“It shook me to the core when I heard it for the first time…I think I almost cried”
J Adam Broome shares about Brantley Gilbert’s “Three Feet of Water,” an ode to the baptismal waters and God’s saving grace.
Gilbert and Broome share some things in common. Apart from the “you look like Brantley Gilbert” remark he often gets, — and let’s be honest, there is spitting resemblance between the two — it was also Gilbert’s piano-driven cut that was the inspirational catalyst for his new single, “Let It Rain.”
If the saying “been through hell and back” can be translated to a song, this would be a very fitting one. Not long ago, Broome had “wandered far from the place (he’s) supposed to be” and “squandered off amazing grace.” The constant storms that pervaded every aspect of his life didn’t make things any easier for the 32-year-old to shoulder. In the process/whirlwinds of those struggles, he “missed the signs and wrecked (himself) on the highway to hell.”
A vulnerable, desperate plea to God resulted after rehab: “Let It Rain”.
#CMchat spoke to the Greensville, SC native over the phone last week about the new single (his first release after rehab), life as an independent act, personal struggles and the saving grace of God that pulled him out of the pit-hole he fell deep into. If you missed church last Sunday, we got you covered with this piece.
Who is “J Adam Broome”
“I grew up in a farm, in a town in South Carolina. I started playing guitar in church as a teenager, (which is) kinda cliché since that’s where a lot of country singer-songwriters get their start. I was just kinda forced into the industry by accident. My buddy booked an acoustic gig for me one day at a little dive bar in my hometown that I didn’t really even know about. But I went to play the show, and it was like everybody that I had ever known in my whole entire life showed up to support me and I just had a blast. So I just kinda started doing that. And a couple years later, things started to take off, though nothing major though. I started learning how to write songs (too). I’ve always been a writer. I was an English major. But I never really thought about writing songs until a few years ago when I started writing with some buddies and connecting with people in Nashville.”
Why Country Music?
“It’s just where I landed, where I’m from, and what I was raised on. I’m actually kinda rebranding myself over the past year to try and reach different audiences but at the same time, keep the ones that I already have and hopefully keep connecting with them as well.”
Who were your influences growing up?
“I guess one of my biggest ones, when I was young, was Tim McGraw. I remember riding my papa’s truck around the farm listening to stuff like “Meet in the Middle” by Diamond Rio and “Dust On The Bottle” (by David Lee Murphy) too. If I had to pick a certain era of country music, it would certainly be the 90s, because that was when I was growing up through elementary school and middle school and all. I think that was when music really connected with me personally. And even Shania Twain man. As far as growing up, that was really when I got hooked on country music. But now, I mean, I love anybody from Usher to Sam Hunt. Even when we played shows with my band, we would try to cater to the crowd and play like Backstreet Boys, Lil Wayne and of course the country and 90s stuff.”
Who are you first- a singer or songwriter?
“I would definitely have to say a songwriter, no doubt. I don’t consider myself a great vocalist, but I take pride in my writing! And as far as songwriting goes, Sean McConnell is one of my biggest influences.”
One country song, not of yours, that describes your life in a nutshell?
“This song had a huge role in this single that I’m about to release. “Three Feet of Water” by Brantley Gilbert. It shook me to the core when I heard it for the first time. It’s super acoustic, piano-led. That was I think about his journey and when I first heard it, I literally almost cried.”
You were a regular in the Marine Corp before pursuing this career. What made you want to sign on initially, and how did you eventually decide on this path?
“Yeah I was in the Marine Corps for six years. There’s really no correlation. I kinda went to college (on a basketball scholarship) and dropped out, and had no direction in life really. I signed up for the Marine Corps. And the transition from that to music? It wasn’t intentional whatsoever. I started doing music while I was there in the reserve, I think in the last 2 years I served. It was just something I turned to. I was going through a lot personally and it was just something that I had, and really, I think I found my identity in it.”
What has been your biggest struggle in this industry?
“I think the biggest struggle I’d say was putting too much into it. At the end of the day, as much as I love music and doing it, there’s a lot of pressure that comes with being an artist. Even with my case, I’m not even doing it full time now. But still, I have to catch myself and make sure I don’t put pressure to perform. To an extent, when I was traveling with my band and we started rising and getting our name out there, my biggest struggle was taking it way too seriously- which was a blessing and a curse. And obviously, it’s not a good thing for me, like I had a lot of problems back then. A lot of times I would have way too much fun… (laughs) It’s a struggle all the way around, but you just got to keep a healthy balance.”
Your definition of country music?
“REAL. One thing I love about country music is that it’s real.”
Dream venue to perform at one day?
“Honestly, it’d probably an arena in my hometown in Greenville, SC!”
“Let It Rain”. The new single. What’s the whole backstory behind that song? Did you write it by yourself?
“I did. I wrote it completely by myself. There’s actually a crazy backstory behind it. April 4th of last year, I checked myself into rehab and was at probably the lowest point in my life. That was when I stepped away from music. I hadn’t released a song in a year and a half now. I just kinda disappeared for a while because I had to get some personal things straight in my life. I was at the point where I didn’t even want to pick up the guitar, I didn’t want to write a song ever again, and I didn’t really care about singing. But I’m the kinda guy who needs to get things out. I have to write, even if it’s not a song. I need to get things down on paper. I guess (with) going that long without writing, something just went wrong inside me and I just had to get it out. I had the words (to “Let It Rain”) in my head, and I just started writing it about six weeks later. Personally, for me as a songwriter, I can spend 30 minutes on a song and it can be great, or I can spend 30 days on a song that could finally come together. But the ones that really come out quick are usually the best ones because the words are just jumping out of my heart, and that’s the way that happened with this one. It’s definitely the most personal song I have ever written and the one that’s closest to my heart, which is why I decided to release it as a single. (“Rain”) is not only about not running from issues or pain anymore. It’s (also about) just letting the process take its course with healing. Obviously, this song is rooted in my faith in God and it really just covers the whole process now.”
“I don’t need a break, I just need Your grace to break my heart.” That’s my favorite lyric from the song.
“(laughs) I honestly don’t know where that came from! But that’s one of the best taglines in the whole song. Of course, every line is close to me, but that was a pretty clever one. I remember writing it down and wondering where it came from.”
What was the whole idea for the music video?
“I really got it made when it comes to having a team and having a production team. And that was one thing I really prayed hard for because I knew if I were to come back to music, I want to make it the absolute best that I can. I prayed for a long time before I started pursuing this thing again, that God would just surround me with a team of people who would understand my vision and really buy into it. And literally, every prayer that I prayed about came true. I’ve got a photographer and video guy who can kill it.
I had an idea in my mind (for the video) for a while but at the same time, I just came up with some new creative ones with the guys. We literally were able to do whatever we wanted to do, and I had the freedom to put my hand on as much of it as I can. So it’s really been not that hard of a process. I basically knew what I wanted. Even walking into the studio with the production of (the song), which I’ve never been able to do, I already knew what I wanted. So all I really had to do was make it happen.”
More new music?
“I’m almost done tracking for an EP that’s scheduled for release sometime in the fall! I’m in a rebranding phase to re-introduce myself again too, so I feel that “Let It Rain” is a good representation of where I’m headed and who I am now. And I’m actually jumping genres with this release. I’m releasing it in the Christian genre. You know, just as much as (it’s) a marketing scheme than anything else, maybe we can track on the chart there and come out with some new fans. But the EP that I’m releasing in the fall will be back in the country genre and the music will be the same.”
How do you stay close to your faith in all this craziness?
“I grew up in church and my dad was a youth pastor in the church that I grew up in for a while. So I’ve been in church ever since then. But I guess when I was 19 -20 years old, I kinda walked away from my faith completely and just started running, which had a lot to do with the message of “Let It Rain”. But Jesus Christ completely saved me. And I feel like I was chosen to do this, and that God’s already paved the way for me to do whatever He wants me to do.”
Favorite bible verse?
Favorite worship song?
“Hmmm, there’s a song called “Thirsty” (by Chris McClarney). I actually led it yesterday at a church. That’s a go-to song. It’s so powerful.”
Bonus random and fun questions!
2 of your favorite TV shows?
“Prison Break no doubt is my favorite right now. I’m completely stuck on it. And I hate to sound completely cliché, but FRIENDS.”
If J Adam Broome were a cartoon character, who would he be?
“Man, (chuckles) that’s a tough one. I’d have to say…Garfield, because I love to sleep and eat all the time.”
One food/dish you love and one you absolutely abhor?
“My favorite food is spaghetti, so my son and I eat that fairly often. And there’s not a whole lot that I don’t like man. I was raised to eat whatever was in front of me. If I didn’t eat it, I’d have to eat it for breakfast the next morning. (laughs) But, I seriously like anything with fish man. If I eat fish, it’s because it’s loaded with protein!”
Boy, did J. Adam Broome take us to church and therapy with his vulnerable sharing, huh? His story truly inspired and opened our eyes to how God can turn the bad to good, and how He never gives up on us.
Y’all go check out his the incredibly personal piano-led new single, “Let It Rain,” here. The desperation, pain, and in-need-of-saving-grace in his voice is so palpable that it could trigger in you similar pain-associated memories. But the best part of it? The liberation and divine assurance that follows after.
And usually this is where the piece ends, but I thought it’d be appropriate to get Broome to wrap it up by sharing some life advice. After all, this guy has seen the highs, lows, depression and salvation.
1. “Don’t run from the pain or issues that you have in your life, because I did that for so long and I ended up going through so much more pain than I had to if I had just dealt with those issues in my life. It was just a fear thing. So if you’re scared, just know that you don’t have to be scared.”
2. “Just don’t ever give up on your dreams because I’ve done that so many times, and I just feel blessed that God keeps bringing me back to that, and keeps giving me things that are beyond my wildest dreams. So definitely, don’t give up on your dreams.”