In his new single “Ruled the World,” rising singer-songwriter Adam Sanders brings up a universal proposition: What would we do if we were actually in charge of everything? Sanders gives his own take on this fantastic notion in the single that’s gaining steam across the country. And his proposals would make him a popular figure in most states, with lines like, “If I ruled the world, you could deer hunt 365 all night and all day,” or “I’d make a law that the local law couldn’t break up a party ’til three.”
That’s a platform we could all get on board with.
Sanders tells “Sports & Entertainment Nashville” that the song, written with Hunter Phelps, Chris LaCorte and the tune’s producer Zach Crowell, took its time to evolve. “The day we started writing the song, we were actually supposed to be writing for Dustin Lynch,” Sanders begins. “Zach comes into the writing room and says he knew of this old rap song that sort of talks about what they would do if they ruled the world. Maybe we should write the country version of that.” The guys were up to the challenge and took off with the premise.
“Maybe 10 minutes into it,” Sanders continues, “somebody said that if he ruled the world, ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ would be our new national anthem. We all died laughing from that line.” The writers ended up not using that line, but the idea pointed them in the right direction – just come up with the most extreme and craziest scenarios their fertile minds could imagine. “It kept evolving into what it is now,” Sanders says. “We realized that it was meant to be an anthem.” The team finished “Ruled the World” but wondered who might be the artist to lay down the track.
Some potential choices were out there. Sanders has written hits for artists like Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Lynch, among others. He scored his first No. 1 single as a writer with Cole Swindell’s “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” and had a second chart-topper with Lynch’s “Hell of a Night.” In light of those credits, Sanders definitely had some connections. However, he came up with a different strategy. He asked Crowell if he could release the song as an independent artist and assemble some of his songwriter friends, including co-writer Phelps, to add vocals. It made perfect sense, as Sanders and Phelps both sing on the song’s scratch demo. The end result features Sanders on lead vocal with contributions from Phelps and six of Sanders’ buddies.
Sanders has also released a fun video for “Ruled the World,” with a cast of legendary co-stars. Tracy Lawrence, Aaron Tippin, and Marty Raybon and Mike McGuire of Shenandoah all appear in the video, which was shot in two locations around Nashville. Sanders personally made all the contacts to round up these country icons, and he had a ball doing it. “I started thinking of the video,” Sanders recalls. “I went through a short list of artists on my phone and several names came up. So, I thought, what if we could somehow get them in the video? I called around and everybody said ‘yes.’ Actually, we came close to getting Charlie Daniels in the video but he had a scheduling conflict.” Sanders adds, “It was so much fun to get these guys in there. As a kid, I loved their music and they all support me as a new guy. I grew up on their music and they are why I’m here today.”
Sanders moved to Nashville in 2009 to pursue his dream of becoming an artist. Growing up in Florida, Sanders listened to the country artists who ruled the airwaves in the 1990s, and he lists Alan Jackson as his all-time favorite. Singing was Sanders’ first love but his dad suggested that Sanders also take up songwriting, as many artists wrote their own material. “Me and my dad wrote my first song when I was pretty young,” Sanders smiles. “He said this could be my way into the music industry one day and he was right.”
His songwriting ability provided some early momentum, and those two No. 1 cuts definitely helped pay the bills. “I owe everything I got early on in my career to my songwriting and I am so grateful for that,” Sanders notes with a smile. “Songwriting paved the way for my artist career, no doubt about it.”
Sanders has his sights on some specific goals for the coming months. “I have some songs I would like to release later this year,” he says. “I would love to put out an album but it’s kind of a different time because of the way purchase music now. I think I have found a way to do one that makes sense.”
More live performances are also in the works. Over the past few years, Sanders has opened for Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Dustin Lynch and other stars. But now, he’s ready for his own shows. “Our goal is to do about 8 or 10 festivals this summer,” Sanders explains. “And maybe do about 18 or 20 headlining shows in the fall at clubs with a full band. I’ve always been the opening act, but with headlining shows, people can see me in a different light.”
Adam Sanders’ single “Ruled the World” is available now. For more on Sanders, please visit his website and follow him on social media.