Featured Photo Credit: Tanner Morris
NBC’s The Voice alum, Cody Belew is getting fans into the holiday spirit with his brand new single, “Hang Your Hat On My Christmas Tree.”
The catchy country song is featured in the new Paramount film, Dashing In December, a romantic drama about a man named Wyatt, who returns home in the hopes of selling his family farm, but the new ranch hand, Heath might just change his mind and steal his heart.
We chatted with Belew about the single, his upcoming album and more!
How did you first get interested in music?
That’s hard to say. I feel that I’ve been a musical instrument since the day I was born. My earliest memories are of singing in a little one-room, stone church near our house way out in the country. At 4 years old, I was so small that they had to stand me up on a chair beside the piano so that everyone could see me singing “This Little Light of Mine.” So it’s always been there with me, and I’ve been singing ever since.
Who did you listen to growing up and do they have an influence on your sound today?
I kept 3 cassettes in constant rotation – Dolly Parton’s Greatest Hits, The Judds Greatest Hits, and Randy Travis Greatest Hits. I wore them out. Around the second or third grade, I found a homemade copy of “The Bodyguard” soundtrack in my mom’s purse. Not knowing what it was, I thought that it must be something dirty since it had the word “body” in the title so naturally, I took it! I like to think God gave me Dolly Parton to teach me to write good songs, and He gave me Whitney Houston to teach me the master’s class in how to sing them.
What inspired your new single, “Hang Your Hat On My Christmas Tree”?
Who the hell knows why. When I sat down to write it, the songs “You Can Leave Your Hat On” by Joe Cocker and “All My Exes Live in Texas” (that’s why I hang my hat in Tennessee) by George Strait both hit me at the same time. So I married the two into the lyrics “You can hang your hat on my Christmas Tree.” HA! I’m still laughing about it.
What was the writing process like?
It was a really fast write. I was under the gun to get it completed in a matter of days, so that helped spur me along. Once I had the hook though, I just wrote backwards from there. One of the greatest Christmas songs to me is “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” I love the imagery of a Christmas party so that’s what I wrote about.
This song is featured in Paramount Network’s Dashing in December. How does it feel to have your song included in this film, especially as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community?
I just feel so honored to be involved. The cast, director/writer Jake Helgren, the producers, and the team at Viacom have all been so generous in their support of the song and have really helped push it along since it came out. I love that we’re now in a time when a movie like this could not only be made but can be celebrated and loved by so many. I’ve been so scared of the responsibility of carrying the mantle of being an out singer-songwriter, mostly because I didn’t want it to define my work. I think I can finally let that go.
How are you getting into the holiday spirit?
The question is, how am I going to get OUT of it?! Every hall we have is DECKED!!
If you could set fans up in the perfect environment to listen to “Hang Your Hat On My Christmas Tree,” what do you imagine it looking like?
We were so incredibly lucky to be allowed to shoot the music video at Nashville’s iconic Santa’s Pub. It is THE perfect setting for this song. If you have a chance, watch it and you’ll instantly understand why. We didn’t hang a single Christmas light up, everything you see in the video is exactly how Santa’s looks year-round. He hasn’t been able to open this year due to the pandemic, so having him turn on all the lights and fire up the karaoke machine for us is something I’ll never forget.
You’ve opened for Florida Georgia Line and Dierks Bentley. Who would you love to perform with next?
I’m dying to share the stage with Yola. I really love her work. Brittney Howard and the Alabama Shakes are way up there. And Chris Stapleton can fill my dance card anytime he likes! I’d also LOVE to perform with The Killers. I think Brandon Flowers and I could really tear it down.
What can fans expect from your upcoming album?
Well, fans will know that it’s actually the fourth album I will have released, but the first with my label, Visionary. It’s a love letter to myself, that I wrote while going through a divorce. Sometimes you need reminding that you’re worthy of love and that you deserve to be happy. I think that message is always right on time for someone out there listening.
What can fans look forward to next?
More singles throughout 2021, for sure. And the full record dropping next fall, I believe. I HOPE we can get out there and start playing live shows again. I miss it so much!
What is one quote that you have heard or that you go by that you want to ECHO out to the world?
“I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.” It’s an old Spiritual that always stays with me- reminding me of how far I’ve come, how hard I’ve worked, and how blessed I am. I’m just so blessed.