MORGANTOWN — Cody Clayton Eagle is a seventeen-year-old singer-songwriter, based in Morgantown, W.Va. He got his first big break when he was selected as a finalist on the reality television competition, American Idol in March of 2018.
The teen started playing guitar when he was eight-years-old and had a slipped capital femoral, a condition in which the head of the femur actually dislocates and separates. Eagle had to undergo two surgeries and was confined to a wheelchair while he was healing.
"When I was younger, I was really into sports. I played basketball, baseball, football and raced 4-wheelers," Eagle said. "When I was 8, I broke my hip and had a pin placed in it. I was restricted on activities for 18 months which meant sports were out. My parents were trying to find something that would occupy my time and purchased me a guitar. I played around with it some over that 18 months, but once I was released back to activities, I went back to my sports. When I was 10, my other hip broke and required a pin in that side as well."
By the time Eagle was twelve years old, he had fallen in love with playing the guitar. He started taking lessons and dedicating himself to learn how to play. When he was 15 years old, Eagle's parents enrolled him in a music school in Morgantown called Popshop where they put their students together in bands.
"They practice together for 6 weeks and at the end of that time, have the opportunity to perform on a stage at a venue in Morgantown for an audience," Eagle said. "This was where I had my first opportunity to sing. Over the next year, I became the lead singer in a band at PopShop."
Eagle was one of 34 teens in the United States to be selected to compete in Hollywood. American Idol hosts open auditions all over the U.S. and only a select few "receive their golden ticket to Hollywood."
David Eagle, Cody's father, said that he was one of 12 people picked from the 3,400 people who auditioned in Charleston, W.Va. this year. He was encouraged to audition by his mother.
"Once he started singing it was like a passion and he said 'I really enjoy this and I want to see where it goes," David Eagle said. After American Idol, he decided this is what he wanted to do."
Cody Clayton Eagle is homeschooled, which gives him the opportunity to pursue his dreams. He is performing shows about three times a week now. This also gave him the opportunity to pursue American Idol.
"After that, they narrowed it down to four and he got an invite to Georgia as one of the four and auditioned for the producers of the show," David Eagle said. "The next round was in New York and he got to sing for Luke Bryant, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry."
Eagle sang his original song, "I will sing" for his audition and was accepted to the next round in California. The same song would later get him into the top 21 on the television show, Nashville Rising Song.
Unfortunately, Cody was eliminated from American Idol after the "Hollywood round" but that was far from the end for his music career.
"I started writing last year. I want people to be able to relate to what I'm writing," Eagle said. "I want to help people cope with what they're going through and let them know they are not the only one who face everyday challenges. Whether it's a heartbreak song like 'I Can't Go Anywhere,' that's coming out soon or another one of my originals I wrote, 'What I Wouldn't Give' about my dog that passed away. He truly fit the bill of man's best friend. When he passed, I was heartbroken, so I wrote that song. Just listening to it, you wouldn't know I wrote it about my dog. I wanted anyone who had lost someone to be able to relate to just how I was feeling."
He would go on to record his first single, "I will sing" in Nashville, Tenn. with some music business notables such as Corey Congilio, Amos Heller, Chris Russell, Brian Spragg, Ethan Daniel Mentzer and Scott Simons.
"He was one of the top 150 people on American Idol," David Eagle said. "He came back from the show and released a song and Taylor Swift's bassist, Amos Heller and a producer on the show, America's Got Talent. He has worked with some big artists for 17 years old."
Cody Eagle is in the process of releasing more music single, but in the meantime, he auditioned for the show, Nashville Rising Song.
"Cody sang the 'I will sing' and he won the audience vote by 38 percent and he made it into the top 21 so we will be going back to Nashville July 16 and he will compete for a spot in the final four," David Eagle said. "If he makes it through that round, he will perform again for the winning spot on Nashville Rising Song."
Nashville Rising Star is available to watch on NashvilleRisingSong.com or through the Facebook link on Cody Clayton Eagle's page. The show is based on votes and David Eagle hopes to rally the people of West Virginia behind his son. The voting poll is open from the start of the competition until the last performer. If Cody passes the round on July 16, he will advance to the top four and perform on the finale on July 23.
"It is really neat to see this happening and there is so much negativity surrounding West Virginia but there is so much great going on here," David Eagle said. "It would be great to see West Virginia rally behind Cody."
Cody is a fan of Chris Stapleton and Luke Combs, but in his quest for a career in music, he wants to stay true to himself.
" I want to write about those important things that get missed in some of today’s pop country," Eagle said. "It’s about being real and letting people know who you are and what you stand for through the music. I won’t win over every country heart but I’m dang sure going to try."
— Contact Emily Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @BDTrice