“Have you seen Best Daddy, Warwick?” This was the short cryptic text I received from my friend Hayden Gillie from Warrnambool. Hayden is the sort of guy who doesn’t say much about something, unless it is really good.
I was not disappointed when I watched the Best Daddy music video featuring Cody & the Qualls family. I cried with joy, not only because Cody Qualls is a great songwriter and dazzling performer, but the Qualls touch your heart like no other family. Their joyous honesty is breathtaking!
Cody’s bio on his website tells the story:
Cody Qualls has been creating, teaching and performing music since 2000. He has studied with countless vocal experts since age eleven and has toured the world, sharing the stage with several household name celebrities and artists.
Upon his return to Face Vocal Band in 2013, Cody’s guidance and vision in marketing, fundraising, social media, publicity, outreach and communications sparked an international explosion of the already locally popular a cappella group.
A multi-award winning artist, Qualls was named Colorado Male Rock Vocalist of the Year (2016) and Male Vocalist of the Year by the International A Cappella Awards (2019). His original track, “Focus On Your Rap Game“, received 1st place in the Great American Songwriting Contest, and his songs such as “Big Time“, “Back and Forth”, “Pick Your Head Up”, “Don’t Believe It”, and RARB’s 2016 Track of the Year, “How Was the Show Last Night”, have become beloved by thousands of Face fans.
Cody’s most treasured accomplishments are his four incredible children and the marriage to his wife, Marlana.
That’s when I knew I had to reach out and record this interview podcast with this devoted father of four!
Watch the long form version below, with the second part of the interview coming next week.
Here is the short-form transcript of Warwick Marsh’s interview with Cody Qualls.
Warwick: What’s the chorus for your Best Daddy song?
People say I’ve changed
I’ll tell them gladly
Putting my attention on
I might never drizzy-drive that Caddy
But I’m gonna be the best daddy
I can be.
It’s basically saying, “I might never drizzy drive a Cadillac”.
That means I might never make the big bucks, but I’m gonna be the best dad that I can be.
Warwick: That’s very cool.
Now, I’ve got your bio here. As a musician, I’ve done plenty of bios myself. Ran my own little label, Australian Heart Music, for many years, and was part of the Independent Music Association in the nineties. But I love the last line of this bio.
You go through all your accomplishments. You play in a very successful, Face Vocal Band, which has travelled the world. How many albums?
Cody: We have done 8.
Warwick: You’ve been with Face Vocal Band for how long?
Cody: The band’s been together almost 20 years, and I’ve been with them 12-13 years, maybe longer. I was with them, and then I left for 4 or 5 years. I was with them and then I left. Actually, I left because I was struggling with my sobriety at that time. I needed to step back, away from the stage and get my feet on the ground. I did not think I was ever going to come back. I kind of transitioned into a different phase. I became a music teacher, got sober, then started a family. Once I got grounded again, there was a strange synergy – one of the guys left the band, the stars aligned, and I jumped back in. So, I’ve been with them about 15 of those 20 years.
Warwick: So, you’ve travelled the world. Who are some of the people you’ve played with?
Cody: We’ve been pretty lucky. We opened for Bon Jovi, Bare Naked Ladies (8,000 people was pretty special), the Manhattan Transfer, Home Free (a growing popular vocal band), Boy George, 38 Special, Robin Thick, booked for Rick Springfield but it rained so hard they cancelled the show. So, we’ve had some really cool opportunities. We have been really fortunate.
Warwick: So, you’ve done some pretty exciting things, you’ve toured the world, recorded lots of music, worked with some pretty special people. But the very last line of your bio says about yourself: “Cody Qualls, his most treasured accomplishments are his four incredible children and the marriage to his wife, Marlana.” Now there has to be a story between those lines. I have not seen that sort of line in many bios, if any. I’d like to think I could have written that myself but yours is much better, trust me. Tell me, what is the story?
Cody: Well, my journey has had a lot of ups and downs. I was very fortunate to be raised in a very privileged community. We didn’t want for anything. I had good parents, but I struggled with substance abuse for a long time, drugs and alcohol. If I didn’t have the wife that I have, I don’t know that I’d have a family. She’s been nothing short of a miracle. I don’t know that I’ve talked about it so raw and honestly.
I do talk about my sobriety to people who follow my music and my journey. I think it’s important. I try not to make it the main thing that I’m promoting, because I want people to live their lives and I don’t have a judgement on how people live their lives.
It’s more that I know there are people out there, for whom this particular path is something that can take over their lives. So if I can put out a word every once in awhile and help anyone else out there who might struggle with that sort of thing and maybe keep a light lit for those folks, ‘cos it is better on the other side. Sometimes it just takes a little while to get there.
Yours for more Joyous Families,
PS: Some exciting news. We are having a Dads4Kids Family Webinar at 8PM (AEST) this Tuesday, 23 June 2020. Special guests include Dave Hodgson, father, grandfather, businessman and former SAS soldier from South Africa; Dr Allan Meyer, author of Valiant Man; and Darren Lewis, the force behind Fathering Adventures. These guys have a lot of wisdom to share. Book now as space is limited. REGISTER HERE.