“All You, All Night, All Summer” singer/songwriter Adam Hambrick came to Nashville as a writer. His first cut was the Justin Moore/Miranda Lambert duet “Old Habits.” His first two co-writing number ones, Dan + Shay How Not To (with Paul DiGiovanni and Kevin Bard) and Justin Moore Somebody Else Will (with Kelly Archer and Tebey Ottoh), came after he lost his first publishing deal.
Adam, might we see a Monster Outbreak Tour of your own soon?
I am still in the process of opening shows, trying to get my music exposed to more people. This time of year, getting to see artist friends like here at Stagecoach, I’m pumped to get out there. These big festivals do it right. There’s great hospitality and people show up excited, because they know it’s a quality show. So excited to get to be on the bill — hopefully we can match Lindsay’s trajectory.
Hambrick grew up in Corinth, Mississippi, where his dad was a Baptist pastor and his mom played the piano in the church. Country music, 90s style, would become the foundation for his love of songs — Mark Chesnutt, Joe Diffie, Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks. However it was John Mayer who has had the greatest impact on him.
Like Lindsay, John Mayer has had a great influence on your career — what stands out about his songwriting that resonates with so many singer/songwriters?
John Mayer said something on Instagram, get small and make music. He was talking about not worrying about the periphery — all the awards, wherever the song ends up going, or the results of what you do when you put out the song. Be honest and be yourself. That’s something he’s done from the beginning. That’s why I connect to it. He’s writing my story.
You majored in Mass Communications at the University of Central Arkansas—how has it helped prepare you for your career?
Lets me wear a lot of hats in my own operation. I can have input, not just the music and visuals. I know how some of that stuff is supposed to go. I feel like it really prepared me to do a lot of things.
Rockin’ All Night Long— your debut single — is an ode to how late nights change when you go from your teens to being a father — how has your daughter Gracie brought a new balance to your life?
She motivates me because she’s going to go to college and one day get married — I got to get them dollars.
What else motivates your career?
One of my motivations for doing this, and taking the artist route — I grew up not getting to see a lot of people really strive for greatness. That’s the nature of small towns. People end up — “this is good enough.” I’ve got no knocks on that. I want my daughter to grow up with the mindset that she can do anything. Anything is possible. That’s one of my motivations.
How do you balance being away from home?
It’s hard to balance, excruciating — I’m really excited about it, but the traveling is the hardest part of it. We have a great community and friends that help us a lot. My wife is a physician’s assistant, in the medical field, a real deal human being.
Does Gracie know what daddy does?
She’s starting to know what daddy does-she likes coming on stage. She got to come to a show — beforehand she saw Lauren Alaina wearing pink sequins and ran up to her, Lauren was so sweet with her, and Gracie was mesmerized. So she gets little glimpses.
Craziest thing to happen on tour?
Being a huge basketball fan — I found myself in the right place at right time. I was on tour with Brett Young, and one night, in Los Angeles, I’m walking back into the dressing room — I hear Brett’s dad saying “you want to come to the Staples Center for a shoot around?” For a shoot around after LeBron dropped 40 points? And it’s all a byproduct from people recognizing you.
We all have songs that connect us to memories. What are some of yours?
A song that snaps me back, “I Wish You Were Here,” by Incubus. After high school I took a trip to the beach, left Mississippi, and we spent a week down there. That was the song, cranked it, and any time I hear it, it takes me back.
Is there anything in particular that you’d like people to take away from listening to your music?
I hope people walk away from my music with a sense of hope and optimism in the heartbreaking/optimistic silver lining. In the meantime, the other songs are love songs, they are uplifting and I want people having felt something. That’s the kind of music I love. There’s a great place for ‘drinks in the air,’ but I don’t write those songs. I’m more about moving people and enjoying themselves.
Any pre-performance rituals?
I say a prayer and take a shot. Pregame, it’s Maker’s Mark. I’m not a get hammered kind of guy — two drinks and loose.
When you’re not performing what do you like to do?
I love sports — Arkansas Razorbacks sports junkie, Dallas Cowboys, St. Louis Cardinals, kind of all over the place. I love to play golf with my dad and basketball. I like to be home. Most of my time now I’m chasing the kiddo or getting ready for the baby due in July.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Nashville has this cliche, ‘just be yourself.’ There’s a lot of truth to that. To me, that means digging deep, try not to worry about all that external stuff. Tell the best story and write the best song.
What’s your best takeaway tour memory to date?
Your message for fans?
I think that when people get to know me, and become familiar with my story and my music, they’ll see if there’s something they want to do and love, that they can. There’s kind of nothing to it — but to do it. I mean that deeply, not as a cliche. Eight years ago I was writing songs, on my couch, and Justin Moore found me. It was a lucky break, but it’s a break that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been trying on some level. Anything is possible.
(Side note: After watching his friend Kris Allen win American Idol, Hambrick was motivated to start recording his own songs. He was appearing on Little Rock TV station KATV’s Good Morning Arkansas to promote his first self-released album, Fighting From The Ground, and a local club show. Justin Moore saw Hambrick and called his own producer, Jeremy Stover (Jack Ingram, Drake White), and recommended him. Within days, Hambrick had a meeting in Nashville and started visiting regularly to write songs. He would sign his first publishing deal 18 months later.)
If you were granted one wish, what would you ask for?
(Editor’s note: A bandanna is an essential item at Stagecoach when the dust and dirt are blowing.)
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