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Interview with Hunter Hayes: 'We're Not Invisible' tour Special

Posted Mar 22, 2014 by Markos Papadatos
Country music superstar Hunter Hayes chatted about his "We're Not Invisible" tour, which kicked off on March 20 in Pikeville, Kentucky.
Country singer Hunter Hayes
Country singer Hunter Hayes
Courtesy of Atlantic Nashville
A four-time Grammy-nominated artist, Hayes is one of the country genre's most talented and genuine musicians. For his debut album, he played over 20 musical instruments and he either wrote or co-wrote every song on there.
Hayes is headlining his own "We're Not Invisible" tour," which features country duo Dan + Shay and The Voice winner Danielle Bradbery as his opening acts. The tour commenced on March 20 in Pikeville, Kentucky and it will wrap up on May 31 in Estero, Florida. "This has been a dream of mine forever, since I grew up watching Garth Brooks on stage. In my hometown of Louisiana, there was really one venue that I saw concerts in. I was too young to go to a club, and the theater that we had didn't really show concerts, it had other productions. There was a big arena in town and that's where everybody came. In building my dream of playing music for the rest of my life, I was visualizing and building this dream-board. The only thing I really had as a template to build this dream was that arena. I learned slowly but surely that there are a lot of different venues, and obviously we have had a blast doing clubs and doing theaters. They all hold a special place and you will always want to build shows for those venues, but it was the ultimate dream to be able to build a show for an arena."
The Louisiana native continued, "The arena is the place where you combine the energy of so many people and the ability to build something, such as a big stage and a big set and do something crazy. That was one of the biggest goals: to have state to build a big show with the lights, the production and the whole thing. You certainly make a list of things you want to do before a tour. You have to get ideas and you are lucky if you get to do half of them because of time and all kinds of different variables. I pretty much checked off everything on the list and we even added things afterwards, and we have checked those off. We do a lot of fun things at the show that I have always wanted to do. We had our first night last night and the question was whether it was it as good as you imagined it to be, and the honest to God truth is that 'no, it was so much better.' It was awesome!"
An Atlantic Nashville recording artist, he shared that each day he is motivated by his fans. "I couldn't sleep after the experience I had after that show last night. I was so excited and I texted my videographer to send me pictures from last night. The band and I re-lived it and we talked about it and laughed about it in the bus. I go to bed just dreaming that I could wake up and do this again. The only thing I want at the end of the day is a chance to do it again and that's the feeling I had from that show last night alone. Right now, I cannot imagining it getting it any better."
Label-mates Dan + Shay and Big Machine recording artist Bradbery were praised by Hayes for being "great" opening acts. "I am so inspired and motivated and driven because we have some unbelievable vocalists on this tour," he said. "They are all extremely talented in so many different ways and in their own right. I love that we have this combination on this tour. I feel so blessed that we have this line-up. Danielle is absolutely rocking. Her voice is just stunning and I actually get to sing a song with her every night, which is one of my favorite parts of the show."
Hayes added, "Dan + Shay's live show is just the two of them rocking out and doing their thing. It's a really cool dynamic and it's a fantastic show."
In the past, Hayes collaborated with Bradbery while she was competing on The Voice, where they sang his hit single "I Want Crazy" as a duet. "That was how we met and that is how I got to know her," Hayes said. "I was a fan before, she is a cool person and I think she is musically brilliant. I think she has got an unbelievable voice and she has an unbelievable sense of music, which is absolutely beautiful. She is definitely an incredible talent."
On May 3, Hayes will be playing a show at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, a venue which is dear to his heart for a special reason. "It's cool since I remember going there and watching a show a while back. I had the chance to go to a Keith Urban concert there as part of his 'Get Closer' tour. I was actually called out early to go to sound-check and go hang out with him, which was the coolest thing in the world," he explained. "That night I got to play on stage with him and it was my first time ever standing on a stage in an arena. That holds a very special place for me. To be able to come back and play there is a big moment for me and my team and we are celebrating that show, since a lot of my heroes have played there. The fact that we get to get there on this tour is pretty spectacular."
Country singer Hunter Hayes
Country singer Hunter Hayes
Courtesy of Atlantic Nashville
His latest single "Invisible," which he co-wrote, is already in the Top 25 on the Billboard Hot Country Airplay charts, and climbing. It also reached the Top 5 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, peaking at No. 4. "That feels unbelievable," he exclaimed. "It is absolutely life-changing for me. I love the song and I love its message. It has so much personal value to me. From a songwriting standpoint, I wrote this song about my story and I was hoping it would have that relatability and mean something to somebody else since you never really know. When I first played it to members of my team which consists of people that I have known for a while, I learned things about them that I have never known. They would tell me their story in a way that I never heard of it before. The song took a life of its own really in that way. Knowing that it was so personal, I was doubtful that it was going to be the first single off the second record, but I was stoked when it happened since we really believed that this is what we wanted to introduce the new album with and the fact that the fans have accepted it the way they have and country radio has been so good to us is inspirational. I am honored that the people have taken to this message and helped me share this message. I am honored that they supported the song the way that they have."
Hayes premiered the song live at this year's Grammy award ceremony, which was well-received. "That was one of the series of surprises with this song," he acknowledged. "That was an intense way to introduce the song in public. It was a little nerve-wrecking, but it was the absolute best dream of an introduction for this song."
At that same Grammy ceremony, Hayes was nominated for "Best Country Solo Performance" for "I Want Crazy." "That was a big celebration here in our camp," he said. "I hope everybody knows how much that meant to us since that was special."
Over the course of his musical journey, Hayes has been afforded the chance to collaborate with Stevie Wonder and he shared that he would love to work with him again. "The live performance I did with him was a blast. I had an awesome opportunity already, but I would love to work with him in the studio. That would be absolutely inspirational if I can get to work with him in a recording scenario and create something from scratch. That is still an ultimate goal of mine," he said.
A few years back, he had revealed to me that he would love to someday sing a song with another musical hero of his, Country Music Hall of Famer Ronnie Milsap, and Hayes shared that this dream collaboration became a reality. "I got to work with him and he was unbelievably gracious. I got to headline the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville two nights in a row and he came on the first night. Ronnie came in and we sang 'Stranger In My House,' which was really nice of him, since I'm sure he has sang that song so many times. It was awesome," he exclaimed.
For his dedicated fans, the ever-gracious musician concluded, "I cannot thank everybody enough. This is what I live for and this is my world and 'Invisible' is my story and it says a lot as well. With everything that I dreamed about, the fans have proven to me that I have a place and they are proof that dreams do come true. I cannot put into words how grateful I am that I get to do this."
For more information on country superstar Hunter Hayes, visit his official website.