Adam Sander's has written some of your favorite country songs, but he didn't move to Nashville to be a writer. He co-wrote the No. 1 hit by Cole Swindell “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” and was also a co-writer on another chart topper, Dustin Lynch’s “Hell of a Night.” Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and a number of other artists have recorded his songs. After years of dipping his toes in the idea of being a solo artist, Sanders is now ready to dive in! It is clearly making a splash with listeners as he as racked up over 100 Million career streams. Adam is set to release his next album later this year, filled with songs that embody him and the five pillars he builds his life around. Adam Sanders's goal, to bring the 90's country he grew up on BACK to mainstream country. We better all buckle up.
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But I am curious to know who belongs on your Mount Rushmore of nine5es country music?
I don't know if we have enough time for all of that, but man. Alan Jackson was sort of my childhood hero back when I was literally like three or four years old and really started to sing. He's kind of the guy that really inspired me to to be in music. And as I got older, I really got into Tracy Lawrence and Tim McGraw and, and the early Chesney stuff. I'm a fan of all of it, to be honest with you. If I had to pick the like specific years of nineties I feel like 96, 97 98 is kind of like my like golden era of just like my favorite songs that I still listen to today.
They call Nashville the ten-year town. I know you've been there since 2009. How you've grown since you've been there.
It's crazy. I feel like I was a baby when I moved to town and practically was, I pretty much moved when I was 21. I felt like songwriting was sort of my way to get my foot in the door in, in the industry. And I was working in construction with my dad and after about two years of just sort of networking and writing songs, I signed a publishing deal. And, and from there I was so blessed and fortunate to to have a couple of number ones, a song called “Ain't Worth the Whiskey” for Cole Swindell and a “Hell of A Night” for Dustin Lynch. And also was very blessed to, you know, write songs for Dirks Bentley. Luke Bryan just the list goes on and on. All of that's really sort of been the staple of my career.
I moved to Nashville to be an artist, but that was sort of the way to, to kind of get my feet wet. And so now in a very unique situation where I can kind of write for myself, but I also still pitch songs to other artists. I heard you mentioned that Blake Shelton just recorded a song of mine, which I'm super excited about. He, did a collaboration with Shanandoah who was a big influence of mine and, and become pretty good friends of mine also. And so it's been amazing to have that now hit country radio. And I think that song's going to do really well.
What would you consider your biggest cut and what's the story behind that song?
I would definitely say my biggest coat was “Aint Worth the Whiskey” with Cole Swindell. Our friendship literally goes back to like so early on and in my days of moving to Nashville and I'll never forget. This was back in the MySpace days, if you can remember that. And when we had pages and I reached out to a guy named Josh Martin and really liked his music and I was like, Hey man, you know we should get together and co-write. This was way before I had anything going on in the music industry and just was kind of, you know, a young hungry writer. We got together, we wrote a song and he said, man, he said, I got a friend that that's out selling t-shirts for Luke Bryan. And I really feel like you guys would really hit it off. When he gets back in town, we should all get together and, and watch, you know, some Braves baseball or something and kind of hang out. A few days later we all hung out and that night literally just sort of shaped our friendship.
We started writing songs and “Ain't Worth the Whiskey”was one of those along with another song called a “Dozen Roses and a Six Pack.’ We also wrote my very first cut for Luke Bryan called “Out Like That”, which was on my his “Crash My Party” album. It's just been amazing. He's been a guy that really has always has inspired me to continue on my path as an artist and has given me opportunities to go out and tour with him. And s3ll been a guy that I really look up to in the business.
I would say that's, that's by far probably the biggest song that I've had. I think at this point it's double platinum and was, it was a number one, it took 24 weeks, which was pretty quick for, for one. So one I'm very proud.
Chat with me about a song you were unsure about, but was still successful?
Man. I do remember Dierks Bentley recorded the song of mine of called “Sounds of Summer” that I had the idea for. I felt like when we wrote the song we were not thinking of Dierks, and that sort of just sort of came out of nowhere. I wrote it because I liked it and turned it in to my publisher. I remember we turned it in to my publisher on like a Thursday that following day on the Friday, Dierks and his team put it on hold. A little backstory. He had actually finished his full album already and they turn the album into the label and they were like, Hey man, we love loads of stuff, but we don't really hear any singles on this album.
I guess they were going back in to look for new songs. And so we wrapped the song on a, on a Thursday, he puts it on hold on a Friday and the following Monday, they record it. So it was just like a whirlwind. And it was like, is this real life? And he ended up naming his tour after it, which is a lot of times it's a good sign that it's going to be a single. For whatever reason, it was never a single but one that that, yeah, it was just kind of like, like you couldn't really write the script on it per se.
Talk to me more about how your transition into a solo artist with over a hundred million streams. How does this transition encapsulate the five pillars that you live your life by.
I started putting out music back in 2015. Around that time, it was sort of a transition from writing songs for other artists to figuring out what I wanted to sing about. I felt like I had some really great success early on because the songs that we were putting out were good songs. But what I learned after about two or three singles was there was no link between the them. There was no symmetry, it was sort of one was this way. One was that one was that way. And so I started to find that I had not really taken a lot of 3me to figure out what my brand was going to be and sort of what I wanted to be about as an artist and what I wanted to sing about.
I knew at that point how to write songs for other artists, but I didn't necessarily know how to write songs specifically for me. So over the last few years, I really just started to dig into what means the most to me in my life. I was in Colorado on an elk hunt. I remember being on top of a mountain and I was just kinda praying and thinking of the future and what that may hold. For whatever reason, the words, family, faith, fitness, the outdoors and music all just kept coming to me in a row. And it kind of had like a jingle to the family, faith, fitness, the outdoors and music. I realized quick that those were all the things that mean the most to be in my life. Those were all things that I wanted to make sure had a big staple and a significant meaning behind all of my songs. I started to really find what I wanted to do I think a lot of those elements are in the music.
I’m really interested on to hear what your thoughts are on what direction country music is heading.
As a student of, of country music, I feel like country music has always evolved literally since day one. I had a songwriter Bob DiPiero, who's a hall of fame write told me one 3me in a co-write. He moved to Nashville in like the fifties. The same that is being had today about country music and what is quote unquote country music and what it's not country music was had back then. And he said, when Conway Twitty came out with “Hello Darlin”, the industry literally flipped on their heads and was like, what is this, this isn’t country? You can't say that on radio. I feel like what I'm personally most excited about is I feel like the industry has a now healthy balance of everything. Maybe a few years ago it leaned heavy one way. But now I feel like, man, you have your choice of whatever you would like.
You have guys that are traditional country. You have guys that are more rock and country, more pop country, and they're all extremely relevant. Our genre has now leveled out and given artists the ability to to have their version of country music. That's what I think is amazing. It's sort of whatever, whatever is your thing, it's out there and it's all relevant.
What is your favorite part about country music?
Oh, man, the feelings that you get like I am alive and breathing because of country music. I don't know where I would be, without it. I've sat down a lot of and I've thought about, because I literally started singing when I was like three years old.
Music picked me.
I didn't necessarily pick music in college or pick up a guitar, you know, in my twenties and decided to say, Oh yeah, you know, I think I want to try this. It was sort of just something I did from day one. Recently I try to keep in check, why do I like it so much. I go back to the feelings that, that music gives me personally. And I'm a guy that literally listens as I ride down the road by myself on long drives and blare music and sing at the top of my lungs with no one else around because I love it.
I love what it does and I love what it feels like. I want to make sure that as I move forward in my career, that I remember why I love country music and want to sing it. It's not for financial reasons. It's not for fame and it's not to have a pretty girl that think I’m cute. I love singing. It is the feeling that it gives me inside.
What can we expect from you in 2021?
Well this year I am so excited and so optimistic about what we have coming in the future. As you mentioned earlier I have been able to grow a a career of a hundred plus million total streams, which is crazy to think of. All of this has literally been with no label.
I've been an artist since day one.
And about a year ago, I started to have the hard decisions that I think I want to keep it that way. I started turning down a record, to keep it as organic as it has been. Because fans has responded to the music, it has now allowed me to go in and record my first full length album that I'm super excited about. It's going to be coming very soon probably in the next two months around my birthday. But my newest single is the title track of the album! That's getting ready to come out in the next few weeks also. And so and then we're going to release two more songs prior to the album coming out. So 13 songs on the album. We're going to get back on the road and touring. Thank God. Finally, I think we're, you know, we're breaking out of the, all, you know, all the COVID stuff and the restrictions.
So I really am so optimistic because I feel like I've never been given this opportunity to push my brand forward and what I would like to say as an artist. It's all been because of the fans and how they've responded. And so I'm super excited about the music.
I am really hoping my favorite “Bible Verses” will be on the album! Did it make the cut?
Yeah. I’ve been saving that song for a while because I wanted to put it out when I felt like it was relevant. The fans have no idea how, how much they have influence what music we're going to have on the album. I started testing songs out all my socials because I literally write like 80 songs a year. And I have learned, I feel like what fans would like for me to be as an artist. I really took a lot of data over the last few years of songs that I have released. We were just sort of like mad scientists sort of testing, you know, which one, which one does what, and, you know, and certain sounds.
I think we really started to hone in on what that was around the 3me that we released a song called “Make Him Want To Change.” And so this whole album is a full composition of what all of that sort of is. And “Bible Verses”, literally sits right in the middle of all of it. It's one that we're really excited about. That that song is sorta had a lot of hype on it since I teased it on my socials and literally everywhere I go, everyone's like “Bible Verses Bible Verses.” It is finally coming and it's going to be on the album! Y’all better get ready!