Artist: Adam Wright
Hometown: Newnan, Georgia / Nashville, Tennessee
Latest Album: Dust
What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc — inform your music?
Whatever I’m reading at the moment usually has some impact on what I’m writing. Especially if it’s a writer that is new to me. If it’s good, it’ll spark a lot of little ideas. They’re not usually directly related to the book, but it will just get the ideas coming. Reading good writing is good for creativity. I don’t feel the same about movies. I enjoy them, but they don’t spark ideas for me the way reading does.
What’s the toughest time you ever had writing a song?
It’s really fun to work hard on a song you know is going to be good. And it’s not hard work to write a bad song that you know is bad. The real drudgery is working on a mediocre song. You have to use all your tools as though you were writing something good, but they don’t work the same and you know the result is going to be lackluster. It’s draining. I try not to get into that situation. I don’t like to settle in to the work unless I think I can land something worthwhile. Sometimes in a co-write you don’t have that luxury. You just have to push on and get it done.
If you had to write a mission statement for your career, what would it be?
I want to have contributed to the elevation of the art of songwriting. I want to entertain people. I want to be the best singer-songwriter I can possibly be. And I also want to make a decent living. Because without the means, you can’t give it everything you’ve got. And being your best means giving it everything you’ve got.
Since food and music go so well together, what is your dream pairing of a meal and a musician?
Mexican food, particularly huevos rancheros, is kind of a hobby of mine. There is a place close to where we live that plays great Mexican music. A lot of ’60s Latin pop. Some Mariachi. It’s always good. You’d have to work pretty hard at it to not feel good when you’re eating that food and hearing that music. We went to a newer Mexican place for my birthday not long ago, and it had marble floors and chandeliers and they were playing the shiniest, slickest, newest, American pop music. The food was good but the vibe was so wrong that it ruined the experience. We all ate as fast as we could and got out.
How often do you hide behind a character in a song or use “you” when it’s actually “me”?
I write quite a bit in character. It’s a lot more fun for me. I’ve never been much of a “confessional” songwriter. I’m much more interested in what someone else might do in a situation. I like to tell stories. I like to drop in on a particular moment in the life of a character and write there. Some of my favorite songwriters do that. And not just folk-song writers. Chuck Berry was a fantastic storyteller. And he made it rock and roll. Even as a kid when I listened to his songs, I didn’t have the impression that he was singing about his life. I had the impression that he was a clever writer and he was entertaining me. “Born To Dream” is probably the only song on the new album that is written from my perspective. And “The Banker,” I guess, but it’s not really about me. Shannon, my wife, says “Born To Dream” is the most Adam song on there.
Photo credit: Bret Pemelton