larkins and produced by Trent Willmon, “The Painter” plays out like an affectionate love letter to Johnson’s wife, Brandi Johnson, who has always stuck by her husband’s side through a series of life changes, including before and after he rose to fame.

The thoughtful track finds Johnson describing his other half as someone who fully supports him with lyrics like, she “Gets excited about all my crazy dreams.”

Listen To Cody Johnson’s New Song “The Painter” Below

The 36-year-old Texan goes on to praise Brandi for remembering every little moment, including each “sunset that she’s ever seen” before heading into the chorus, which treats listeners to the distinctive neo-traditional sound Johnson is known for.

I don’t remember / life before she came into the picture / Brought the beauty I was missing with her / Showed me colors I ain’t ever seen,” Johnson sings over a driving beat and acoustic instruments. “She took chances / With every wall, I built she saw a canvas / I thank god every day for how he made her / My life was black and white but she’s the painter.”

How Did Cody Johnson And Brandi Johnson Meet?

Johnson met Brandi years ago when he worked as a professional bull rider, later transitioning into the role of a prison guard. Noticing his musical talents early on, Brandi encouraged Johnson to pursue music full-time and quit his day job. Now years later, Johnson sees the canvas that Brandi saw before it was ever complete. 

“My favorite lyric in ‘The Painter’ is ‘for every wall I built, she saw a canvas.’ If there’s anything that describes my marriage with my wife, Brandi, it’s that line,” Johnson shared in a press release. “And that’s why we’ve been together for 15 years.”

“I hope my fans are encouraged to take the time to appreciate the people they have around them. The ones who make their life beautiful and bring all the beautiful colors to their world when it could just be black and white and dark. Remember them and tell them you love them,” he added.

RELATED: See Inside Cody Johnson & His Wife Brandi’s Love Story: “She’s Helped Me Become A Man That I’m Proud To Be”

Cody Johnson and wife Brandi Johnson; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMT
Cody Johnson and wife Brandi Johnson; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMT

While He Didn’t Write The Tune, He Connects With It

Although Johnson didn’t write “The Painter,” he further discussed the parallels between the character in the song and Brandi. 

“My wife, she has this uncanny memory. She’ll tell you things like, ‘One time, I was in the third grade, and it was 68 degrees outside, and it was Friday the 3rd, and I was wearing a green sweater, and I was walking down Jefferson Street.’ And, you’re like, ‘I don’t remember where I played two weeks ago.’ She’s one of those people that remembers everything, always remembers everybody’s name, and I’m horrible with names,” Johnson explained in a new episode of Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen on Apple Music Country, referring to the beginning verse of the romantic tune. “I feel like the world should wear name tags. It’s like, she’s got every sunset she’s ever seen memorized. As soon as I heard that, I was like, ‘Well, that’s Brandi.’”

Cody Johnson and Brandi Johnson; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for CMT
Cody Johnson and Brandi Johnson; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for CMT

Wife Motivated Him To Keep Going When He Wanted To Quit

As previously shared, Brandi has been with Johnson throughout his career, long before he earned his first big hit with “‘Til You Can’t.” And while the journey to stardom is tough for any artist, Johnson says that Brandi has always motivated him to ‘start again,’ even when he had career doubts. 

“There’s always been start agains. In my music career, you get to the point where you’re like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore. I’ve been traveling up and down the roads making $100 a night in a van and can’t afford to put gas in it,’” he said. “And she’s going, ‘Yes, you can. You left your steady job for a reason, and yes, you can do it.’ And so it’s like you start again. Okay. I’m gonna keep going.”

“Even in our marriage… There’s been times when we’ve had to stop, regroup with each other, and go, ‘Hey, we’re not going anywhere,’ so let’s just pick this stopping point right here. Let’s start over and say, ‘We’re going to approach this together because we know that it’s what’s supposed to happen’,” he continued. “I think that’s a very vulnerable line, and also, it brings to light for me how a man should take the time to stop and recognize the fact that she can make you remember what’s right and what’s wrong.”

Brandi Johnson, Cody Johnson; Photo Courtesy of CBS
Brandi Johnson, Cody Johnson; Photo Courtesy of CBS

Shared Slideshow Of Precious Memories

Leading up to the release of “The Painter,” the family man, who shares two daughters with Brandi, teased the track on his Instagram page, sharing various images and videos from the married couple’s memory bank, including footage of them dancing together in the middle of a meadow on the countryside. 

“Showed me colors I ain’t never seen… #ThePainter #NewMusic,” Johnson captioned the first sneak peek as the black and white clip slowly segued into full color.

Another post features a slideshow of pictures in black and white, with Johnson and Brandi posing side by side.

#COJONation, “The Painter” is out tonight at midnight!” Johnson alerts fans in a third post before following that up with another shot of him with his wife as she wraps her arms around the country crooner.

Crediting Brandi for keeping him going when his career gets busy, Johnson says, “It’s not all frills and rainbows. But yeah, she’s definitely the motor behind a lot of this, and I admit that. There’s times where I come home, and I’m like, ‘I am so overwhelmed. There’s so much going on, and it’s all good stuff. I’m releasing a record. I’m going out of the country to go play. We’re on this award show, and we’re traveling to here, and I just can’t take it anymore.’ She’s going, ‘Yeah, you can. You’re doing a great job.”

Cody Johnson "The Painter" Single Art
Cody Johnson “The Painter” Single Art

New Album, Leather

“The Painter,” which heads to country radio on August 14, serves as the lead single off Johnson’s upcoming album, Leather, due out later this year.

The forthcoming project will also count as his second consecutive double album, following 2021’s 18-track, Human The Double Album, which includes the No. 1 hit, “‘Til You Can’t” and Top 5 smash “Human.”

Johnson is currently on the road as a supporting act on the international run of Luke Combs’ 2023 World Tour. Johnson will join the entertainer for dates in Australia and New Zealand.

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Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

See more posts from Melinda Lorge