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Interview:
Hunter Hayes at Coyote Joe's, 5 Things to Know
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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It's fair to say Hunter Hayes' picture belongs in the definition of "prodigy" in most dictionaries.

Now 25, the Louisiana native -- who can play some 30 instruments as well and sing -- has been performing since he was six years old and having his songs recorded since he was 18. His own debut album came out when he was 20, and since then he's released two more (with another on the way) and scored six Top 10 country hits along the way. Four Teen Choice Awards are among his stash of prizes.

Hayes considers himself a songwriter first and foremost, however, which is why he's looking forward to this weekend's appearance as part of the BMI Singer-Songwriter Festival taking place in the metro Detroit area. Hayes, it seems, is always happy to get a little verbal about what he's saying when he sings...

Hayes finds the stripped-down, songwriter-oriented shows to be a nice change of pace from the arenas, amphitheaters and fairs his full-band shows take him to. "For as much as these songs mean to us and however we're connected to them, we don't get to talk about them that much," he says. "I love a chance to kinda fill everybody in on how the process goes, how much heart and soul we put into writing a song and what each of these songs mean to us. We want people to know how you're connected to them."

It's not uncommon for Hayes to change his perspective on specific songs and to find meanings in them different than he intended when he wrote them. "That happens on a regular basis," he says. "There's so many (songs) that don't mean anything now like what I wrote them to be. Even night to night a song can mean something different as you sing it, which is good. You want the performance to come from some place that's super deep and real, so when it changes every night that tends to come from a fresh perspective. That's how I am with anybody's music I listen to,not just mine; Songs mean different things on different days. That's the point of music."

He's got a new song out now, "Yesterday's Song," that's one of three he's released online to preview the new album he's working on. "It's about moving on," Hayes says, "but I don't want to call it a breakup song.For me, personally, it's about moving on in different ways," Hayes says. "It's an energetic song about letting go of something in the past and not even just walking away from it but racing towards the future and just truly, honestly letting it go -- with a little bit of attitude, maybe."

So about that next album..."We're a good ways along, very far along in the process, but I'm looking at this album very differently," Hayes says of the follow-up to 2015's "21." "The whole reason to make this record was not to rush it, not to manufacture a record. It's not gonna be, 'Here's the 12 songs I've got.' It's going to be a deeper record for me. So it's a constant thing; You'd think that after 100 songs we'd have everything we need, but some days I'm like, 'No, I don't think we've got everything we need yet.' So we keep writing and trying to find those things."

And that, of course, means Hayes will not predict an ultimate release date for the set. "Oh, no..." he says with a laugh. "I can tell you, honestly we have no idea. We're not putting a date on it 'til we feel like the record is really there. I put those three songs out a couple of weeks ago, streaming, but we're gonna keep working. There haven't been a lot of days off or vacation."

BMI Singer-Songwriters Festival featuring Hunter Hayes, Uncle Kracker, LoCash, Sarah Buxton and Jeff Bass

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22.

Coyote Joe's, 49440 Ryan Road. Admission is $10.

Call 586-254-4666 or visit CoyoteJoes.com.




Web Site: www.CoyoteJoes.com

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