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Young Country Singer: Hunter Hayes

The Pecman

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I just caught a piece of the Grammy Awards coverage from yesterday, and they did a short piece on this new kid who's a rising Country star. While my character Jason Thomas from Pieces of Destiny is only 15, I think there are some parallels with how I picture him and envision his singing ability:

Note as with a lot of modern Country these days, there's a whole lotta AutoTune going on, so it's a good question as to how much of this voice is really him and how much of it is studio trickery. Still, the kid is clearly talented -- he reportedly plays a half-dozen instruments, including guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards -- and I got a kick out of seeing somebody who's definitely in the same zone as my character.

I tend to doubt that my own singing star would be in a music video with a chick on the back of his motorcycle, but that's a part of the story we haven't reached yet...

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Hunter Hayes is a very attractive young man and, though I am not into country music, I do like his voice. He is very sexy and we can always hope that maybe he's changing pronouns in his head and actually singing to his boyfriend! :razz: I've had to accept that not every hot guy is one of us.Damn it.

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Yeah, it's not my kind of music, either, but he clearly has talent -- this has gotten about 27,000,000 hits on YouTube, and the song made it to #1 on the Country charts and #16 on the Pop charts, plus it was nominated for a country Grammy (but just lost last night).

I just made a note to the effect that -- assuming my character Jason ever makes it back to modern times -- a record exec will quip that the kid could be the "pop version of Hunter Hayes," or words to that effect. His style, look, and confidence are scarily close to what I had imagined more than five years ago.

BTW, maybe the chick is a beard... it wouldn't be the first time for a pop star. The number of "out" country stars can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand. (Plus, the kid is wearing a cross around his neck, which is probably not a good sign for our team.)

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OMG! Chris, that was just precious! I never watch the country channels, so I missed Hunter when he was a kid, but he was amazingly talented! He had a great voice and great style. And, how brave of him to appear before so many thousands of people and sing so well! He must have had good parents.

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OMG is an UNDERSTATEMENT! I confess I'm not a fan of 'Modern Country' but this kid is beyond modern... Guys like Hunter and the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys are bringing the genres of C&W and Bluegrass into the 21st Century.

The geek in me is blown away by this video:

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Bah, the kid's recording in Apple Logic! Piece of crap. Real men use Pro Tools.

But in all seriousness (to The Dude): I disliked Country for at least the first 40 years of my life, except maybe for what I would call "country/rock hybrids," like The Eagles, .38 Special, the Allman Brothers, and stuff like that from the 1970s and 1980s. That I can stand. But that twangy steel guitar violin sh!t makes me puke (though I acknowledge the great songwriting of people like Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, even if I'm not fans of hearing most of those songs).

Having said that... back around 1994, I had to work for six months on a Country music series, as well as two different Garth Brooks specials. And after hearing that music day-in/day-out, 12 hours a day, I eventually had to admit, Sturgeon's Law still hold's true: 90% of everything is crap, but you know, 10% of it isn't half bad. And much to my surprise, there were some Country/Pop crossover hits -- particularly from Garth -- that I not only could stand, I grudgingly liked. Today, I consider myself a minor fan of Taylor Swift, who (despite being constantly in tabloids for schtupping and getting dumped by various teen idols and celebrities) is actually fairly talented. Tim McGraw isn't bad, either. His 1999 song "Something Like That" cites the case of somebody having a casual meeting with somebody attractive and never forgetting it, and I thought it encapsulated some of the experiences and emotions all of us here have had, especially in our younger years. Listen to the lyrics on this:

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All the phony twangs... cowboy boots and hats trigger my gag reflex. This kid is smart, talented, funny, hip and down to earth, and affects none of the above.

It takes a lot to trigger my gag reflex. :smile:

I'm reminded of a documentary I once worked on with the Judds (the mother/daughter Country duo), and at one point, they referred to their fans as "the diesel sniffers." I asked the director what they meant, and he sighed and told me, "these are the crazy fans that follow their tour busses from concert to concert. They follow so close, they almost literally smell the diesel fumes from the busses." Needless to say, this segment did not get in the show.

A lot of Country people are just as egotistical, demanding, and narcissistic as regular rock & roll celebrities and Hollywood actors. My observation is that much of their public persona -- the "aw, shucks" attitudes and southern accents -- is overplayed to make their audiences believe they're "jes' folks," when the reality is these are very high-maintenance millionaires who have managers, agents, and a stream of handlers taking care of every whim.

I agree that Hunter appears to be the real deal, and I hope he's very successful in the business. I've devoted a lot of time and thought to what it must take for a teenager to succeed in the music business today, and my character Jason represents a lot of what I think their attitudes, goals, and skills would have to be. I figure Jason is smart enough to realize he'd be lucky to have even 2 or 3 hits, given that the average hit-making career in rock/pop music is 2 or 3 years -- 5 if you're lucky. My take is that anybody that young should have a backup plan, whether it's to go into acting (as Justin Timberlake has done, with some success) or go into songwriting (as Jesse McCartney has done). I'd like to think Jason would eventually get into becoming a film composer, which was the direction rock star Danny Elfman did after his Oingo Boingo hits stopped.

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I believe Dan Huff is a significant session player and Country producer in Nashville. This is way outside my area of expertise, since I'm only a pop/rock guy.

Thanks for the clip, Dude! The kid really is very talented and has a lot of energy on stage.

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