It wasn’t your average day when someone from Disney reaches out and asks them to be a part of one of their projects. For artist, instrumentalist, and composer Cody Fry, this day began as an email.
“They happened to reach out via my website, and asked if I could take a call with them, and I said ‘of course.’ They’re Disney!,” said Fry to us for our exclusive interview.
During the 30-minute Zoom call back in June of 2022 while Fry was in London, creative directors from Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) began to describe and show what they were working on: a show to commemorate the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company and that they wanted to commission an original song for the show.
He later on ended up getting the full pitch for the show (including the Disney story properties) that would eventually become World of Color: One at Disney California Adventure park.
According to Fry, Disney thought he would be the perfect person to write the song that would weave the entire show together because of his past works, which already have a ‘Disney flare’ to them. “I work a lot with orchestras and take a lot of inspiration from film scores… I sit at the crossroads of all that and add in fun and heart—all very Disney,” Fry added.
Inspiration for writing the song came directly from the pitch that Imagineers shared with Fry originally, with the thematic of ‘ripple effect’ anchoring a lot of his ideas. “Every Disney story they showed me featured characters that started something themselves and ended up creating or doing something amazing.”
Fry quickly felt confident about the hook of the song that came to him: “sometimes just one drop is all it takes” and decided to build the song around it.
By distilling that idea further, Fry ended up writing two songs in an afternoon while in a London studio at first and took the verses from one and the chorus from the other and combined them into one, which ended up becoming the final song. “So two became one—no pun intended,” Fry said laughingly.
Fry also loved working with Walt Disney Imagineering, saying that they were great partners throughout the entire process. “Some clients in the film and TV space can be pretty domineering, but the Disney team was extraordinarily collaborative in an uplifting and fun way,” Fry said. “A lot of their feedback ended up in the final song, and it made it all the better,” he continued.
After having sent in demos to the team and locking in the final song, music producer at WDI Ron Colvard and his team added the orchestration and recorded the final song that became part of the entire show.
There are actually three versions of the song, titled “Start a Wave,” that were made.
The main version is played at the beginning of World of Color: One, which was produced by Colvard and his team and features the voice talent of Loren Allred (‘Never Enough’ in 20th Century Studios’ “The Greatest Showman”).
Another was produced by Disney which acts as a “pop version” of the song played at the end of the show as exit music. An additional version was produced by Fry himself and was the demo he sent to Disney and now acts as a music single that is available to stream and buy today.
Fry hasn’t even seen the show in-person with his song in it, but hopes to very soon. “I’ll be in LA in the next couple of months, so I can’t wait to see and hear it all come together. Maybe I can coax Imagineering to show me behind-the-scenes as well. I love all that stuff!,” he said.
World of Color: One, featuring Cody Fry’s “Start a Wave” is now playing exclusively at Disney California Adventure park for the Disney100 Celebration.
Our special thanks to Cody Fry for contributing to this story! Buy or stream “Start a Wave” wherever you get your music. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter, and check out his other music on his website.