Adam Craig’s recent successes, both as a songwriter and an artist, are a testament to determination and the strong love of a good family. He’s also another example of why Nashville is famously called a “Ten-Year Town.”
He moved to Nashville in 2004. Six years later, Craig got his first bit of success—Jason Aldean, included Craig’s song “Church Pew or Bar Stool” on an album. The cut led Craig to a publishing deal with Sony/ATV.
“I remember when I signed that publishing deal, they put you with every writer in town and you write 150 or 200 songs a year for the next three years,” he told MusicRow during a recent visit.
Craig was putting in hours and the creativity, but couldn’t get any songs recorded by major artists. Finally, during a visit to his family’s home in Washington over the holidays in 2013, he told his mother he was considering quitting music.
“I said, ‘Maybe this isn’t in the cards. Maybe I’m not supposed to be doing this. I’m seeing people who have moved to town have success just instantly.’ She had this stoic look on her face and she said, ‘You’ve been given a gift and it’s your responsibility to share it with as many people as possible. So get your butt back to Nashville, work harder, smile, and do the damn thing.’”
Craig took her advice and made the trip back to Music City to make one more big attempt. 2014 officially marked his 10th year in town.
“That first week, my publisher calls and it’s like, ‘Jason Aldean just cut another song and Dustin Lynch and a few indies.’ It was a good first week. The next week, I get another call—Montgomery Gentry, Love and Theft, Swon Brothers, Parmalee, they’re all cutting my songs. I got like 20 cuts in January 2014.”
His biggest hit was yet to come, when Parmalee released “Close Your Eyes” to country radio; the track would reach the Top 3.
“I was talking to Ash Bowers, who I used to play guitar for. He used to be on Broken Bow Records, and he suggested we set up a meeting to go over to Broken Bow, just to say hello and thank them for releasing the song. Benny [Brown] was the head of the label at the time.”
He went and met with the label staff. “I remember Benny looked at me and said, ‘Well, obviously I like your songs. Can you sing?’ So I did three songs, not knowing if I was pitching songs to his artists or if I was pitching myself as an artist.”
One week later, he had a deal with Broken Bow Records.
“I had almost quit months earlier, and last year, I had my first Top 40,” he marvels. His latest single, “If You’re Lucky,” was penned by Jessi Alexander and Chase McGill.
“I was blown away that these two writers that I had never really hung out with could write a song that hit me so hard and sounded like a song that was written about Washington and the crazy, stupid stuff I did growing up there.”
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