Hunter Hayes started making music early -- like, really early. The singer-songwriter (and multi-instrumentalist -- seriously, the guy's super talented!) started giving performances on national television at the age of four; later, he'd bring down the house with his versions of "Hey, Good Lookin'" on America's Most Talented Kid and "Jambalaya (on the Bayou)" (yes, that's Hank Williams Jr. he's singing with).
Born in 1991, Hayes moved to Nashville in 2008 and signed with Universal Music Publishing Group. By the end of 2010, he had a record deal. In the years since, Hayes has made a name for himself as a skilled musician and songwriter; below, fans will find The Boot's picks for his five best songs.
"Everybody's Got Somebody But Me"From 'Hunter Hayes (Encore Edition)' (2013)
Two of Hayes’ “Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me” co-writers initially worried that the song wouldn’t go anywhere because it sounded too much like a Jason Mraz song. As it turns out, it had exactly the right amount of Mraz-ness to it: After releasing “Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me” -- a fun, lighthearted song that manages to be simultaneously jaded and optimistic -- on his own, Hayes re-recorded a version featuring Mraz; the two sound as though they were made to sing this song together.
"Invisible"From 'Storyline' (2014)
If you want people to pay attention to the release of your latest single, the Grammy Awards are a good time to debut it. That’s exactly what Hayes did with “Invisible,” at the 2014 Grammys ... and the next year, the song was nominated for Best Country Solo Performance. Hayes told Entertainment Tonight that the anti-bullying ballad drew from his personal experiences of not fitting in during high school; he used that experience to encourage listeners, reminding them that “Someday, you’ll look back on all these days / And all this pain is gonna be invisible.”
"Storm Warning"From 'Hunter Hayes' (2011)
“Storm Warning” is the song the introduced Hayes to the world -- at least, to anyone who hadn’t followed his former career as a child prodigy. “Storm Warning” was Hayes’ debut single, from his self-titled debut album, and it’s a catchy, confident love song that finds its narrator wishing he "had a storm warning" for the girl who just blew into his life. “Storm Warning” was certified gold -- not bad for a newcomer.
"I Want Crazy"From 'Hunter Hayes (Encore Edition)' (2013)
“I Want Crazy” charges straight out of the gates, propelled with bass thumps and rapid guitar picking. It’s a celebration of young love, with the narrator declaring, “I don’t want ‘good’, and I don’t want ‘good enough’ / I want ‘can’t sleep, can’t breathe without you’ love.” The song went double platinum and was nominated for Best Country Solo Performance at the Grammy Awards.
"Wanted"From 'Hunter Hayes' (2011)
“Wanted” is easily Hayes’ most successful song so far: It earned a Grammys nomination (Best Country Solo Performance) and was certified four-times platinum. Based on its chart performance, Billboard has named it the third-best country single of all time. Its popularity isn't exactly surprising, though: It's a solid, well-written ballad. “"Wanted" is familiar without being generic and catchy without being syrupy,” our friends over at Taste of Country said when the song debuted -- and we think that captures it perfectly.