Bringin’ it Backwards
by American Songwriter
October 9, 2020 6:00 pm
Our podcast talks about the stars before they were stars. We are the backstage pass to the music industry for our listeners.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Sanders over Zoom video!
Raw talent is essential for an artist to develop a successful career, but a strong sense of identity is just as crucial. Adam Sanders possesses both. In a day and time where budding entertainers can be shaken by numerous factors from social media critics to music industry gatekeepers, it takes a special caliber of person to know what’s truly important to them and, even more difficult, to hold fast to those values. The proof is in the listening of Sanders’ latest release, “Ruled The World,” which features seven of his fellow singer-songwriters along with a music video that stars his musical heroes Tracy Lawrence, Aaron Tippin and Shenandoah’s Marty Raybon and Mike McGuire.
Faith, Family, Music, the Outdoors and Fitness are the pillars Sanders’ life revolves around and he has discovered those are priorities for many of the folks he’s singing to as well. “I’ve grown a lot in the past year, and I thought, ‘Who am I, really?’ I always thought of myself as an everyday guy, but different than the guy on stage,” he says of reconciling his public and private personas. “I’ve learned over the last year that that guy off stage needs to be the same guy on stage so it’s real. I want to be relatable and I want to be me in every area of my life. Fans can see when it’s not real, and I’m happier and more successful when I am not pretending to be something I’m not.”
A native of Lake City, FL, Sanders knew at an early age that music would be his life. “My mom likes to say I could sing before I could talk,” says the avid outdoorsman and fitness fanatic. “I’ve got tons of pictures of me dressed up in a cowboy hat, boots and jeans because I idolized Alan Jackson very early on and envisioned him as my hero.”
Most of Sanders’ family had musical talent, especially his uncle Scotty Sanders, a professional steel guitar player, who encouraged his nephew’s dream. After honing his skills performing around northern Florida, Sanders moved to Nashville in 2009. He worked construction to pay the bills while developing his chops as a songwriter. His skills caught the attention of executives at Big Yellow Dog who signed him to a publishing deal.
Sanders first found success in Nashville as a songwriter, penning songs for Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Tyler Farr, among others. One of Music Row’s hottest young songwriters, Sanders has topped the charts with such No. 1 singles as Cole Swindell’s “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” and Dustin Lynch’s “Hell of a Night.” He honed his craft hanging out with pals like Swindell, Farr, Jon Pardi, Chase Rice and Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, and became like a younger brother to a group of hit-bound young talents on the cusp of success.
Sanders learned how to craft a song that was right in the pocket for country radio. He then embarked on his artist career, quickly earning a reputation as an up and comer to watch as he independently sold over 70,000 singles and scored over 70 million Spotify streams. Yet Sanders admits his early efforts weren’t truly synonymous with who he really is as a person. “I started feeling like a puppet just trying to chase what labels thought I needed to sound like and so I finally just stepped back,” he says. “I’ve found what I’m not and I know what I am. For a while, I tried to run from being country and there’s no way you can take that away from me because it’s the way I grew up. And I never took a guitar lesson. I never took vocal lessons. Everything that I’ve done at this point is through just hard work and dedication.”
Self-examination led to Sanders focusing on what is truly important to him and what he wants to say to his growing audience. He started that foundation in his 2018 self-titled, debut EP which peaked at No. 33 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart.
In releasing new music in 2019 and now 2020, Adam continues to lay the groundwork for what is destined to be the perfect pendulum swing from the story-telling and twang of the 90’s, to the progressive infectious sound found in today’s Country Music.
We want to hear from you! Please email Tera@BringinitBackwards.com.
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