"Honestly," a Conversation with Cody Lovaas [Interview]

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

Interview with Cody Lovaas

If Cody Lovaas wants to convey one thing, it’s honesty. He brings a new flavor with what he would describe as “expressive” and “dynamic” tracks, all with a pop sensibility woven in.

It’s clear that music was what he was meant to do, emphasizing the entire process as an experience. “Writing is the expression...the birth,” he asserts. “Creating a record is the exploration and discovery. Performing and touring is the celebration of the records. I LOVE every single part of it. I feel so fortunate to have found a passion that completely fulfills me.”

For Cody, songs are all around him, just waiting to be written. “It doesn't matter where in the world I am. As long as I have a guitar in my hands, I'm inspired.” However, as an avid surfer on nearby California beaches, he feels particularly creative in the expanse of the water. “The ocean is definitely the most humbling and grounding place for me. I have written songs in the water for sure! The hard part is that I don’t have anything to write on and nothing to record melodies, so I have to either paddle in or sing a song in my head over and over again until I get to the sand.” And it’s not hard to imagine the waves as an inspiration, with the way his music purposefully builds and swells only to pull the listener back down again.

At only fourteen years old, the singer-songwriter caught the attention of Jason Mraz, who became a mentor for him. “Jason has been such an incredible teacher to me, but he definitely leads with action. I got to open for him on his North American tour and see how an experienced pro does it, and that was probably the most eye-opening experience.”

Despite pursuing music so seriously from a young age, he insists that he hasn’t changed all that much - it’s just that he approaches his craft a bit differently. “I do feel like the same person I was since the beginning, but I feel like a different artist,” he says. “My stories have changed, and my music has too. Now, it’s all about transparency, vulnerability, honesty, and the rawness behind my writing.”

To showcase this rawness, Cody recently treated his fans to a collection of unreleased demos on Soundcloud. “I titled it ‘Songs I Won't Release’ because I truly feel they will never actually be released,” he says. “There was a moment while I was creating my debut EP, ‘Honestly,’ when I wasn't releasing any music. The gap felt too long. I wanted to release some demos so that my amazing fans could get a taste of where I was headed. They were only out for a week, though, so it might have just been a big tease.”

This debut EP, released on May 31, has a track for every state of mind. He starts off with the playful “Talk Slow”, creating bold rhythms and memorable hummed background hooks. The video that goes along with it has a fitting sense of spontaneity with its grainy footage. “The video kind of follows the intention behind the song which is to just be in a moment,” he explains. “Most of this was just footage captured by one of my friends tagging along while I went surfing. We never intended on using it for a music video until way later.”

A highlight for Cody is the swaying “Why Can’t I”, having flowed the most easily while writing in the studio. “We had a track going in the background, and after an hour or so of trying to crack the verse, I blurted out a melody for a potential chorus. The words that immediately came out are the lyrics in the song now.”

He wears his heart on his sleeve, too, especially through the pounding piano of “Love No More”. Cody reveals that this was definitely the hardest track to write of all. “I guess it was difficult because it is such a sensitive subject for me. I had to really go into a vulnerable place.” His voice, with every tremble and break, vividly brings this pain to life.

By the end of the EP, it’s not the close of a chapter, but a taste of what’s to come. He left the title, “Honestly,” open ended - comma and all. “I wanted to start a conversation with my fans and I feel like all of these [songs] are very conversational. This is also my debut EP, my first full project, so it is very much an introduction to who I am.”

When we ask Cody to reflect on his experience thus far, it becomes clear that the confidence he has in his art is something rare to find. “I don’t know if I would give any advice to my former self,” he answers. “I feel like I’m in a great place and headed the right direction and I learned things the right way. I feel like I’ve always been very determined because there is absolutely no Plan B. There is nothing else I will spend my life doing other than making music. Nothing else comes close to it.”

He won’t tell us what, exactly, but he says that exciting things are on the horizon. “Of course more shows. Of course more music. Of course more music videos. More everything! More more more…”

And as far as what direction he’s heading towards, Cody’s going wherever the current takes him. “The theme is now all about full transparency, but I don’t know where the songs are going in the future because I don’t know exactly where my story is going either. These songs will follow the story of my life, and I can’t wait to find out when I’ll be writing about in a few years.” Honestly, we can’t wait, either.

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