You could say that 27-year-old Hunter Hayes is somewhat of a musical genius. The singer-songwriter is skilled in over 30 different instruments and has been professionally performing since he was just a toddler.
Growing up in the swamps of Louisiana (Breaux Bridge to be exact), Hayes was the only child to parents with Cajun ancestry and was raised singing in English and French. It was a pretty crazy ride for the singer after he started singing on national television at age four on shows like Maury, Rosie O'Donnell Show, and Nickelodeon. Did I mention he performed for Bill Clinton on the White House lawn when he was only 7?
Since getting his own record deal with Atlantic Records Nashville with debut single "Invisible", Hayes has released four successful studio albums and toured with some of the biggest acts in country music like Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, and Rascal Flatts. On August 16, 2019, Hayes released Wild Blue, Part I, two months ahead of his initial release date for October.
It's his first album in four years and is, basically, the result of growing into adulthood. The album focuses on the end of his long-term relationship and becoming a 27-year-old. Hayes told Today,
"We initially planned to perform on Today and announce our October album release, however because the album was finished and because the fans were asking for more new music now, we wanted them to have it as soon as it was ready... and have it all, not just five or six songs."
Ready to hear Wild Blue, Part I?
In honor of his first release in four years, here are our picks for the best Hunter Hayes before Wild Blue (Part I) debuted.
1. "Dear God"
Hayes tells Taste of Country that he was inspired to write this deeply emotional song because we all have feelings of doubt and inadequacy. This song really is one of Hayes best works and is a strong reminder that we are all good enough.
"The song's description of the nights when I question my world couldn't be more vulnerable. We all face the question of being good enough for the world around us and sometimes we just need a reminder that we are."
The singer's most successful singer earned him the honor of being the youngest male performer to reach number one on the country charts. He even won an American Country Award for Best Music Video. His debut album was so successful, he also was crowned CMA New Artist of the Year. "Wanted" is just a really good country song about the narrator wanted his love to feel special and wanted.
3. "I Want Crazy"
"I Want Crazy" was the lead single from the re-release of his debut album, Hunter Hayes (Encore). The song peaked at number 14 on the charts but was nominated at the Grammy's for Best Country Solo Performance. The sweet love song was the perfect choice to lead the album, with an upbeat and infectious melody supported by strong vocals and lyrics from Hayes.
4. "Everybody's Got Somebody But Me"
Was there even a bad song on Hayes debut album? Another strong addition from Encore includes guest vocals from Jason Mraz. The twangy guitar mixed with the smooth vocals from Mraz makes this a fun pop-country song with a slightly different feel from the singer's other songs.
5. "Somebody's Heartbreak"
The third single from Hunter Hayes does not disappoint. This was Hayes second number one hit on the country chart. The breezy melody is led by the narrator singing to a potential lover.
"If you're gonna be somebody's heartbreak, be mine."
6. "One Shot"
A recent release from 2018, "One Shot" was written completely by Hayes and playfully sings about documenting oneself on social media and not wanting to miss out. He tells The Boot,
"We've all had those nights where we remember some of it but forget a lot of it and owning up to my own experience with that is a whole different kind of confessional through music that I've never attempted before."
7. "This Girl"
Released in 2018 as the third installment in his music series, Pictures, "This Girl" is another feel-good love song that fans look forward to from Hayes. Pictures is a mini-movie series where the actors in the music videos also exchange actual dialogue. The video features an unhappy woman about to walk down the altar with a man she doesn't love, but luckily her true love shows up in time to stop her and they run away together.