Here’s the story so far, I was actually born Adam Couldwell, in Leeds, in 1981. I grew up listening to country music and after I got a guitar for my seventh birthday, I spent the rest of my childhood trying to write my own country songs. From about the age of ten, I started to perform in northern working men’s clubs. For those of you that haven’t experienced the joy, just watch Peter Kay’s ‘Phoenix Nights’, it’s spot on! At 15 I recorded an album of original songs and it was that album that gave me that foot in the door they always tell you about. I was nominated for three British Country Music awards, winning ‘Best Newcomer’. British country radio gave me ‘Best Album’ and my faithful home county of Yorkshire honoured me with a ‘Yorkshire Young Achiever’ award. However the highlight, as a country music fan, was when I got to sing at ‘The Grand Ole Opre’ in Nashville… I can still smell the dust on that stage.
Sign Me Up
I signed a publishing deal with Nashville based Acuff Rose when I was sixteen and went on to sign a recording contract with the UK independent, Gut Records. Both of these companies opened the door for me and I started to collaborate with other writers, something I’d never done up until that point. It was definitely a learning curve. There’s a big difference between just writing by yourself and writing with other people with different opinions and styles and ways of writing. After learning the craft and building up a catalogue of songs, in 2003 I signed a joint venture publishing deal with Kevin Clark and independent publisher, Peer Music, it wasn’t until then that I started writing songs for other artists.
Writing for other people was something I’d never really considered before but once I started, I was consumed by it. I love music - all kinds of music. As an artist you have to find a style/sound and you can’t really veer off too much from that. However, when I started working on different artists I was able to write all different kinds of genres. It was, and still is hugely satisfying. One thing I didn’t expect to happen was the focus it gave me when I came back to writing for my own stuff and in 2006, under the management of Kevin Clark and Anthony Randall, I signed a recording contract with Geffen Records in the US. Once again, my professional world was expanded and I was introduced to more writers, producers and musicians all over the world.
Time To Write
2008 was the year I realised that I no longer had the passion for being an artist that I once had and so I decided to concentrate on being a song writer. This was, after all, the part of being an artist I most enjoyed. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of writing with people like Newton Faulkner and Charlotte O’Connor in their development stage; artists like Tawiah and Olly Murs after they were signed and getting an album together; and then people like Will Young, Pixi Lott and Melanie C who are established in the music industry. Every session is unique, every personality bringing something new and every song, while often written in different ways, is written with the sole aim of emotionally connecting with the people that listen. It’s definitely not always plain sailing but has to be one of the best jobs in the world.
I continue to look for new projects to get involved in every day and am always amazed at the amount of talented people there are out there. It’s so important to me to keep trying to improve and constantly raise the bar. Today, production has become a huge part of being a songwriter and while I’m thankful of the new opportunities, I feel it’s important to differentiate the two. A good song and a good production are two separate things, at a time when music has become something people expect for free, I think it’s so important to try and convince them that music is worth more…. I reckon it all starts with good song.