NASHVILLE SINCE 2009
Adam Sanders used to hang sheet rock until he’d made enough money to come into Nashville and write some songs with his friends. Two #1 songs as a songwriter later, his sole focus is writing the best songs he can and building his own artist career.
“Luckily, I’m not having to hang sheet rock anymore,” he says.
Music has been Adam’s focus since day one. “Alan Jackson was my hero as a kid, and sort of idolizing him as a kid gave me the dream of being in music one day,” he says. “I spent my whole life preparing to move to Nashville.”
However, upon graduating high school, his move to Music City wasn’t immediate. “I sort of played that debate game for a year or two, of like, man, I’m ready to move, but I wasn’t,” he says. “I was a little bit afraid of it. It was almost saying, okay, I’m gonna do a cannonball off the diving board, but when you get on the diving board, it’s like, can I really jump?”
As his friends continued to make things happen in their lives, Adam decided he needed to make a change. “I came and stayed with my dad for about five days here in Nashville just to kind of get away, and I just remember thinking, man, what are you waiting on?” he recalls. “You’ve waited your whole life to do this, you gotta hit start at some point.” He drove back to his hometown, Lake City, Florida, grabbed what he could fit in the back of his truck, and drove straight back to Nashville. “I’ve never looked back since,” he says.
“I knew what I was meant to do and was going to do,” he elaborates, “I just needed to have enough confidence to do it. So I moved here and started working in construction with my dad, hanging sheet rock. I would work with him for about two weeks, save up enough money, then I’d go into Nashville, hang out with my friends. We’d write songs during the week, I’d run out of money, and I’d go back to work. I continued that process for two years until I got my publishing deal.”
Along the way, he started writing songs with a writer named Josh Martin. “About the third write, he said, ‘Hey man, I’ve got a friend that I really feel like you would connect really well with, we should try to write one day,’” Adam recalls. The friend was Cole Swindell, who at the time was touring with Luke Bryan as a merch guy. A few weeks later, Adam and Cole were both at Josh’s house to watch the Braves game, and they decided to write a song. “It was just immediate,” Adam says. “I knew from right then that we had something special as a friendship.” He and Cole wrote Adam’s first cut, “Out Like That,” on Luke Bryan’s Crash My Party. His first #1 song was Cole’s “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey.” He celebrated #1 again as a songwriter for Dustin Lynch’s “Hell of a Night.”
Now his career as an artist is taking off as well. Two of his singles charted on Sirius XM’s The Highway, and his five songs on Spotify have gathered a cumulative 36 million streams. “I always sort of said the Adam Sanders that I am every day needs to be different from the guy onstage, because I felt like me, who I am, there was nothing really special about me. I’m just from a small town, didn’t necessarily have a degree, I lived pretty rural, I lived in a doublewide trailer my whole entire life, didn’t necessarily grow up with a lot of amenities like other people. The guy that I always wanted to be was a star, something larger than life.”
“I sort of started to realize that there was no symmetry there, so I’ve boiled it back down to I need to be exactly who I am every single day,” he says. Now, he’s focusing on family, faith, fitness, the outdoors, and music, the five pillars that mean the most to him. “The biggest thing for me is to put out a project to sort of say, hey, now you can truly see who I am,” he says. “It’s taken me a little bit of time, but I wanted to get it right. I wanted to make sure that when you truly say, alright world, this is who I am, you can be pretty concrete on it.”
Follow him @adamsanders