As soon as Cody Cozzolino started singing in front of people, things turned out well.
First, however, some things must have gone wrong.
Prior to the start of his senior football season at Colorado State University Pueblo, Cozzolino dislocated his ankle during practice. The injury meant he would not end his football career. A few months later, he was crushed in another way: his three-year relationship ended.
“I was at a pretty low point in my life,” said Cozzolino, 23. “I was just sitting around doing nothing looking for what to do next.”
He prayed every day to find a way out of the funk.
He turned to music, a long-standing hobby that he kept hidden from most of the people in his life. One day he had the courage to make a video of himself singing. He posted it on Facebook.
This post led to Cozzolino getting his first gig. In June 2020, he nervously plays at Giodone’s, an Italian restaurant in Pueblo.
Contrary to the common history of musicians having to spend years working in search of a big break, Cozzolino didn’t have to wait that long to know he was on the right track.
He got another gig at The Gutterhouse, a new concert hall and entertainment venue in Pueblo West. The newbie started playing several shows a week wherever he could.
Then came another sign. The folks at Gutterhouse invited him again to open for Craig Campbell, the country singer behind hits like “Keep Them Kisses Comin ‘”. Cozzolino has since opened for other high-profile artists like Josh Turner and Jon Pardi, while he and Campbell have struck up an unlikely friendship.
“He kind of took me under his wing,” Cozzolino said. “For someone like that, believing in yourself means a lot.”
During a long phone call, Cozzolino asked all kinds of questions about how Campbell got his start and how to be a better performer.
“I just started taking his advice at a T,” Cozzolino said.
There were simple suggestions, like buying a new guitar and playing more upbeat songs. Campbell also conveyed more sincere wisdom to the stage.
“He told me to keep my eyes open and really engage with the crowd,” Cozzolino said. “He said, ‘Your eyes are the gateway to the soul. “
With the help of his new connections, Cozzolino has signed a publishing deal and will soon be moving to Nashville. He moves in with his best friend, Mitch Carter, another former CSU Pueblo footballer and rising musician.
Cozzolino got a glimpse of the excitement of Music City on recent trips to record music. On a memorable day in the studio, the members of Rascal Flatts walked in.
He’ll have to get used to that sort of thing.
“It was the craziest situation,” Cozzolino said. “It seems that everything changed very quickly. “
About 18 months ago, he planned to use his degree in construction management and join his father’s business. He didn’t think much about this music story.
Now he dreams of playing on bigger stages.
When Cozzolino attended Luke Combs’ recent concert at Broadmoor World Arena, he looked around and said to himself, “That doesn’t seem too far to me.”
It might sound like a lofty goal, but Cozzolino has come so far.
“I just feel if I’m going to do it,” he said. “So why not reach for the stars?” “
First, Cozzolino will release their first single, “On My Way” in early 2022 and go on tour. “You never know what might happen,” he said. “If I become a big star or something, I could say I’m rooted in Pueblo, Colorado. That will be great.”