Cody Johnson’s multi-week chart-topping single, “‘Til You Can’t,” took on a whole new meaning for the superstar after he experienced a frightening situation while flying this past year.
On Wednesday (June 22), Johnson, the “‘Til You Can’t” songwriters, Ben Stennis and Matt Rogers, and members of the music industry gathered at Nashville’s The Local to celebrate the success of the song. Ahead of the No.1 party, Johnson sat down with Country Now and other members of the media to reflect on the life-changing track.
During the conversation, Johnson reflected on hearing the song for the first time and explained how he related to the impactful lyrics as a husband and father.
“For me, when I recorded the song, I thought about it from that aspect. I mean, as a husband, as a father, especially more so as a father with two young girls at home, seven and five, I have the opportunity to, I don’t want to say manipulate, but to shape them. Like the Bible says, ‘train up your child the way they should go,’ like you have the opportunity to shape their lives,” he said.
After the song was recorded, Johnson said he looked at the song’s message with a different set of eyes when he started thinking about his fan base.
“I have an opportunity to be the guy that says that message and reminds them, yes we’re all at shows and we’re drinking, and partying, and having fun, and we’re there for the moment. We’re just letting life go for a little bit. But just a reminder, the important things are to do it while we’re here because we’re not always going to be here,” he explained and later added, “Do all those things that are important to you while you’re here, whether it is husband, wife, child, as a parent, as a son or a daughter. Whatever it is, make sure you’re trying to milk this life for all that it’s worth.”
The song’s inspiring lyrics took on a whole new meaning for Johnson in late 2021.
“I won’t go into it too completely, but I had a very, very scary near-death experience on a plane this year, on a private aircraft that literally was going down,” he revealed. “The engines failed. We were falling out of the sky.”
According to Taste of Country, Johnson was on a private plane en route to a NASCAR event when the pilot told passengers “We’re going down.” The aircraft fell from 39,000 feet to 15,000 feet and the alarms were sounding.
Thankfully, Johnson and the other passengers made it through unharmed, however, he said that moment changed everything for him.
“And so the next day, I woke up with a completely different perspective on the song. And so, I played the song at the next show and I just started crying.”
After the audience witnessed him “completely breakdown,” Johnson said he wanted to share the story so fans understood what was going through his mind.
“I didn’t want to be like, fake about it, but it’s that easy. We’re not guaranteed tomorrow,” he declared.
He went on to admit that he’s been guilty of overplanning, even going as far as to plan things out years in advance.
“I’m constantly planning, but we’re not guaranteed it. So, that changed my perspective completely on my life. Sometimes when I’m tired and I don’t feel good, I still make myself go to work at home on my ranch, spend the time with my daughters, call up the friend that I hadn’t talked to them in a while and pick up the phone just because of that song and what it did to me.”
At the end of the day, Johnson is tremendously thankful for “‘Til You Can’t” at the lasting impact the song had on him and his life.
“I’ll say this, it’s rare. I feel like it’s rare that an artist gets to cut a song that changes their own perspective on their own life. That’s really special to me.”
“‘Til You Can’t” is featured on Cody Johnson’s latest project, Human: The Double Album. His latest single, the title track, “Human,” is at country radio now.