I got know Hunter Hayes in 2011 when he released “Storm Warning”. Little did I know that 8 years later I would be able to interview Hunter Hayes for my own blog and that I will be seeing twice this year!
Slowly Europe is getting its country on and finally we get to enjoy some real country music 🙂 So for all my readers who love good music from a talented musician you gotta check out Hunter Hayes at Plaza on March 3rd. Get your tix here: Ticketcorner.com
And remember March 3rd is only 2 weeks away so get your hands on those tix or you might miss out on a really cool night! But before that I spoke with Hunter Hayes on the phone and here it is:
Interview with Hunter Hayes
Kekoas Korner: So are you ready?
Hunter: Yeah, absolutely.
On the Insta live last week you talked about your tour being named „Closer to you“. So you’re sharing lots of personal stuff in your new songs. Now my question: What’s your biggest fear?
I think the biggest fear is sharing too much! 🙂 Oversharing and feeling like okay we could have probably done it without that. But I’ve learned that this is the beautiful part about writing this album. Bringing one song to the show and introducing it slowly to the world taught me that the more you share the closer you are to the people around you. That’s friends, family or fans – that’s just music. My favourite music is so direct and so unfiltered. So I think the journey to get there in the process of writing music has been one of my favourite parts. The biggest area for growth for me is being more honest and putting more of myself in music.
Speaking of your new songs Heartbreak and One Shot. Will there be a new record coming soon?
There will be an album. I can’t say when. I’m glad you asked. They are all part of an album that we can talk about probably later this year!
Well that sounds good at least we got a little teaser. Who would you say is your musical influence for this album or the past ones?
It’s all over the map. It’s been everything from U2 to Punch Brothers. I like studying other artists and albums for long periods of time and really getting to know the albums. Not just the words but getting the heart and soul behind it. It’s a fun study for me. The more you start to pick the things that you love out of the music and internalize them versus I want to make a record that sounds like a twenty-one pilots record. Number one that’s not okay and number two and the most important part is that you have to be you. The process of music and finding out what I love about it and what that means to me and my writing process and how I can interpret that. If I hear more of their stories I will tell more of mine. Basically it’s trying and failing until finding out what’s right for me.
The list of influences is long. There’s a lot of music that was coming my way the last 18 months that have totally changed the way I approach making music.
So can you tell me a few names off that list. You said Punch Brothers?
Yeah! That was a big one early on. I also went through a BIIIG U2 phase last year. Not phases in like “I’m over it” but a phase like I studied sections of their career for several months and really got to know the albums. Of course some albums more than others. The study of a four piece band with a very limited production making such a big impact that was something I wanted to get better at and know a bit more about. It’s all a lesson in restraint. It’s very intentional and very emotional. It’s hard to get those two things in the same place.
Sounds really interesting. You’ve got a busy year: Playing the Opry, going overseas with the C2C festival which I will be going to as well….
Oh that’s awesome. Have you been before?
No I haven’t. It’s the first time!
Ahh you are gonna love it!!
Yes and I am really much looking forward to it but before that I’ll be seeing you in Zurich on your European tour plus the tour through America. What can we expect from the „Closer to you“ tour? Can you tell me a little secret? 🙂
*laughs* Sure. The thing about the “Closer to you” tour is, it’s not like any other tour we’ve done even tough it shares a lot with tours that we’ve done before. It’s nothing like anything we’ve done before because of the fact that it comes from this new music. For a while we’ve been touring with kinda the same collection of songs adding one or two. With the release of new songs it injects new energy. This is like a fresh reboot almost like a renovation of a house. It’s not unrecognizable but for me it feels brand new. Some of the places are places we’ve played before and some aren’t. It all feels like I’ve just woken up from a dream and it’s a whole new chapter.
So we can expect a lot?
The fun thing about this tour is the new take on some of the older music. Everybody is new on this tour except for me. 🙂 The songs I’ve been playing for a long time will be now re-imagined as if they would have been recored for this album. That’s gonna be really fun to do.
That sounds exciting. In like 2 or 3 weeks I’ll be seeing what this show’s about.
God that’s three weeks away? Good Lord. I’m excited!
Me too! Now Europe is slowly starting to listen to country music too. What do you want to tell your European fans who are coming to the shows?
Country covers a lot of ground. There is so much in country. I don’t think you could sum up the genre. If you pick three names doing completely different things I think you still leave a lot out. I’m exited for people to get know country as I know country. It’s a very vast genre full of brilliant storytellers with musically brilliant ideas. There’s a lot of people bringing new ideas from other genres into country music in such a way that goes along what we were talking about: The studying and internalization of things they grew up listening to. There is so much to discover in country music. I think you couldn’t properly dive into country music and don’t find anything that feels like home.
At age 27 you’ve played so many amazing venues already. Do you still have a bucket list venues to go?
I’ve got a few for sure. Pick the arena in every city around the world and the theatres too. I love theatres. I’ve learned that it’s such a special place to experience music and play it. That’s history. That’s historically where people would go to listen to music.
On that list would also be Red Rocks. I’ve never played Red Rocks in Colorado. I’d love to do that. I wanna play as many places as I possibly can put my name on the wall! 🙂
Red Rocks is also on my bucket list but to watch!
You know what I’ll let you know when we play it so we can both cross it off at the same time!
Sounds like we have a deal! 🙂 And what was your favourite venue you’ve already played in?
Can I pick 3? The Fox Theatre in Detroit was one of my all time favourite venues to play in. That leads into the Ryman will always have my heart. That will alway be my favourite venue – probably. Even though Nashville is not necessarily my home town it feels like home town the more that I live here. It embraces the people that come here to make music. The Ryman is just a spectacular place. I think I’m just gonna stick with that. The Ryman has my heart.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Ryman. And finally you are playing like a million instruments what would be the instrument you’d like to try to learn next? Maybe the Alphorn here in Switzerland?
Honestly I would just like to play the violin half decent. I’m not good at playing any instruments if I’m totally honest but I’d like to be decent enough in some sort of string instruments like the violin. I’d love to arrange string parts. I’ve never gotten along with that instrument for some reason but I’d like to.
Now I have some fan questions for you. I asked my followers to send in some questions.
Rachel who’s a huge fan from New Zealand was wondering if you do some more international gigs down under since the tour is called closer to you? 🙂
I would love that!
But nothing’s been planned yet?
Not officially. The good news for me – at least – once you start touring like we do this year hopefully the right people hear about it or you come in contact with right people and things happen. It’s momentum. Once you get back on the road… I’m hoping at least that that’s the result of it.
She also did a lyrics video to your song Heart break and it looks amazing. Do you check out fan-made videos and art?
Absolutely! Yes! 100%! In fact we had a really fun idea that I can’t say much about. Not too long ago I actually made a playlist of my favourite cover videos. That’s one of the biggest compliments you can get as an artist – just watch someone else cover your song. It makes me feel really cool. It’s a really good feeling! It’s awesome because they come up with these new versions of your songs. They give it a totally different live and that’s also the beauty of collaborations. Somebody else puts their creativity to work and really makes a song to their own. I love it and I love watching it. It’s awesome!! It’s so inspiring too. It gives you so many ideas and so much energy!
Taylor would like to know what’s your favourite part about meeting fans?
My favourite part is when they share their story. When I get to hear how they found a song or why a song means something to them – just getting to know them. I feel like music is such a great way to connect with people and that’s why we do what we do and we love what we do. It’s the best part the connection. That’s the destination for all music.
Nathan enjoyed your USO show in Wiesbaden. How much do shows like this mean to you?
That’s one of the most important parts about touring. I’ve always made it known to our team that that’s a big priority and that I feel very passionate about. We all have an appreciation for our men and women but to be there with them on base is a completely different experience. Being there in person and show them gratitude through music. The spirit in those rooms is incredible. They are incredible people. Hopefully our appreciation and gratitude comes across. It’s a privilege and a massive opportunity to bring home to them.
That’s sounds so lovely! Now we already have our last fan question from Sandra: What’s your favourite food?
I waver on this. It changes daily but I’m an Italian food fan.
So you’ll gonna be really close to Italy when you are over here.
Well you know I eat way better on the road than when I’m at home.
Funny! Well that was it. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me!
Thank you for your time as well 🙂
Hunter Hayes loves music and that’s what makes him such a talented musician. In addition to that he’s also super friendly. So make sure to check him out and go see him on his “Closer to you” tour.