EXCLUSIVE: Hunter Hayes Talks to Us About Upcoming Tour, "Storyline" and More

Hunter Hayes, one of the biggest names in country music, called in today for an exclusive Roman's Rap-Up Interview, talking about his upcoming "We're Not Invisible Tour" (tickets here), his upcoming album "Storyline" and more. Check out the transcript from the interview below!

Credit: Atlantic Records Nashville

Credit: Atlantic Records Nashville

Q: So lets just talk about your “We're Not Invisible” Tour for a bit. The tour starts in a few days, what about it are you most looking forward too?

A: I’m actually sitting here in the corner of the arena watching the team build the stage, our arena show for the first time. To say that this has been a dream of mine for a long time doesn't cut it. It just doesn’t do it justice remotely. I mean this is all I have ever wanted to do is just build a show for an arena stage. There is nothing like the energy in an arena. I love theatres, I love clubs, there are awesome parts about all of that, but being in an arena does give you a chance to combine all those worlds together. I’m a big production guy. I like putting on a show and just going crazy with ideas and building something big. In fact, we’ve added a lot to this show that wasn’t originally in the drawing. This show is everything that I wanted it to be for a first arena show. It’s absolutely just coming together beautifully. I’m watching a list of things I wanted to do get checked off… everything is getting checked off. We’ve actually added things to that list. It’s got a lot of weird and cool elements that I’m excited about. It’s going to be fun, It’s going to be fun for me. If it’s fun for us and the band, I want everyone in the room to have just as much fun. I want everybody to just feel good about their time spent with us. And thats the number one goal. I want everyone to enjoy it. 

Q: I’m guessing you'll be playing stuff from “Storyline”?

A: You guessed right-in fact probably more than I’m supposed to, to be honest. We’re going to do at least 6 or 7 [songs] if all goes well. We’re doing almost half the record! I didn’t want to do a show [only] full of new material. I want to play stuff from the original album that the fans made such a huge success. But, at the same time I know I’ve been getting a lot of requests from the fans to sing some new stuff and quite frankly I don’t want to wait any longer! I want to play some new stuff. It’s going to be good!

Q: How does performing for an arena show compare to performing and premiering your new single “Invisible” live on The Grammys?

A: How does it compare? That was the ultimate way to introduce a song, I will say that. Incredibly nerve-racking. But, just an awesome opportunity. It’s definitely a short list of single-premieres that the Grammy Awards have done, and I’m pretty stoked to be a part of that list. That was a big opportunity for the song in such a big way. It means a lot to me especially with that song because obviously that song means a lot to me, I’m very personally attached to the song, as I am connected to every song on the record but especially that song. It’s a big deal, I don’t take it lightly that it happened- it definitely happened. I’m excited now to play it on our stage and sing it with our fans!

Q: Last week you just announced that you are going to attempt to break the world record for most amount of concerts played in 24 hours in partnership with ConAgra. How did this come to be?

A: Well, I was a part of the last [successful] attempt to break the record. They did 8 shows in 24 hours. I was part of a show at 5 in the morning which was insane. It was fun, there was just something fun about a band traveling and doing what they love. It says a lot about how much they love to make music. It sounded like so much fun to me. Actually, on my way home from that gig I looked at the map, did some logistical thinking, texted my managers and said “I know you think I'm crazy, but I think we can do 9 [shows], if not 10 [shows].” I said “If we do it in the right area, we can abide by the rules of the record, (every city has to be a certain distance from the last city all that good stuff, every show has to be a certain amount of time), I think we can do it”. Ever since then (it’s been like 2 years) the team has been working behind the scenes, without me even knowing, on the logistics to make it happen and next thing I knew they were like “Here’s how we think we can do it. If you’re onboard, lets do it”. I’m really excited that we have real meaning to this, now with getting to partner with [ConAgra] and getting to do something really special with them in such a big way. Bringing awareness to a fantastic campaign, but even more so bringing hope and bringing an easy way to help to the world. Here is something that we can all be a part of. It’s going to be fun and hopefully we can change some statistics through this whole attempt you know? I’m excited about the whole thing. It’s come together in such a beautiful way. There’s a lot of people that have worked together to make it happen and I’m ready for it.

Q: Will those shows be acoustic?

A: There’s going to be some acoustic shows, some full band shows, some solo shows even. I’m just going to go up and play a couple songs so I can give the band a break. We’ll do a couple shows solo acoustic too, a little of everything. Lots of coffee.

Q: What can fans expect from “Storyline”?

A: One of my favorite things about the first record is that I had a couple of close friends of mine describe it as a page from the notebook, a page from the journal… a series of journals is what I like to call it. Thats what you hope for when you write for a record. You want to make the most honest record you can. I feel like this record is a really honest record that goes deep into topics I’ve never really covered before, “Invisible” being one of the most shining examples of that. I’m really proud of how personal this record gets, you always want that. In writing a record on the road you don’t want to settle for just another song. You want to try something new. Musically, it really goes deep into a lot of my influences, early influences especially, which I’m really excited about. “Wildcard”, the second song we released from the record, says a lot about what I grew up listening to and what I love and I think this whole record actually does that. It [has] a lot of early influences and a lot guitar influences. This has been big experiment, this record. It just gets more transparent as we go.

Q: I think a common misconception in the music industry is that artists don't always write their own music and such. Can you just talk about your process of writing and how "Storyline" came to be?

A: There was one song I wrote before “Invisible” that almost ended up on the record. I wrote it, we recorded it, last minute it’s off the record. I took a lot of time off of writing after writing the first record because I wrote so much, I didn’t want to continue writing just for the sake of continuing to write. If I was going to write I wanted it to mean something. The first record is full of songs that are really personal because of that, and I didn’t want to just keep writing and have to chose songs that really didn’t mean a whole lot. So I was careful to give myself time away from writing. And then, when I started writing again it was really personal. I was just stoked to get back in with songwriters that I’ve been really luck to get to work with, kind of a family of songwriters. It just kind of became a new adventure just writing for this record, a new series of discoveries. I’m excited for you to hear it, I’m excited to hear it all the way through. We’re still not done with it!

Q: When will it be finished? 

A: You never really finish with a record I don’t think. You kind of just have a deadline that you have to meet. You do everything you can up until that deadline. Somebody has to walk up to you and say “you’re done, you can’t do anything else”, otherwise you’ll just keep working on it. 

Q: Favorite Country Collaboration?

A: Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert's latest ("We Were Us").

Q: Country Artist that inspires you?

A: Garth Brooks


Huge shoutout to Hunter for talking with us today!