“Zach had mentioned an old school rap song that talked about what they would do if they could ‘rule the world’ and said we should write the ‘country boy’ version of that,” Sanders tells Billboard. “I remember all of us being very intrigued by the thought, but once the line ‘Devil Went Down To Georgia would be our new National Anthem’ fell out in the room, we all four died from laughter and were immediately sold. Although we didn’t end up using that line in the song, it’s what propelled us into the mindset of: the crazier and funnier the line, the better.”
Sanders admits they first intended the song to be a love song, but the mood in the writing room quickly changed to become more of an anthem for country boys and girls. That’s exactly the vibe that comes across in the music video for the song, which stars Sanders and Phelps as well as fellow singer-songwriters Ray Fulcher, Cash Campbell, Faren Rachels, Josh Mirenda, Mitch Rossell and Drew Parker, with country icons Tracy Lawrence, Aaron Tippin, and Shenandoah’s Marty Raybon and Mike McGuire.
“I’ll never forget the day Zach sent us the rough demo of the track, which started with me singing the first line of the song, Hunter singing the second line, and so on and so forth,” Sanders says. “The second I heard Hunter's vocal come in after mine, I immediately envisioned a whole slew of artists singing together on the song and knew we had stumbled onto something new and fresh that I don’t think any of us saw coming.
“My favorite memory from the shoot is an accumulation of a lot of conversations throughout the day. Each artist featured, including Tracy, Aaron, Marty, and Mike, mentioned to me at some point that shooting this video was one of, if not the coolest thing, they had been a part of in their careers. And for me, that was the ultimate compliment. ‘Ruled The World’ was born from the idea of having fun and doing something for the love of it, and that we accomplished.”
Sanders, who has seen success writing No. 1 hit songs for Cole Swindell (“Ain’t Worth the Whiskey”) and Dustin Lynch (“Hell of a Night”) further explains that he enlisted many of the artists he believes in for his music video in hopes to shed light on each and help have their profiles raised. “I don’t think in today’s world we do that enough. I want to be known as a guy that’s grateful for where he’s come from and uses his platform to help others as well,” he says.
Country icons Lawrence and Tippin also praised Sanders for including them in the music video. "I’m so excited about Adam's new release ‘Ruled the World.’ The scene in the video reminds me of where I grew up and I had a blast playing my throwback self,” Lawrence says. “I love hearing fun traditional country in this new pop country era."
Adds Tippin, "What a cool and fun day getting to hang with Adam and be a part of his video. Love the song and all of the great singers who were a part of it.”
The video for “Ruled the World” is below.