Casper J Coda lives life & music on her own terms.
Upon sitting down with Dallas-based artist/producer/songwriter, Casper J Coda, the first thing that strikes you is her clearly-communicated dedication to the art…the process of being a true artist. Casper never speaks of the notion of “doing” music. Casper speaks from a place of being…not doing anything.
I’m persistently fascinated by the minds of artists…true artists. Having the opportunity to chop it up with Casper J Coda did absolutely nothing to squash that fascination. Adept at several instruments, including the guitar, piano and saxophone, Coda is perpetually immersed in music. From other artists, to life experiences, to colors, Casper garners inspiration from a vast array of sources. The Cleveland, OH born Coda is, after all, “a walking defiance”.
Who is Casper J Coda?
I’m a pure lover of music. Ever since I could remember, my mind and my heart have been totally hooked on music. I started getting into instruments early. I’m a Gemini, so I always jumped from thing to thing, whatever interested me. As long as it had anything to do with music. I can’t see myself doing anything else. My passion is the process. Money and fame are secondary to me. I just enjoy the creative process.
Tell us about your singles ‘Justify’ and ‘Right Time’.
I actually created ‘Justify’ and ‘Right Time’ about three years ago… the year of 2013. I just kind of went with the flow getting them out. There’s a natural flow with everything I do. ‘Justify’ came from my love and vibe of 90’s music. You can hear a lot of that influence in the song.
‘Right Time’ actually started as a joke, sort of. The production came from a friend of mine. It’s a different style than I was accustomed to. At the time, i was dating someone and there never seemed to be a right time to engage in a particular conversation or other activities. Inspiration came from just asking myself and her, “When is the right time to pursue things that significant others pursue?”. The song was different from my usual 90s r&b vibe.
What are you working on currently?
There’s never really a target destination for my work. I love an organic process. I always go with the flow. It’s funny, ‘Right Time’ sounds more relevant now than it did three years ago. So it’s a blessing to continue to have music that continues to evolve. That way, I’m always prepared. I never stop working on my passion. That’s where I’m at right now. Also, i don’t want to mimic what’s hot right now. That allows me to avoid being a here-today-gone-tomorrow type artist. I love making music for the fans who genuinely enjoy me and my music.
Why do you do what you do?
Like i said, I’ve always just been grounded in music. I remember, as a young kid, seeing colors and finding the music in them. The process of creating, writing and recording I enjoy more than the finished product, actually. If I couldn’t make music, I’d pray to God that I would be able to identify something else I could do with my life. But, music is life to me.
This may be a result of being a Gemini again, but I feel like I’m always ready to move on to something else in the midst of several other projects. I always have to stay occupied. My music allows me to stay consistently moving.
What was your “ah-ha” moment…when you knew this is what you wanted to do, professionally?
I kinda have a few “ah-ha” moments. My first was at a young age, when I learned that you can actually have a career in music. I got my first keyboard and piano and just loved it. I didn’t realize the depth of the possibilities. I used to think artists on the radio were actually there singing live in that moment! Then I started reading CD credits and paying attention to the names and producers and writers. I just wanted to do what they do.
My second “ah-ha” moment was when I realized I wanted to write my own music. I started out producing. What I realized was that it’s difficult to know your full capabilities as a writer in the moment. Until you actually record it you don’t really know the potential of your writing. So, I got a refund check in college and bought studio equipment. Just so I could record myself and what I’d write.
That led to my third “ah-ha” moment, when people started hearing what I’d record and told me I should be an artist. They loved it. I started to remember dreaming about all the things that were coming into fruition. It was like universal law. When you think things, you attract them to yourself.
You can collab on 1 project with 3 artists (dead or alive). Who would they be and why?
Well the first two may seem obvious. Michael Jackson and Prince. How can you be an artist and not say Michael and Prince? Those are two of the greatest artists of all time. Just to learn from them would be amazing. The way my life is set up musically, how could I ever really understand the true potential of what I do if I can not see where I stand next to the greats, as well as learn. So, that would be an amazing experience.
The third may seem weird to some, but it would be The Dream. There’s always been something about him, musically, that I’ve always connected with. It’s hard to explain, but in my mind I can feel his music and see the colors in it. He really changed my world. In 2007-2008, that feeling of his music changed me. He has a way of staying true to himself and blending it with what’s relevant. I’d love to tell him how much he inspired me as an artist. You can tell he’s heavily influenced by Prince, as well.
Who are your influences in and out of music?
I mentioned Michael Jackson, Prince and, of course, The Dream. Those are a few. But, there are a few underground artists that inspire me as well. Again, I love the feel and the vibe from 90’s music. Anyone who is sincere in the art inspires me, musically. I can tell if someone is a true artist and if they respect the art form. Out of music, it’s really hard to say because I’m never “out of music”, you know. Everything I see and experience inspires me musically.
What / who inspires you to write?
I am always inspired by life experience. Whether it is going through tough times or celebrating good times. Love and heartbreak. Just anything that happens for me is an opportunity to create.
How has your music changed over time?
I think I’ve evolved organically. I’ve improved vocally since I first decided to record as an artist. I believe I’m more versatile lyrically. I just believe in growing organically and not forcing anything with my music. I want to have a long career and continue to evolve with my music.
What is your take on the lack of artist development within the industry and how do you think that ties in with the cut in funding of music and art in schools?
It’s funny you ask it that way. I was actually a victim of music funding being cut in my high school. I think there is definitely a connection. I mean, as a record company or school, why would you spend the time and money on an undeveloped artist when everyone else is just churning out artists, even if you never hear from most of those artists 3 months later. So, I get it. But, I just think we miss out on so much genius in the industry when it’s done that way…when you skip that process. I actually want to go to work everyday when I’m signed, so I continue to develop. That’s just the kind of work ethic and passion I have. I think that prepares me for all the other things that come with the industry. Music is so much more complicated when money and business are involved.
How do you Defy Life?
How do I Defy Life? I feel like I’m a walking defiance. In everything I live, I defy life. When I was young, my grandmother would always tell me, “Dare to be different”. I never understood what she meant until I got older. But, I definitely get it now. From my life to my music, I live on my own terms.