It’s not too often that a successful bull rider leaves his career to be a country music singer, but it sure seems to have made sense for Cody Johnson. The Texas-bred singer-songwriter may have a rodeo past, but he’s got a bright future in the country business.
Since 2006, Johnson has been slowly making a name for himself in country music with a traditional sound that stays true to the roots of the genre while still bringing a fresh perspective to the industry. An independent artist since the very beginning, Johnson self-released his sixth studio album last year, and it looks like his hard work is really starting to pay off: Gotta Be Me boasted big names such as Randy Rogers and the Brothers Osborne in its writing credits, reached No. 2 on the country charts and led to appearances at festivals all over the country, including Country Jam and the Taste of Country Music Festival.

Country Singer Is Actually His Second Job
In another life — well, just earlier in this one — Johnson made his living as a professional bull rider! In fact, one of his proudest moments came late in his bull-riding career and early in his music career, when one of his very own songs started playing while he was riding a bull!

“I was at a place in Liberty, Texas, and they were playing one of my songs that I had recorded,” Johnson says of an early single, “Step on Up,” playing while he was in the ring. “It was me on drums, me on the bass, me on acoustic guitar and me singing; I went to the garage and recorded it. And then I ended up riding a bull while my song was playing!

He’s a Self-Proclaimed ‘Fitness Freak’
Johnson is on a paleo diet, which means he eats mostly meat and veggies, and is dedicated to the popular CrossFit style of workouts. Therefore, he says his post-show meal of choice is something “healthy and filling” … but that doesn’t mean he abstains from everything that might be delicious but unhealthy.

“Oh don’t worry,” he tells The Boot with a laugh, “I’ll definitely have a beer before the show!”

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