For a songwriter, a No. 1 hit is a big payday, even if you're sharing royalties. For a young songwriter — like "Ain't Worth the Whiskey" cowriter Adam Sanders — it's easy to imagine that bit of money going out as quickly as it came it.

But Sanders isn't slowing down to celebrate, and he's certainly not about to buy an expensive new toy. You'll find the Floridian even more focused on his craft these days. His course has changed slightly as he begins to write more for himself and less for the Cole Swindell and Chase Rices of the world.

"You gotta kind of look at it like you're going to get one shot at this thing, probably," he says. "Whatever it takes, whether it's calculated risk or chances ... you just gotta go off of what your gut says, be who you are and not try to change anything up drastically, but working hard and sticking your neck out there is all part of it."

Sanders — who has also penned songs for Luke Bryan and Tyler Farr — has been writing with well-known writers like Josh Kear and touring with stars like Gary Allan since last talking to ToC in October. Back then he was promoting his song "Nothing to Do But Drink." He's since started working with producer Mickey Jack Cones, co-writing a song called "Somewhere That You Don't Go" that is heads and tails better than his debut, from a production standpoint.

However Sanders is still a new artist, little-known outside of Swindell's fanbase and a few others. His mind never quits working, forever turning over decisions about his music, his style, whether a cowboy hat should cover his crop of red hair or not.

“For me, I’m always thinking on how to work hard and did I do enough that day,” Sanders says of that time before he drifts off to sleep every night.

He admits that he did splurge a little ... kind of. Fixing up his grandfather's '56 Gibson wasn't cheap. It was in his mom's closet for years, and he stumbled upon it again and has since made it a staple of his live show and songwriting.

"He was a gospel singer back in the day, and he was killed in a car wreck when my mom was three or four years old," Sanders says. "As a kid, I didn't know much about guitars and it was in rough shape and ... I just thought it was a junk guitar."

"I'd been looking for a guitar you couldn't just buy off the shelf somewhere," he adds. "And for it to be right under my nose in a closet for all of those years and for me to not really know anything about it ... it's something pretty special."

Beyond that, you won't find him splurging much unless it helps his career. "I'm of the mindset that anything I get, to pump it back into the process," Sanders says. "Putting it back into the artist thing."

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