Hunter Hayes Talks Fan Tattoos and 'The Biggest Show We Have Ever Put On'
By Sophie Schillaci
You've heard the song, but did you know that Hunter Hayes doesn't actually have a single bit of ink on his body?
"I'm such a fake, I've got a song called 'Tattoo' and I don't have tattoos," he tells ETonline's Sophie Schillaci. He's thinking about getting one, but for now he's just impressed by those Hayniacs taking the plunge with Hunter-related tats.
"It's a huge compliment," he says, calling out one fan that inked his signature on her arm. "That is one of the coolest things in the world. I've seen some lyric tattoos – that's probably the coolest for me."
But would he ever etch his own lyrics on his skin? "That might be weird!" he responds with a laugh. "I like the spirit of 'Storyline.' I like 'Right or wrong, we write our own storyline.' That’s the spirit of the whole record. That seems to be the current theme of life, really."
But the theme of his own life these days centers around the upcoming Tattoo (Your Name) Tour, kicking off October 30 in Pennsylvania. It's his first-ever headlining arena tour and Hunter is promising "the biggest show we have ever put on."
Using light up wristbands for his audience, the 22-year-old teases brand new technology that will put the fans at the center of the experience. "This is the first time that this particular technology with the use of the wristbands and a couple of other things [has] ever been on the road," he says. For Hunter, creating an interactive experience for the audience is the most crucial element to his tour.
"You can rehearse the show as many times as you want. You can sound check, you can get in the same room, same lighting system, same stage, same arrangement, all that stuff, you can do that as many times as you want and it means nothing," he says. "When one person walks in the room, it's a show. They are the show. They bring the spirit that you want in the show. That's why on this tour we're giving everybody that buys a ticket, everybody that walks in the door gets a wristband. They are the show from the moment they walk in and even after the show, it is all about them."
Hayes' sophomore effort, Storyline, may have just hit shelves in May, but the country phenom says he's always thinking next steps. So what's on tap for his third album? It may be too soon to say for sure, but we can likely expect more bluegrass tones.
"I'm further musically than I am lyrically," he says. "I haven't really dove into lyrics or writing as much of it as I have just getting ideas for sounds.
"I'm starting from a different place on this next one," he adds. "It's way too early, but I'm experimenting. I think what happened in the process of recording Storyline is I re-discovered a lot of things that I knew I was passionate about, but I had no idea I was as passionate about as I am. One of those things being the mandolin and bluegrass."
This reporter comes from a bit of a bluegrass background herself, with her late grandfather a passionate and noted mandolin player. Hunter was gracious enough to show her the ropes on the tiny instrument -- see how the lesson went in the video above.
Giving back is in this artist's nature. He was recently named a USO ambassador for the Every Moment Counts campaign.
"Saying thank you is only the beginning I think for all of us when we see these [service] men and women," he says. "It's about taking the moments that they give to keep us free, to keep us safe, they give to us and giving it back to them somehow. Whatever moment we have with them, we make it count."
For more from Hunter, watch ETonline's video above. For more on his upcoming tour, click over to Hunter's official website.