Producer ThankGod4Cody Talks Going From Memphis to Producing on SZA's Grammy-Nominated Album 'CTRL'

Briana Wade
ThankGod4Cody

Cody Jordan Fayne, better known as producer ThankGod4Cody, is a week away from his 26th birthday, and now he has even more to celebrate as a newly minted Grammy nominee for his work on SZA's CTRL album, with credits on four records: "Wavy (Interlude)," "Broken Clocks," "The Weekend" and "Love Galore."

Hailing from Memphis, the young creative went from being dead broke in Los Angeles just under a couple of years ago to being part of one of the most important albums of the past year. Cody's introduction to music came by way of performing Little Bow Wow's "Bow Wow (That's My Name)" at a local talent show in fourth grade with his friend Eric. "All the girls was on us afterwards," he laughed. "We had classmates being our bodyguards and dudes holding the umbrella." At Southwind Middle School, he was also part of the marching and jazz bands. Upon moving to a different school and being forced to go from playing songs on the radio to classical music, he switched to making beats with his friend Eric on MTV Generator.

After high school, Jordan went off to Middle Tennessee State University with the blessing of his family. "MTSU had one of the top recording industry programs in the country and it was a coincidence that it was what I wanted to do," he said. "So I tried to get into that program." Jordan had trouble, though, staying motivated getting a high enough GPA to get into the program. "My first focus was learning how to produce when I first got to school. I was just trying to link up with people that was rapping and doing music in general."

In 2013, frustrated with the failure of a romantic relationship, a false criminal accusation that was later dismissed and failing grades, Jordan dropped out of MTSU and moved to Atlanta with his friend Fred who also dropped out. Living in a small apartment with virtually no furniture and only a humble job at Home Depot, Jordan worked at getting better as a producer. After linking up with a producer named The Antidote, or Ty, Jordan moved out to L.A. with the aim of getting on with Ty's friend and TDE rapper Isaiah Rashad. Though Jordan had gone to school with Rashad and met him in passing, he saw the L.A. move as a way to work more closely with the artist. In 2014, he packed his bags and headed west.

Jordan barely got by in L.A. as he worked to get on Isaiah Rashad's The Sun's Tirade. He talks about his quality of life, saying, "I was just finessing as well as I could just to eat. I never had a job and I didn't sell drugs. I was just struggling. My pops might send me $40 and I would have to make that stretch for weeks." By late 2015, Jordan's plan to get on Rashad's project wasn't panning out, and he went through a slight bout of depression. He notes the low point in his life, saying, "I just started praying really hard and really trying to go in on beats by myself, perfecting my craft."

Jordan knew SZA from hanging around Rashad and at one point lived in a house where she also resided. Eventually, the two started working on music together. The turning point musically for both of them was when SZA's producers Ty, Carter, her engineer Chris and Jordan all went to stay at a lake house in the Midwest in mid-2016. Out of that stay came the records "2 AM" (a PARTYNEXTDOOR cover), "Love Galore" and "Broken Clocks."

He tells the story of how "2 AM" came about, saying, "We were riding back to the lake house the night before and heard somebody else had done a cover of a song on the radio. We were like, 'Damn, we should do a cover of the PARTYNEXTDOOR song.' That night, I made the beat, and the next morning, I came and played it to her while we were eating breakfast and she hopped on it." 

The platinum record "Love Galore" was a collaborative effort from Jordan and Carter. Jordan notes, "Later that night, I started on the beat, and Carter came downstairs to the basement and helped me. Then, I took that beat upstairs to my room, put my Apple headphones in and made the drums. I came back downstairs and played that for her. The next day she hopped on it."

SZA's other recent platinum hit "The Weekend" came from a previous beat Jordan had worked on and was trying to convince the singer to write over. Commenting on the controversy surrounding the content of the record, he jokingly says, "It was a fun song and it wasn't as deep as people took it."

When asked how it felt to be part of such a critically acclaimed and Grammy-nominated album, he said, "I feel blessed because I know how hard we worked on that album. We really put in the hours. The last couple days, I didn't sleep for 48 hours straight. My body still hasn't recovered from that time I stayed up two days straight." He notes how grateful he is for the recognition, saying, "Plenty of people put work into projects and see the minimal or flop."

Aside from being a producer, Jordan is also a burgeoning artist as well as in the process of forming his own company, called Thank God, to develop artists. When asked about his 2018 goals, Jordan said, "I'm focused on becoming a better songwriter, better artist, and I'm also focused on developing some of my own artists I have right now back home in Memphis. I also would love to get on the next Beyoncé album. I already know it's going to be legendary, so I'm shooting for the sky."