Adam Doleac was never one of those kids that was singing and paying guitar when was 6 years old. Instead, he was playing every sport imaginable. When he eventually turned his attention to baseball during his senior year of high school, it led him to a scholarship at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he was a star player—even playing in the 2009 College World Series.
Music came later in Doleac’s life when he started playing around with his roommates’ guitar. “I would just kind of pick their guitar up when they’d leave the house and actually wrote some of my first songs,” says Doleac, who admits he does love playing drums—his father and brother also play. “I’ve always been around music and loved it, but never got into it. I never had an idea that I could sing until the end of college. Then, I ended up moving to Nashville two years later.”
By October 2019, Doleac signed a new global publishing deal with Sony/ATV and just released his debut EP, Famous.
Now in Nashville for more than seven years, Doleac has already cut tracks for Darius Rucker and Hootie & the Blowfish, Gabby Barrett, and Kane Brown. Track by track has been another rung in Doleac’s career, kicking off with “Whiskey’s Fine” and latest single “Famous”—the video even featuring “The Bachelor” stars Colton Underwood and Cassie Randolph.
Featuring some old and new tracks, Famous is Doleac’s curated collection of six tracks, mixing in some R & B and pop elements, from previously released “Whiskey’s Fine” and “Bigger Than Us” to the more heartfelt balladry of “SOLO” and “Neon Fools,” and the album’s title track.
New to Famous, “I Choose Lonely,” is a fan favorite he’s already been playing live over the past year and was written during the early part of his relationship with his girlfriend of three years. “Towards the beginning, it was just me saying if this person isn’t right, then I quit,” says Doleac. “The hook is if it ain’t you, maybe I choose lonely.”
Growing up in Hattiesburg, MI, Doleac says there’s this timeline in Southern culture—married by 25 and kids by 27—a life trajectory that just never worked out for him.
“There’s kind of an outline of an age when things are supposed to happen, and I kept passing these and having these these relationships that I thought were going to work out,” he says. “It sounds a bit sad, but it’s actually an uptempo love song.”
“Mom and Daddy’s Money,” is a song Doleac says always connected with people, so when Sony gave him the option to use his previous version or re-record it, he went with the latter. “The new recording sounds so great,” says Doleac. “It makes you feel the song so much more.”
Feelings and emotions tend to lead Doleac’s writing process, something he believes gives a song more longevity. “I’ve found that if you write about the way that this person or this thing makes you feel, the songs, they’re able to change meanings over the years,” says Doleac. “You’re able to be reminded of the song or that place by, by something you’re doing now and not just this one moment at a time. So a lot of these tracks still resonate with me, and that’s a big reason these songs stick around.”
Songs are typically written the day of or as soon as an idea comes up jumps into his head. Then, he’ll listen to the song hundreds of times before he decides to put it out in the world.
“I’ve had a couple of songs pop out in an hour that ended up really great, and then it’s taken me literally the entire day to get something out, so you just never really know how quickly or how long it will take,” says Doleac. “I’m a big idea person. If I love the idea of the song then I will grind it out until I figure it out.”
Country fans are ultimately Doleac’s litmus test. If the song doesn’t connect to them, he’ll know right away. “Being an artist, our only real bosses are country fans, so you kind of have to bounce these songs off the fans,” says Doleac. “The unfortunate truth is, fans don’t have the ability to be wrong. You can be mad at them for not liking your work, but the truth is if they don’t like it, it’s not going to do well.”
To stay connected to fans, Doleac has been holding pre-show hang outs with fans. His “15 Minutes of Famous” VIP sessions give him the opportunity to hang out and talk before a show. The sessions actually run for around a half hour, but Doleac jokes that “30 Minutes of Famous” didn’t have the same ring to it.
“The fans have always been a huge motivating factor for me and this whole whole music journey, and I love getting to interact with them,” says Doleac, who doesn’t like doing the typical meet and greets of walking in, taking a picture, saying “hello, nice to meet you,” and then moving to the next person. Instead, a mini concert of three or four songs—anything from something he’s written or something unreleased—with some questions and conversation round out pre-show sessions.
“I just thought it would be cooler if we actually got to hang out with our fans, especially in the early part of my career where you can still be a bit more accessible,” says Doleac. “I think it’s this part of the career that people really remember you, your real true fans really remember it and they stick by you.”
Gaining his fans was something that happened organically for Doleac. He jokes that working his way up in sports always moved faster for him than making music in Nashville.
“Nashville was the first thing that really took the amount of time that’s advertised,” says Doleac. “It can take five or 10 years before anybody even knows who you are. You get told ‘no’ a lot, which is totally fine. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
Doleac remembers being turned down after playing a label show. After his performance, a Sony ATV publisher was also in the audience, came up to him and requested a meeting. Doleac ended up signing with them shortly afterwards.
“It’s okay if people are telling you ‘no,’ as long as there are those yeses to be found,” says Doleac. “That’s kind of the name of the game.”
Overall, Doleac feels fortunate and is happy with the way his Nashville journey played out. It took him seven years to get a record deal, but part of it was because he was actually turning deals down and started releasing music independently and playing hundreds of shows.
“There were days when I was obviously like, ‘man, why don’t I have a record deal yet?’” says Doleac. “Looking back and seeing how it all happened now, I’m really grateful it happened the way that it did.”
It’s been a crazy journey, but Doleac wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I think that’s what I’ve been after the whole time,” he says. “You just have this vision and you just kind of work towards it and it just kind of falls into place—even with those nos.”