"It has the magic of the first time, every time," Hunter Hayes says of performing at the Grand Ole Opry. "You get as comfortable as you can get in a place like this, but you still get goose bumps when you walk in the door."
On the singer's 11th trip inside those doors, he made the live debut of "Wild Card," the first track on his sophomore album, Storyline, along with the Top 5 hits "I Want Crazy" and "Invisible." Watch the performances in the "Opry Hitmakers" video below, making its exclusive premiere on Rolling Stone Country. The video also includes clips of Hayes talking about calming his fears of the so-called sophomore slump by taking his new music to different sonic levels but familiar lyrical territory.
"When anybody hears this record, I want them to hear something on it that means something to them," he says. "That's when music, to me, has a purpose.… I want them to feel like they know me and relate to the storyline — no pun intended — and feel like it's their storyline, as well."
Hayes will make a Big Apple detour from his summer tour on August 23rd, to perform at the U.S. Open's annual Arthur Ashe Kids' Day. He'll also make his 12th appearance at the Grand Ole Opry this Friday, August 8th. Click here for tickets.