Cody Carnes Reflects on Writing with His Wife Kari Jobe, Songwriting and His New Album

Cody Carnes

Capitol CMG's newest worship leader artist Cody Carnes has just released his debut solo album The Darker The Night / The Brighter The Morning. This debut comes on the heels of his singles, "The Cross Has The Final Word," and "Til The End of Time (feat. Kari Jobe)."

Cody Carnes is a worship leader whose passion is to create a meeting place for God and people with music. Many will recognize him from his time leading worship with Gateway Worship as well as being on the road and leading with his wife and fellow labelmate Kari Jobe Carnes. With Kari, Cody has co-written many songs such as "Let the Heavens Open" from her Dove Award winning album Majestic and most recently eight tracks off of her release, GMA Dove Award nominated, The Garden. Concertgoers will get the opportunity to hear the new songs from this solo debut as Carnes will be opening with his own set on the continuation of Kari Jobe The Garden Tour.

Q: Can you explain to us the significance of your title? 

The Darker The Night / The Brighter The Morning comes from a line in the chorus of the song Hold It All. It's inspired by John 1:4-5 that says, "The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it." The world is in a crazy place right now. We're living in a war of dark and light and it's sometimes easy to forget the truth - that light has already come and defeated darkness. Darkness tries to put up a lie that it's still in the fight, but it's already been defeated. The story of Jesus is a victorious and hopeful one. I want this record to be a beacon of that hope, that Jesus has overcome darkness and is with us every step of the way.  

Q. How would you describe your style of worship music?  Who would you say are your influences? 

I'd say this is a worship record with an indie/pop/rock sound. I'm sure you'll find some elements that are familiar, and some that are unique and surprising. The heart behind it is similar to other worship records, in that, I wanted to write songs from scripture about the love and power of Jesus that lead people into the presence of God. It's a bit different than most worship records, in that I pulled inspiration from some of my favorite artists like Mutemath, One Republic, Bon Iver, Coldplay, etc. I feel like there are a lot of people in the world like me that love the creative experience of seeing some of their favorite bands live and also love the spiritual experience of a worship night. I want to merge those two worlds together. 

Q. "The Cross Has the Final Word," the lead off single, has already gained quite a bit of attention especially when Newsboys also did a cover.  How did Newsboys first hear about the song?  And how do you feel hearing their version? 

That song is such a gift, I'm so thankful for it. I started writing it during a God encounter I had on Good Friday 2016. I sat on the couch with my Bible and began reading the story of the crucifixion. I wasn't looking for a song; I was looking for hope. Our family had been through a few traumatic situations and the world was in turmoil and the church seemed locked up in fear. I was feeling all of those emotions, and asked God "where's the hope in this? Where's the light in all this darkness?" As I waited for an answer, I felt God whisper to me, "The cross has the final word." That moment brought a revelation that changed my life... it brought hope in remembering that Jesus had already defeated fear and death. I knew I had to write it, to share the same revelation with other people. So I ran to the piano and finished a majority of the song in a couple hours. I love every time I see a post of a worship leader leading it at their church, because I wrote it praying that God might use that little song to spread his glorious story of hope to the world. 

The Newsboys covering it came as a surprise to me, because I never pitched it to them or anything like that. Apparently a couple of their guys heard it at our church in Nashville, The Belonging Co, and were impacted by the song. When they approached me about recording it, I was a little unsure of the idea at first, to be transparent. It didn't make logical sense for another artist to release the same song a few months after I did. But in processing it and praying through it for a few weeks, I realized that The Newsboys and I have pretty different fan bases and if they covered it, it could reach more people. I felt God say that he was in it, because he needed to spread the hope of the song far and wide. So I'm happy that the song is going wherever God wants to take it and I pray that it inspires faith and hope in Jesus! 

Q:. Your wife Kari also has a hand in the record where she sang with you. What was it like writing with her? 

I love working with her. It's a dream come true for us to sit in our home studio and work on music together. As a writer, she's incredible with melodies. And as a vocalist, she can sing anything. So it was fun being a bit experimental on this album with melodies and style. I think her fans will find the Kari they know and love, but also something new and fresh about her voice and style, which was intentional for the sound of this project. 

Q: What were some of the most exciting aspects in the recording of this album?  

I loved working with producer Jeremy Lutito on this project. He and I spent a lot of hours in his east Nashville studio creating sounds and arrangements. Between the two of us, we played mostly everything on the album, so it was fun to have a creative partner throughout the whole process. He's an incredible drummer and programmer so he created incredible sounds and grooves that inspired every part of the process. I felt free to create with no boundaries and he helped push me to be the best I could be as a writer and performer. 

Q: Which were some of the most challenging songs to write from this record?  

It's never easy writing or recording. The whole process has its fluid easy moments and its roadblocks. Every part of the process is important though. The fluid moments are fun - I learned in making this record that I can't overthink things. I had to just go with my gut a lot and trust it's right. I think if something moves me in that first moment of creation, chances are good it's going to move the listener in that first listening experience. And the roadblocks are important because they made me ask questions and lean on the other people I was creating with for their expertise and taste. I love the journey of the songs and sounds coming about. It's crazy to think that none of this existed a year ago. It's fascinating that God gives us the ability to create something new where there was nothing.  

Q:. What are your hopes for this album?  How do you wish this record would impact the lives of your listeners?  

I hope they meet with God and find His hope and peace. And I hope they find music that they genuinely want to listen to over and over again.  



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