Interview: Adam Mac talks ‘Country Proud’, being accepted in Country Music, bringing a new sound to country with his album ‘Disco Cowboy’ and more!

Adam Mac is a singer/songwriter from Russellville, KY who is bringing something different to country music.

As a lover of music, words and poetry it wasn’t until his best childhood friend sadly passed at
18 that he learned the power of songwriting. Shortly after that, he moved to Nashville to learn more and explore his passion and craft.

Mac has reached much success over the years.
The music video for fan-favorite track “Disco Cowboy” premiered exclusively with CMT and went on to take the No. 1 spot on CMT’s 12 Pack Countdown for 4 weeks.

Additional releases include;
New Vibration and Take Myself Home which both earned high praise from People Country.

Mac’s success continued when he went viral on TikTok with a snippet of his unreleased
song Boy Like Me. The emotional tribute to his mom received over 200K views in less than 24

With his rural Kentucky roots blended with grit, soul and blues Mac has created a unique sound that he can proudly boast as his own.

Adam’s album Disco Cowboy is out May 19th.

We caught up with Adam to discuss his music, his recent awareness show Country Proud, finding a place in Country Music and much more!

Hi Adam – How are you?

I have been soooo great!!! Busy as ever but no complaints here!! Booked and blessed!! Haha

How has your week been?

It was the most magical weekend of my life, honestly.

You were a part of Country Proud at the CMHOF recently which looked really exciting! Please can you tell us a bit more about the organisation and the overall mission?

Absolutely! It was truly a core memory for me. I got to play at the hall of fame, my mom got to come down from Kentucky and I sang a song off my new album that I wrote for her called Boy Like Me and it was such a special moment.
I’m so thankful for my friends Jamie and Emily Dryburgh. The hardest working twins in Nashville! They founded Country Proud, which is an organization designed to uplift and empower queer voices in country music.

These ladies have busted their asses to create spaces for all of the up and coming lgbt+ artists in Nashville’s country scene. Last year we partnered with CMA to curate the first ever lgbt+ music activation at a major country music festival in American history. These girls are kicking down doors with us and I could not be more thankful for them.

I was going to say that it’s wonderful that country music is becoming more diverse and more accepting, which I think it is in many ways but it’s taken a long time. The amount of love and support for TJ Osborne for example was emotionally beautiful and he has hopefully paved the way for many artists.

But that being said, there is still such a long way to go and I feel in a way it’s going backwards. There seems to be a lot of scary things happening in Tennessee at the moment. The shooting first. I hope that you don’t mind if I bring up the Drag Ban? It’s very strange to us here in the UK. Kids grow up with Pantomimes here(the only acceptable form of drag for kids). In almost every, if not all Pantomimes, there is a male actor dressed as the main female character (who would be classed as a Drag Queen by many) who takes one of the lead roles and is basically the hype person of the pantomimes. Pantomimes are often a Christmas tradition for families and it’s very much an audience participation show with kids shouting things like “he’s behind you”. If we were to have a Drag ban in the UK then this would mean that these very much loved events would cease to exist. What I don’t understand is that surely anything age inappropriate would be age restricted anyway (I hope so) as films are, some concerts even.

It’s a really scary time to be a Tennessean. We are seeing so much of our progress being undone in the blink of an eye. The law has fortunately been blocked and postponed from taking effect on April 1st but the fight is far from over. We have also had a terribly tragic school shooting in our town the past week so we have not only been fighting for our human rights to live and express ourselves the way we want, but we’ve been protesting and fighting for common sense gun reform! It’s so wild to me that before the shooting the law makers labeled the drag queens as a threat to our children and weeks later an unstable person with an assault weapon literally kills 3 kids. So what’s the actual threat here? It sometimes feels like one step forward and two steps back here in Tennessee, but we will never stop fighting for our right to live out loud and our children’s right to live and go to school in a safe place.

Did you face any challenges moving to Nashville and making a career out of country music where, as I mentioned above, it’s not exactly had a good history of being that accepting to anyone the industry deemed different and I don’t just mean personally but musically too.

Absolutely. I moved to town nearly 11 years ago. The landscape in country music was wayyyy more heterosexual and Caucasian. There really was no diversity, hell there were only about 2 women that could break into the top 40 at that time, so I certainly didn’t see how I fit into the equation.

You mentioned TJ coming out and honestly it has only been in the past couple of years that I have really felt a shift in the industry to be more inclusive. I’ve gotten far more opportunities presented to me than I ever have before and I attribute that to people like my friends Jamie and Emily, and TJ Osborne and countless other lgbt+ artists pushing this genre forward. I am just glad that there are queer artists that young queer people can see in country music. Because it would have been so impactful for me growing up to see that it was possible. That someone like me could be whatever I wanted to be, even if that was a country music singer.

You are bringing in a new sound to country music which is exciting – how would you describe your sound to a new listener?

I try not to limit myself on what inspires me and what sounds influence my music. I have a deep love for funk and Motown music, that I really dove into during the pandemic in 2020, which was when I started writing my new record.

I just needed some music that gave me joy and took me out of the uncertainty of the world. So I infused that joy into the music I was writing. My new album is a double album called Disco Cowboy. Side A is aptly titled The Disco and Side B, The Cowboy. The disco side is what I like to refer to as “Funktry.” It’s got horns and groovy bass lines and you just can’t help but dance to it. The Cowboy side is more of a stripped back sound inspired by my home state of Kentucky. It tells stories from the queer perspective, growing up in the south. I wanted it to be as country as possible while still telling my story and what it was like to be an lgbt+ person in the Bible Belt. I did a lot of deconstructing and trauma healing with these songs.

Can you tell us a little bit more about who you played with on Country Proud?

It was such a full circle moment for me. I found myself holding back tears basically the entire performance because for me, 8 years ago when I was trying to find my place in town I was super fans of two of the artists I now call sisters, Shelly Fairchild and Sonia Leigh. Those ladies are truly trailblazers in this town. They were living out loud even if it cost them their careers. Sonia has written number 1 hits for Zac Brown Band and is an incredibly unique artist in her own right and I’m just such a fan. I was obsessed with Shelly’s Buffalo album, that’s how I first fell in love with her music. Then probably 5 years ago, we played a Human Rights Campaign event together and I got to meet her backstage and we were like magnets to each other. She was just as silly and weird as I was and we connected over her slapping some glitter on my cheekbones, and we’ve been sisters ever since!!!
AngieK I had never met before but, let me tell you, I was absolutely floored. Her stories, her voice, her guitar playing. It sent me to another universe. Please do yourselves a favor and go add her entire catalogue to your Spotify playlists right this instant!!!

What songs did you perform? Did you play any new songs?

Like I mentioned, I played a new song on my album called Boy Like Me. It’s really a love letter to my mom for never dimming my light and always letting me be over the top even as a little kid. I actually posted it on tiktok recently and it became my first viral video which was so sweet because there were so many parents (both moms and dads) commenting on it telling their stories of loving their lgbt+ children, saying things like “I’ve got a boy like you and I wouldn’t trade him for the world” It’s been beautiful!!! The other song I sang is also on my new album. It’s called The One That Got Away, a song I wrote about imagining what my life would have been like had I stayed in small town Russellville Kentucky and never moved to Nashville, never came out as gay, and pretended to live a heterosexual life trapped in the closet. Luckily I didn’t, I was the one that got away 😉

Have you had loads of positive stories from fans after they have heard Take Myself Home?

I have had so much love for all my new songs and sound, more so for the title track Disco Cowboy, which is a self love anthem I put out last year. I’ve had so many people tell me how they connect with the song and how it’s given them the confidence to go out into the world and live out and proud. The power of music is just beautiful.

Have you any new songs that you are excited for fans to hear soon and if so, can we have any hints?

I have a brand new song coming out on April 14th which will be my first ever duet with my friend and co collaborator Jenna Devries. It’s called Chapel and we’re calling it a queer revival!! It’s our take on a Bonnie & Clyde love tragedy told from the perspective of two queer people. We shot the video outside of Chattanooga at a 200 year old chapel on the river. It turned out so freakin cool and I can’t wait for everyone to see it!!!!!

Do you think that you will ever come over and do some shows in the UK?

It’s my ultimate dreaaaammm!!! If I do, can you give me the full UK experience??

Have you ever been? If so, where?

I’ve never been but I’m dyingggg to come!!! Let’s manifest that for this year!!!!

What venues and countries are on your bucket list to play?

I think the top of my list has to be the Grand Ole Opry. That would be a core memory for sure. Also I would love to play Red Rocks in Colorado, my heart lives in the west, I’ve always been in love with the desert and Red Rocks is just a spiritual place.

What are your favourite places to hang out at in Nashville?

My number one hangout spot in Nashville is one of the last remaining lesbian bars in America. It’s called Lipstick Lounge and it’s been my home bar for the past decade since I moved to town. The owner Jonda has become a great friend to me and they actually let me shoot my music video for Take Myself Home in Lipstick which was so special to me.

What have you planned for the rest of the year?

Tying up the loose ends on this album that will come out this summer and gearing up to start touring all the new music. It’s going to be the most epic summer ever!!!!!

Thank you so much for your time and hopefully see you in the UK one day?


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