CMA Awards 2023: Cody Johnson Performs ‘The Painter’ [WATCH]

Cody Johnson showed off his softer side with his performance of his current single, “The Painter,” at the 2023  CMA Awards. The father of two sang his Top 25 hit, with paintings of his wife, Brandi in the background, a fitting backdrop since it’s Brandi who inspired Johnson to record “The Painter,” from his latest Leather album, out now.

It was CMA Awards Executive Producer, Robert Deaton, who had the idea to include Brandi into Johnson’s performance.

“He called and talked to me personally about what his vision was, how to incorporate an image of my the picture, and have the whole thing kind of paint itself,” Johnson said. “It really brings to light the metaphor of the lyric, so I was pretty excited about that.”

By his own admission, “The Painter” is unlike what Johnson has released in the past, but he was immediately drawn to the song because it reminded him of his relationship with his supportive spouse.

“‘The Painter’ is a little bit different song for me,” Johnson said. “It’s not ”Til You Can’t,’ screaming at the top of your lungs, belting out this big heartfelt message. It’s very simple. It’s just a love song from me to my wife … It’s just very simple. My life was black and white and she’s the painter.”

Although Johnson didn’t write “The Painter,” he knew as soon as he heard it that it was the perfect way to honor Brandi, and their enduring love story

“She’s tougher than I am, but you kind of have to be a little tough if you’re going to be with me,” Johnson said on  Apple Music Country’s Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen. “It’s not all frills and rainbows. But she’s definitely the motor behind a lot of this, and I admit that.

“There are times where I come home and I’m like, ‘I am so overwhelmed. There’s so much going on, and it’s all good stuff,'” he continued. “‘I’m releasing a record. I’m going out of the country to go play. We’re on this award show and we’re traveling to here, and I just can’t take it anymore.’ And she’s going, ‘Yeah, you can. You’re doing a great job.'”

Johnson was nominated for one trophy at the CMA Awards, for Male Vocalist of the Year, which went to Chris Stapleton. He will embark on his The Leather Tour on January 19 in Sacramento, California. Find music and tour dates at