by Lisa Fischer
UCA grad Adam Hambrick releases debut single
As a kid, Adam Hambrick only dreamed of a life as a country singer/songwriter. Never did he think those dreams would come true, but, with a song rising on the country charts faster than the mercury in the South, he is the guy next door who might be the next Keith Urban.
Hambrick says he spent a majority of his life “outside Nashville,” but now he’s a country music insider. Geographically, maybe, but not philosophically. He grew up as the son of a pastor in a church where his mother played the piano.
“We made music,” Hambrick says. “It’s what we did.”
His father now preaches in Arkansas, but much of Hambrick’s youth was spent in Corinth, Miss. His songwriting started when he wanted to get the attention of a girl in junior high. Whereas kids today Snapchat someone they’re interested in, he wrote songs for the ladies. That first infatuation passed on his kind gestures, but his lyrical gestures helped to develop a love for music and songwriting that is paying his bills today.
“I actually started writing music and playing the guitar to get the girls,” he says. “That’s why all red-blooded men do it.”
Hambrick received a scholarship to attend the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, where he befriended fellow musician/songwriter Kris Allen, who won “American Idol” in 2009. But it wasn’t the reality show winner who got noticed first.
“I have known Kris since college. But the first show Kris ever did was opening for me at (the now closed) Juanita’s,” he says. “I booked the show and this five-foot nothin’ and 100-some-odd pound guy named Kris picked up his guitar and wow, he was great.”
When Allen won the reality show, Hambrick says, “it actually lit a fire in my belly. I never saw anyone achieve that level of accomplishment in music or entertainment. I didn’t think folks like me, where I come from, could do that.”
His newfound ambition propelled him east. He and his bride relocated to the capital of country music in 2013 so that he could become a better writer. He had to make the jump from being a young, newly-married worship leader at New Life Church in Conway with a comfortable life to the uber-competitive life of a singer/songwriter in Nashville.
“I’ll never be the smartest dude in the room, but I work and do my best with projects that are interesting and fun,” he says. “Most of the things that have happened to me is when I’m doing my thing, and someone comes along and says, ‘that’s cool.’”
Justin Moore, a singer from Poyen, Ark., who won “New Artist of the Year” at the 2014 Academy of Country Music Awards, saw Hambrick on Little Rock television station KATV’s “Good Morning Arkansas” and reached out to him via his producer. He wrote “Somebody Else Will” for Moore and co-wrote “How Not To,” a song recorded by country music duo Dan + Shay for their second studio album, “Obsessed.” Both songs, released in 2016, were No. 1 singles.
Now, the Capitol Records artist is warming hearts with his debut single, “Rockin’ All Night Long,” which describes the changes in his lifestyle when he became a father and swapped partying late into the night for rocking to sleep his then-infant, Gracie.
“Now it’s 2 a.m.
and I’m in a rocking chair, rose pink everywhere.
She’s got her mama smile and a nose like her dad.
She’s the best reason I’ve ever had
For bloodshot eyes watch the
sunrise, sleep when you die, phase of life.”
Gracie, now three, is awaiting the arrival of a baby sister, Heidi, who is due at any moment. His wife, Merritt, a Fort Smith native, has been thankful for the family and friends who help since Hambrick travels so much.
He says about his latest hit, “Even if it doesn’t go to number one, I will always be proud of this song.”
Hambrick isn’t the proverbial rebellious preacher’s kid. He’s humble and has a strong faith in the Lord.
“My spiritual life is great. I am learning to trust more. We have a great church home in Nashville. But I let God write my story. He gave me the tools, and he’s taking me where he needs to take me.”
And Arkansas can’t wait to read the next chapter.