Under The Influence: Cody Wise | Features | MN2S

Signed to Interscope and with a UK Number 1 under his belt at the age of 18, Philadelphia’s Cody Wise is one of the most promising pop stars in the world. His chart-topper ‘It’s My Birthday’ with mentor will.i.am has amassed over 39 million hits on YouTube, and other collaborations with Chuck English and Australia’s ‘The Voice’ winner Anja Nissen also mark him out as a force to be reckoned with.

His upcoming debut album was also produced by will.i.am, with songwriting and co-production credits from Cody himself. Despite his young age, he has a refreshing approach to modern pop music – having previously cited Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder as key inspirations and stating a desire to “to take some of the passion from older, more classic artists and put it back into the music that’s happening today”. With that in mind, we asked him to talk us through five of his biggest musical influences in the first of our new ‘Under The Influence’ series.

Quincy Jones

Let me start with one of my favorites and one of the most influential of people to impact my life as an artist. What can I say about Quincy Jones that hasn’t been etched in the tablet of musical legends that I’m 100% certain exists ha ha. From ‘Back On The Block’ to ‘Q’s Juke Joint’, then back in time to ‘Sounds… And Stuff Like That!’, I’ve been captivated by the vast amounts of variety and care put into every song on every album. Not to mention the artists; Oh goodness! The artists Mr. Jones has worked with. James Ingram, Luther Vandross, Chaka Khan, Patti Austin, Michael Jackson, Minnie Ripperton, HIS OWN FRIGGIN’ ORCHESTRA, Sarah Vaughan. I would probably lose all of my breath trying to name every person he’s touched with his musical talents. This man is the epitome of a musician in every sense of the word… and I have a very long way to go ‘til I can match him. Quincy Jones’s career should be the goal of any upcoming artist. Longevity; artistry; mastery.

John Legend

Wake up, listen to ‘Get Lifted’; go to school; sneak my CD player in lunch and listen to ‘Get Lifted’. Get home, do homework and listen to ‘Get Lifted’. Going to bed? How about I listen to ‘Get Lifted’ one more time! I can guarantee you this album by John Legend made me 100% certain I wanted to be a singer and artist. I was OBSESSED with this album. A perfect album from beginning to end, hands down. Something about the way John Legend and his signature raspy voice pouring out his emotions on every track got to me. If I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a singer before … this album somehow gave me the drive to work that much harder to achieve my high in the sky dreams. By far, absolutely one of my dream collaborations. Hey, seeing how will.i.am helped produce ‘Get Lifted’ … maybe that’s closer than ever!

Musiq Soulchild

Musiq Soulchild is not only one of my favorite artists, but he’s also from my hometown. I grew up on the sounds of Bilal, Floetry, Jill Scott, and Usher… but Musiq was the one I gravitated to the most. From ‘Teach Me’ to one of my favorite songs of all time, ‘Love’, this man captivated my songwriting interest from a young age. Simple and beautiful, eloquent and poignant; every song offered something I wasn’t aware I was looking for. I remember sitting in my room with my little CD player and trying to sing these songs for hours, days and months on end. As far as artists go, Musiq is easily one that I can say I would love to be ultimately be compared to. I’m not sure if it’s something in the water in Philly but it creates great music to learn from.

Jill Scott

This woman is absolutely amazing. Strong, Beautiful, Unbelievably talented. From ‘Gettin’ In The Way’ to ‘So In Love’, Jill Scott and her music is filled to the brim with smooth tracks and vibes. Just another Philly talent to inspire lil’ ol’ Cody in his tiny room filled with dreams of a musical future. I remember (barely) when ‘Who Is Jill Scott’ came out.  Lil Cody’s mind was blown. I was in love with every song on that album. I remember hearing ‘Gettin’ in the Way’ and then literally the next song after that, ‘A Long Walk’, had me freaking out. At this time, I had heard soulful tunes before… But nothing like I heard from Miss Jill Scott: an artist I can say I’ve met. A full session with her! By far one of the greatest experiences of my life. Nothing but vibe and jamming!


‘Confessions’ might as well have been my music bible. I listened to that album every single day for years. I still do on occasion. From the beats to the singing to the dancing, this man was definitely one of the contemporary artists I idolised. Tunes like ‘Yeah!’ to ‘Can U Handle It?’… I learned so many things from this man both musically and visually. I can remember listening to ‘Caught Up’ really late at night when I was young. I was trying to perfect this riff after the bridge, and my Mom yelling at me to get some sleep for school in the morning. One of the best memories of my childhood! Don’t worry, the “collab” will happen one day. Guaranteed!

Click here to read our other Under The Influence features.

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