Hunter Hayes, who turns 23 years old today (September 9th), is currently scaling the country charts with his latest single, “Tattoo,” but as most fans know, the precocious youngster made his cute-as-a-button-accordion debut onstage at an age when most kids were still trying to master fingerpaints and “Duck Duck Goose.”
Long before the multi-instrumentalist earned countless honors, including New Artist awards from both the ACM and CMA, he stood shoulder-to-kneecap with country superstar Hank Williams Jr. to perform “Jambalaya,” a song that was a natural for the four-year-old Louisiana native of Cajun ancestry.
Although today Hayes admits he doesn’t remember much about sharing the stage (in front of 200,000 enthusiastic fans in Lafayette, Louisiana) with the man whose iconic father penned that legendary tune, the next couple of years would be a media whirlwind for the pint-sized prodigy. At age five, actor Robert Duvall gave Hayes his first guitar and in the next couple of years, he would go on to appear on several variety shows, talent competitions and other TV series. Of course, the last couple of years have also ramped up the young hitmaker’s profile, and he’s set to headline his Tattoo (Your Name) tour this fall, which he confesses he’s already obsessing over when it comes to the details.
“If you get to a point where you have the truck space to take a production into a larger venue, if you’re a headliner and you have the opportunity to do longer than 45 minutes, why wouldn’t you take every minute and take it very seriously?” Hayes tells Rolling Stone Country.