Cody Fry has announced his new record The Symphony Sessions will be released on January 21, 2022. The recent success of his song “I Hear A Symphony” on TikTok, which has propelled its streams to well over 55 million on Spotify and counting, has earned Fry the luxury to choose his own creative path, and the result is The Symphony Sessions. The six-song album was recorded with an 80-piece orchestra, and includes fully arranged originals as well as covers of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,”, which has amassed over 2 million streams in just two weeks since being shared on TikTok, and Ben Rector’s “Sailboat,” a song which served as a joint encore on Fry and Rector’s recent tour.
Today, Fry and Rector share their new version of “Sailboat” along with the live performance video filmed at Ocean Way Studios, a beautiful 100-year-old grey stone church in Nashville.
Watch “Sailboat” featuring Ben Rector HERE
“This is a song Ben and I used to perform every night when I was touring in his band,” says Fry. “I’d always wondered what it would sound like with a full orchestra, but I don’t have to wonder anymore!”
When his Old Friends Acoustic Tour with Rector was cancelled after just four shows due to the pandemic, Fry retreated to his Nashville home, took the occasional work-for-hire production job, finished up his album Pictures of Mountains (which came out earlier this year) and monitored his Spotify streams. It was there he began noticing unusual activity on “I Hear a Symphony,” the 14th and final track on his 2017 album Flying, recorded with a full orchestra, its streams climbing incrementally, eventually hitting a peak of 400,000 streams per day on Spotify alone.
Fry is a singer-songwriter-composer-arranger with five albums under his belt, starting with his 2012 debut, audio:cinema – a perfect description of the idiosyncratic, wide-screen, romantic movie-score approach he takes on “I Hear a Symphony” and “Photograph” (from Pictures of Mountains). Going down the internet rabbit hole, he discovered some comments on his YouTube videos that led him to TikTok, where “I Hear a Symphony” had been adopted, first by a K-Pop fan community, then by anime aficionados, who used the song in their video montages – more than 45,000 of them, representing millions of streams. Unfortunately, Fry only received a check from TikTok for a grand total of $150 so far for the video usage, but that activity spurred his four-year-old Flying album to garner upwards of 50 million streams and counting.
All the songs were recorded live in a single day, including several of the lead vocals, with a 80-piece orchestra, including strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion. “When a session is structured in this way, it doesn’t leave much room for error, but luckily the musicians were incredible, and everything turned out better than I could have imagined,” says Cody. “It was a stressful, nerve-wracking, joyful, rewarding experience. I hope I get to continue making more music like this.”
The album also features songs reimagined from Fry’s back catalog like audio:cinema’s “Underground” and “Stop Breathing” (a song he originally recorded as a duet with his now-wife Haley); a new song, “More Than the Day Before” and instrumental interlude, “Caves.” Cody is also posting two live videos of him performing both “I Hear a Symphony” and “Photograph” before a full orchestra.
“I’ve run the gamut of emotions, from confusion to thunderstruck excitement to the fear of how long will this last?” admits the Chicago-raised Fry, following in the footsteps of his father, Gary Fry, a successful commercial jingle writer turned symphonic composer who writes for orchestras around the world, and conducts on his son’s two live videos. “This has totally changed my life. It’s allowed me to say no to things I don’t want to do and be able to pursue what I do.”
Although major record labels came calling following his viral success, Cody has decided to remain independent for the time being. “I didn’t feel right about the offers,” he says. “I wanted to see what I could do on my own now that I can support myself this way. Even though record companies can add tremendous value, it was too tantalizing for me to be able to make the music I wanted, without any outside interference.”
The Symphony Sessions is just that, and Cody hopes it can continue to open doors, with visions of taking his orchestral approach to the Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall, or even on a tour where he plays with local orchestras at each city. “I think the most amazing things humans do are the things that we do together in large groups,” he says. “When else in music do you have 60 people in the same room all working together to make the same piece of art simultaneously? There is an energy that only happens in that setting.”