Adam Anders

Adam Anders

Courtesy of Fox
Trace Adkins

Trace Adkins in Monarch

Courtesy of Fox
Fill 1
Fill 1
September 06, 2022
In The Mix

Adam Anders's Country Miles

Producing the Nashville sounds of Fox's Monarch works out just fine from L.A for the executive music producer.

Libby Slate

A Harry Styles pop song reimagined as a bluegrass jam? Why not?

"I love taking songs and reinventing them. I've done it my whole career," says Adam Anders, executive music producer of the Fox country music–themed drama Monarch, premiering September 11. The story of a fictional country music dynasty, the Roman family, the series stars Susan Sarandon and Trace Adkins as the heads of the clan, with Anna Friel as the daughter aiming to be country's next queen.

Anders had to do some significant reinventing of the entire music production process. Due to Covid concerns, he's remained at his home studio in Los Angeles, while the show shoots and the cast records vocals in Atlanta and the instrumentalists' scoring sessions take place in Nashville.

"We've been using technology to our advantage," says Anders, a three-time Grammy nominee for compilations of Glee and the film Rock of Ages (his other credits include producing the music for more than 100 episodes of Glee and executive music–producing Netflix's The Prom). "A crewmember walks around the studios in Nashville with monitors and cameras, so they can see me and I can see them. I talk to them through one computer and hear them through another. It's pretty incredible!"

Anders's many duties involve choosing songs for the Monarch characters and creating their vocal and instrumental arrangements; working remotely with producing partner Peer Astrom on cast recording sessions; supervising the Nashville sessions (sometimes adding his own bass guitar) and cowriting some original songs. Each episode usually features one original song, time and story permitting, and several covers.

"The scene dictates what we do creatively. Country music is very specific lyrically, so that helps narrow down what songs you use," he notes. "The music has to be woven into the story. Also, you have to be careful not to do the same thing over and over: guitar-vocal, guitar-vocal, guitar-vocal. Viewers don't want to hear that."

Country music may seem a bit of a stretch for someone born (to musician parents) in Stockholm, Sweden, but Anders followed his brother to Nashville after graduating college in Florida and learned songwriting there.

Having written for the likes of the Jonas Brothers and the Backstreet Boys, he says, "Country music is about the singer and the songwriter, and I'm a singer-songwriter at heart. If I can sit down with my guitar and write a song, that's where I'm happiest. Monarch has given me a chance to do that again. It's exciting."

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine issue #9, 2022, under the title, "Country Miles."

For more on Monarch costar Beth Ditto click here.

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