By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
"Jody slips out her window to the chill of the midnight air/Her daddy said that boy was trouble but tonight she didn't care."
Some of the album's nine songs find Cody straddling the pitch with difficulty, a problem she doesn't have live. Then again, the songs here--most of which were learned on the flight to Nashville--were cut in only two vocal sessions, a feat unheard of for 99 percent of the singers making records today.
Also, both Macy and Charles wanted to capture the essence of the girl and her voice, so they eschewed studio trickery; no devices were used to correct her pitch and rhythm.
"Cody is pretty strong-willed as far as the ideas of how she wants to have her voice sound," says Charles. "Especially since we didn't have all that much time to work, I just kinda let her have her hand on that."
The Macys and Charles approach their business relationship like country boys; a handshake is sacred. No lawyers or contracts are used. As dubious as it sounds, they trust one another implicitly, from publishing to songwriting to producing. By this fall, if no major labels have made offers for Cody--which seems unlikely, as the labels have already started calling--they'll take this record to Nashville and shop it.
For the rest of the summer, after a trip to Disneyland with her classmates, then to Nashville for the weeklong country festival called Fan Fare, Cody will be doing gigs here and there. She will be backed by the able Tyler Guthrie Stampede--a group of seasoned yet young vets who began backing Cody this year.
Cody also will be going shopping and reading and having sleepovers with her girlfriends.
"I can't wait to go to Nashville," says Cody. "I am so excited."
The Cody Lynn Macy phenomenon seems too good, like there must be a catch somewhere. Not surprisingly, some people suspect the Macys are forcing Cody into her country singing role.
"A lot of people at the shows are happy," says Debbie. "They say that because Cody . . . is not a JonBenet style of girl. And that's the biggest thing. Goodness gracious, if Cody put on heels and a little bit of makeup, they would run me right out of the city. They would say I am definitely off my rocker. They really accept her."
But the Macys have heard some sniping as well.
"People are gonna say that I didn't make it, so I want her to. They all say that," Debbie says. "Well, I don't even know what to tell them, because I let her do what she wants. So if she said she wanted to stop, we'd stop. I walked away from singing and am very happy with my life. But they all say that, you know, 'I know you gotta be forcin' her to make it 'cause you didn't make it.' But that was so many years ago. I quit singin' when I was 16. I'm 42 years old!
"But Cody has so much more desire to sing than I did, and she didn't quit where I quit. If I didn't win a contest, I would get all upset and embarrassed; she doesn't. She'll say, 'Oh man, I didn't win, I gotta try harder,' or, 'Oh well, she was lucky she won. Maybe I'll win next time.' I didn't have that kind of attitude. So Cody has done this with our support, not our force, and that's it.
"There is always somebody that'll be in a nightclub, and they'll have had a few drinks, and they'll come up and say, 'What is she doing in here? She is 11 years old.' Usually when I ask them where their kids are, they'll say something like, 'Well, I don't see my kids; they live in California with their mother, but I bet they are home with their mother.'
"Ya know, and Bob and I are sittin' with her, her friend is with her, she's drinking pop, playin' video games, then jumps up and sings, jumps down and leads the line dancing, and we are out of there by 11:00 at the latest, before it gets crazy. It is usually never women saying this stuff, it is mostly the men. The last guy I asked where his kids were, the bartender jumped in and said, 'He doesn't know, 'cause he's here every night by 5:00!"
If anything, it appears that the Macys are approaching Cody's potential career with kid gloves. It isn't like they are pushing Cody places where kids shouldn't be pushed; it's more like what is happening with Cody is something that can't be stopped.
"Raising Cody is scary," says Bob Macy. "At times I don't know if I am doing the right thing. But I can't stop it [the singing]. She loves it. She really does. But she just wants to do it then go and do her own thing. She's an exceptional child; I don't know what to say--I'm just thankful."
The parents are managing Cody's career now, but they recognize it may become necessary for somebody else, an individual or company with heavyweight connections, to take the reins.