The A Plus Interview

CMT's Cody Alan Talks His First-Ever Pride Month, His Love Of Country Music, And His Advice To His Younger Self

"Music has always been a friend. I love it with the windows down and the volume up."

When it comes to the music business, the people behind the scenes are just as important as the singers belting out songs. There are songwriters supplying the words to those tunes, producers putting their magic touches on them, and other musicians making the sound you hear. But, beyond that, there are others. There are those sharing the music and talking to the stars on both TV and radio — with Cody Alan being one of, if not the go-to person, for the country genre.

The South Carolina native has been gracing the airwaves since his early 20s (Alan is now 31), and has become one of the most recognized voices and faces out there with numerous awards and honors to prove it. In addition to keeping audiences up-to-date on what's hot in country music straight from Nashville, Alan also interviews all of the genre's biggest stars — living up to the saying associated with his brand: "When country stars talk, they talk to Cody Alan!"

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Alan said he has always "loved the magic of radio and TV, mostly because of DJs who told the stories behind the songs and musicians" — something he does today. He looks up to legends in the business such as Rick Dees and Bob Kingsley, as well as people like Ryan Seacrest. Alan saw Brian Phillips, who was president of CMT for 16 years until stepping down yesterday, as an "inspiring mentor and solid friend." 

Beyond the actual broadcasting side of things, Alan is of course also synonymous to the celebrity side of things. He has interviewed and befriended the biggest names in country music, even calling the likes of people like Keith Urban as an "incredibly positive and very supportive friend." Alan serves his audience by taking listeners and viewers backstage, on the red carpet, and into the lives of the people they admire.

Looking at the music itself, though, Alan has a deep connection to that — much like anyone else who turns to music as a way to heal, to grow, and to reflect.

"Music has always been a friend. I love it with the windows down and the volume up," Alan told A Plus. "I did find comfort from many more emotional country songs recently when I came out. One Republic's 'I Lived' rang especially true for my leap of faith into the mostly uncharted waters of being gay and in country music. I do feel like I've lived, as the lyrics say, because living fully and honestly was best for me."

Alan references his coming out in January 2017, when he announced to the world via a heartfelt Instagram post the side of himself previously kept secret. At the center of this man's coming out story, though, was a sense that he wanted others to realize they can be their true selves — even in the world of country music. The genre's biggest stars flocked to support him after the announcement.

The radio and TV host has since become a leader in the LGBTQ world and — along with a partner, Michael Smith, whom he says inspires him to be a better person — has a newfound sense of happiness.

"For me, it means being at peace with your own soul, comfortable in your skin, proud of how you've faced challenges, and supportive of the tribe who understands your journey," the father of two said, describing the feeling he has of being a proud gay man during his first Pride Month.

Putting so much of yourself out there for the general public's consumption does have its drawbacks, of course, and Alan thinks a lesson everyone should remember is to love their neighbors. Alan says "we should all treat each other as we want to be treated" and that, while we're taught this as a child, "how quickly we forget."

Alan also says there are two types of people in the world: builders, "those who build others up" and are "game-changers in the world," and wreckers, "those who tear down." In dealing with life, Alan said he would look back and give his younger self three pieces of advice to better handle what will be thrown at him along the way.

"Be good to everyone, even if it's difficult," Alan said. "Surround your life with fearless types of people who keep you real and humble. Don't overthink everything, just jump!"

Be sure to follow Cody Alan on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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