Hunter Hayes has been building his credibility in the country world since he was four-years-old. It was at this age when he performed with Hank Williams Jr. to a crowd of 200,000.
He’s gone on to play with Johnny Cash and Charlie Daniels and more recently, the 21-year-old has been compared to Prince and is often called the Justin Bieber of country. Hunter doesn’t seem to mind though.
“Both of those artists happen to be people who have headlined arenas so I’m okay with that,” he told CBS Local. “All I want to do is make music the rest of my life. I live for it. I’ve always wanted to.”
Hunter went on to explain that as a kid he was “a geek making a little home studio and writing songs that didn’t make sense.” While he admits he still makes songs that don’t always make sense, songwriting is something he lives for.
“I breathe for it. I think the only thing that I want is to keep being able to do what I do.”
Hunter’s single “Wanted” has resonated with music lovers and has even been covered on The Voice. He wrote every song and played every instrument on his debut album. So, we had to ask him if there was a certain technique to writing the perfect song.
“I don’t think there’s a formula to a perfect song. At least I hope not. If I ever say that I’ve figured it out, I hope somebody slaps me across the face,” he said. “I am that guy who just doesn’t believe there should be a formula to writing a song. Writing a song is an art form. My biggest concern with whatever happens next is that I don’t go back to this record and say, ‘Man, ‘Wanted’ was really good to me. I should probably write another ‘Wanted.’”
So don’t expect him to replicate his single.
“I’m not the guy that just wants to repeat for the sake of doing it again. I only want to say something again if I feel like I can say it differently or if I feel like I need to say it again,” he said. “I happen to love certain songs just because they have one or two lines in them that just identify with me. I think that’s what makes country music. That’s why people listen so intently. It’s got lyrics that speak and say what I’m trying to say.”
When asked if any of his songs mean more to him now than when first written, Hunter was stumped. Having written for himself and other acts like Rascal Flatts, he did say there was one song of his that is his personal mantra.
“’Love Makes Me’ seems to be my theme song in life. I’m not one to go out of my comfort zone but for the love of music or for one girl that I want to impress, it’s like I will find myself doing things that are not in my normal character and getting out of my comfort zone,” he said. “Love makes me do it and that just seems to be my theme song now a days.”
Hunter Hayes is currently on tour with Carrie Underwood and will be performing on the Grammy nominations concert live on CBS December 5.
-Annie Reuter, CBS Local