2011 Artist Roster—On The Cover: Hunter Hayes

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Born in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, Hunter Hayes has been making music since about the time he learned to walk. As he recounts, “By the time I was almost two, I was picking up everything and making an instrument out of it. My grandmother gave me a toy accordion for my second birthday and I immediately began picking up Cajun songs by ear from the radio.”

Despite being in the early stage of his career, Hayes already has a long list of accomplishments: Singing “Jambalaya” with Hank Williams Jr. in front of 200,000 people (15 million YouTube views) at the age of four; appearing with Robert Duvall (who gave Hayes his first guitar) in The Apostle at the age of six; playing with Johnny and June Cash, and Charlie Daniels at a BBQ; performing for President Clinton, co-writing songs for Rascal Flatts and Montgomery Gentry and more. You might say that he’s lived a charmed life.

Now Hayes, in the producer’s chair with Dann Huff (Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Trace Adkins) is in the studio preparing to record what he calls his debut album in 2011. “I’ve released independent records before, but this feels like the first real record I’m making—with the high stakes,” he says excitedly. For Hunter, even with those high stakes, he’s committed to doing it his way. With plans on “playing everything on the album, having fun and experimenting.”

Among the many extraordinary things about Hunter Hayes, the multi-talented musician, writer, producer and performer, perhaps what is most astonishing is that in truth, he’s just getting started.

Interesting facts: I’m a total gear geek. I could spend days on studio gear websites and days talking with engineers about Pro Tools and all things studio related. I could literally LIVE in a recording studio!

Outside Interests: I’m a bit of a car nut so I spend what is probably too much time watching a British car show called, Top Gear. Other than that it’s pretty much music, music and in my off time, more music – just in different forms. I cycle from touring to writing to the studio. That cycle is enough to keep it fresh and interesting while breaking from the other aspects.

Musical Influences: Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Bryan White, Brooks & Dunn, John Mayer, Ronnie Milsap, Michael Buble.

Favorite Records: I have several. One is Keith Urban’s Defying Gravity, I can just sing along to every song on that record. Love the musicality of it as well, super hooky and tasteful. Also, Me and My Gang by Rascal Flatts. It was the first record they made with Dann Huff and it’s super cool musically and lyrically, I totally relate to some of those tunes. Continuum by John Mayer, brilliant musical record. Battle Studies was more lyrical for me and I loved it for that reason. And MercyMe’s Coming Up to Breathe was such a brilliantly moving record.


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