Just a little over a year ago, a then 19-year-old Hunter Hayes was on a radio tour promoting his debut album Storm Warning. He’s come a long way since then, headlining sold-out shows, touring with Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts, and making his Grand Ole Opry debut. He was even nominated for an ACM Award as New Artist of the Year.

During an interview backstage at Detroit’s 30th anniversary Downtown Hoedown, Hunter tells WYCD personality Jack Shell the story behind his song “Wanted.” It was, he explains, inspired by “someone that will remain anonymous.” It was written for a particular girl who is a “good friend, and she’ll stay that way, but she doesn’t know the song was written for her, because at the time it was written, it didn’t really ‘work,’ so the song didn’t do its job.”

He skirts around the question of what he is looking for in a girl and exclaims “Oh God, I have no idea. Honestly, someone that I can pal around with and be friends with. ‘Wanted’ was kind of an imagination, sort of a ‘dream checklist’ – what I want out of a relationship, and of course it didn’t work, but someday….”

Hunter Hayes at Downtown Hoedown

Hunter Hayes at Downtown Hoedown (Kurt Wolff/CBS Local)

No doubt, the all-American, clean-cut Hunter has plenty of prospects. With teen girls (not to mention their mommas) swooning at every note, he could be the Justin Bieber of country music.

How is Hunter effected when girls “freak out?” “Very positively, it’s life changing, it’s awesome! I love that I put out an album with songs people actually care about.”

Hunter may look young, but he’s had nearly a lifetime of experience playing music. He wrote his first song at age 6 (called, appropriately, “Six Years Old”), and he says he currently “plays 30-something” instruments. His first, he says, was “an accordian, it was a gift from my grandmother.” He also cowrote every song on his album Hunter Hayes.

And fans are reacting to Hunter’s newest hit “Wanted” as much as to his good looks. The song is getting a strong requests for airplay, according to WYCD’s Jack Shell, who tells Hunter that in all his years of radio, he’s doesn’t remember another artist who “has girls calling up and actually screaming your song titles at me.”


Listen to the complete Hunter Hayes interview on WYCD.

Catch Hunter Hayes on tour this fall with Carrie Underwood.

The 30th anniversary WYCD Downtown Hoedown is taking place this weekend (June 8-10) in downtown Detroit.

– Nanci Haskin/99.5 WYCD

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