On the rise
Hunter Hayes looks to lift Louisiana's spirits after Isaac
BLADE NEWS SERVICES
NEW ORLEANS — Rising country singer Hunter Hayes knows a thing or two about hurricanes.
The south Louisiana native has seen his share and even named his breakout single "Storm Warning" —about a beautiful girl he compares to a "Cat 5" hurricane, the strongest category of tropical storm.
The accordion-playing, harmonica-blowing singer from the Cajun town of Breaux Bridge returns, as Louisiana cleans up from Hurricane Isaac, returned to Louisiana Friday for a concert benefiting a New Orleans hospital. He's also scheduled to sing the national anthem at the New Orleans Saints' football game against the Washington Redskins on Sunday, his 21st birthday.
"This is going to be like a huge homecoming celebration for me," said Hayes, who has just been named one of the CMA Award's new-artist nominees, along with Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert, Love and Theft, and Thompson Square.
The 46th annual CMA Awards will air live Nov. 1 on ABC from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.
Hayes toured last year with Taylor Swift for part of her "Speak Now" tour and earlier this year with Rascal Flatts for its "Thaw Out" tour. Hayes hits the road again later this year as the opening act on Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away" tour.
"I'm living my dream," he said. "Music is my life. It's what I live for."
Though Hayes moved to Nashville about five years ago, he said he still considers Louisiana home. It's where he spent his childhood playing "every instrument I could get my hands on." That included the harmonica, accordion, drums, and guitar, he said.
Hayes broke onto the scene last year with "Storm Warning." His other hits include "Wanted," "Somebody's Heartbreak," "Love Makes Me," and "Where We Left Off."
It's been a while since Hayes has performed in New Orleans. He said he hopes he can bring a little pick-me-up to an area still recovering from Isaac, which blew ashore Aug. 28. The storm swamped much of south Louisiana with a tidal surge and dayslong heavy rains.
"That's one of the things New Orleans is famous for, a little music and a good time to get you through," Hayes said.