Cody Johnson Teases Collab With Jelly Roll, Says “Respect Is Mutual, And Real Recognizes Real”

“[The] respect is mutual, and real recognizes real. So absolutely. We’ve talked about working together,” Johnson confirmed while speaking with CMT.

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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 June 15, 2023

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Cody Johnson, Jelly Roll; Photos By Andrew Wendowski

Cody Johnson and Jelly Roll may seem like an unlikely pairing. After all, one is as traditional as it gets, while the other has dabbled in the rap world and scored a No. 1 hit on rock radio. But that hasn’t stopped the two artists from considering joining forces for an upcoming duet.

While in Nashville, Tenn., over the weekend for CMA Fest 2023, which marked the annual festival’s 50th Anniversary, Johnson, 36, shared his appreciation for Jelly Roll and teased a forthcoming collaboration with the 38-year-old Antioch native.

“[The] respect is mutual, and real recognizes real. So absolutely. We’ve talked about working together,” Cody Johnson confirmed while speaking with CMT backstage at CMA Fest.

Cody Johnson relates To Jelly Roll

Johnson, who worked in the Texas prison system before becoming a country star, also shared how he relates to Jelly Roll, who spent much of his early life in and out of the jail system. 

“You guys may not look at me and realize this, but I have a pretty jaded past as well,” Johnson reflected on his years working as a guard in the Texas State Penitentiary system. “I’ve always said there was a time in my life where I had to make a decision, and that decision was to either chase this dream professionally with a good mindset. There are a few mistakes I’ve made in my life — there are a few decisions I’ve made in my life where I could have wound up here, or I very well could have wound up in jail.”

Cody Johnson; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Cody Johnson; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

“I have a very thick background on incarceration,” he continued. “Jelly did time. We’ve talked about that. We struggle with a lot of the same pressures. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be the best husband, to try to be the best father, to try to be the best leader, to be the best performer…it’s almost like a blessing and a curse because we put so much on ourselves.”

Cody Johnson’s Prison Role Played On His Journey In Life

Further, discussing the dark parts of his past, Johnson previously told the outlet that the prison role played on his journey in life would inevitably be heard in future lyrics.

“I think that the prison stuff will probably show up in my writing later on,” he shared. “I’ve never addressed the dark side of what happens in prison just because I think I would have to address things within myself. But it will happen. Songwriting has always done that for me.”

Jelly Roll; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Jelly Roll; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

Cody Johnson Duet With Carrie Underwood

Now, it appears that time will come sooner than later with Jelly Roll’s star added to the mix. For now, fans can look for a different duet Johnson has planned – one with country powerhouse Carrie Underwood.

In a recent interview with CMT Hot 20 Countdown with Cody Alan, Johnson revealed that his upcoming collaboration with Underwood will appear on his next double album, Cody Johnson: Leather.

“I actually just recorded a duet with her yesterday for my new album coming out,” Johnson shared. “Getting to know [Carrie], man. She’s such a pro, and everybody she surrounds herself with are all very professional as well. And I don’t mean this to sound bad, but it’s kind of hard to compete with that.”

Cody Johnson, Photo Courtesy of Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Cody Johnson; Carrie Underwood, Photo Courtesy of Jeff Johnson
Cody Johnson, Photo Courtesy of Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Cody Johnson; Carrie Underwood, Photo Courtesy of Jeff Johnson

Compared Their Musical Chemistry To “Growing Up And Singing With My Mom”

While he hasn’t shared the title of the track yet, Johnson revealed his reasons for including Underwood on the tune and compared the pair’s musical chemistry to “growing up and singing with my mom.”

“When I heard the song, I heard her voice, and I knew that it was going to work out. We had never sung together. So, when we get in the room and start singing together, it’s like, family harmony,” Johnson told iHeartCountry. “The only way I can describe it is it’s like the way it was growing up and singing with my mom. When you have that, it just instantly fits, and it meshes. It’s really interesting to me because my voice and her voice are drastically different but put together. They make a very unique sound.”

New Album, Cody Johnson: Leather

The upcoming Cody Johnson: Leather album will include 24 tracks and will follow his 18-track 2021 project, Human.

“This round of 24 songs, I have to say, is the best round of songs I have ever recorded, and I feel like that’s the way it should be. Each album should outdo the last one,” Johnson previously told Audacy’s KMLE Country 107.9. “I think the theme of this new album is fun. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a ballad or tongue-in-cheek kinda fun [and] It all has to be fun. It all has to make you kind of want to move around and bob your head a little bit.”

Cody Johnson; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Cody Johnson; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

At this point, Johnson has not yet shared the release date for Cody Johnson: Leather, but fans can expect the album to be due out in late 2023 or early 2024.

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Written by

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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