He’s written for lots of big names and now Adam Sanders has a big career — and a new video — as an indie artist himself.
Adam Sanders grew up in a little town in North Central Florida called Lake City with his eye on becoming a singer practically from age 3, when he started singing. “As a kid, my hero was Alan Jackson. Without him, there's no way I am where I am today,” Sanders says.
Where he is today is a songwriting success in Nashville, where he moved in 2009, with his own artist career.
“Music has been my A 1 since Day 1,” he says. I always had the dream of moving to Nashville one day, and after two years of being in town, I signed my first publishing deal with Big Yellow Dog Music. I was extremely blessed to come out of the gate swinging and landed cuts with Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Michael Ray, Tyler Farr, Scotty McCreery, etc. I also had 2 No. 1 singles, “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” (Cole Swindell) and “Hell of a Night” (Dustin Lynch).”
All of that creative output for other artists has spilled over into his own indie artist career that sees Sanders putting out music that is a balance of his “’90s country roots with a modern twist of today's country music.”
With an impressive 90 million streams — and counting — Sanders talked with us about his new song and video, “Make Em Wanna Change,” what he got up to during lockdown, and what’s next. We’ve got the premiere of the video and his Good Mood Playlist too.
Cowboys & Indians: What is the story behind “Make Em Wanna Change”? How did the song come together?
Sanders: “Make Em Wanna Change” is a title that was inspired by a past relationship and is something that I kept in my phone for about five months before I wrote it with my buddies Adam Craig and Dallas Wilson. We all share a love for the old school ’90s country, and the day we wrote it I think our heads were just all in that land. I’ve joked that it feels like McGraw’s “Everywhere” 2.0.
C&I: Who’s playing on it? What was that session like?
Sanders: Jacob Rice is the producer on this one and is someone I've been working with for years, along with my pals Sol Philcox on guitar, and Grady Saxman on drums. It's the first song I’ve ever released with steel and Fiddle, and I love it.
C&I: What is your favorite part of the song?
Sanders: I love the energy within the track and lyric. I wanted this song to inspire people to be the best version of themselves that they can be and fill them with the motivation to do so.
C&I: What’s the backstory on the video?
Sanders: It's crazy to think, but we shot this video in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and West Texas right in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. Given travel restrictions, we were somehow able to pull this whole thing off with just one camera man and one lighting guy. But, I have to admit, I had so much help from my team back home just to get it scheduled and lined up to shoot that without them, we couldn’t have done it.
C&I: How do you decide between a song you’re going to put out there for someone else to sing and the ones you keep to record yourself?
Sanders: I honestly have always just tried to write the best song I can that day and let them land where they are supposed to land. I think fate plays a huge role in all that.
C&I: Where and how did you spend lockdown?
Sanders: In the woods! Ha, honestly, I love the outdoors and was able to spend a lot of my time out on my land turkey hunting and fishing. It was nice to be able to enjoy my hobbies and recharge my brain while getting new ideas to write.
C&I: What’s next for you?
Sanders: Well, it’s 2020, so anything can change at any given second, but the plan as of now is to release another single later this summer and follow that with a full album of some sort spring of next year. But that’s the only hint we will share for now.
Adam Sanders’ Good Mood Playlist
“Single Saturday Night” — Cole Swindell
“Thinking 'Bout You” — Dustin Lynch
“Gone Country” — Alan Jackson
“Red Dirt Road” — Brooks and Dunn
“One of Them Girls” — Lee Brice
“Lord I Hope This Day Is Good” — Don Williams
“Roll With It” — Easton Corbin
“Big Green Tractor” — Jason Aldean
“Hometown Girl” — Josh Turner
“Don’t Happen Twice” — Kenny Chesney
“Whitehouse Road” — Tyler Childers
Photography: Header image courtesy Ford Fairchild