Hunter Hayes had been struggling to get his footing since the release of 2014’s Storyline: enduring vocal problems as a result of acid reflux and allergies and weathering an industry that prefers the predictability of album cycles over creative releases, he needed a way to reinvigorate his muse. And that came in the form of “Rescue,” his newest song.
“That process really lifted me up,” Hayes told Rolling Stone Country last week shortly before taking the stage at the ACM Honors. “Even since we announced we were releasing ‘Rescue,’ I felt lifted up. I’ve been writing all summer, working with new people and trying a lot of fun stuff and just really enjoying the process. It’s opened up doors for me in my heart and spirit.”
Behind those doors were over 150 songs, which will lend themselves in some way to Hayes’ next project – an album, a set of albums or something else entirely. Hayes is eager to figure out a way to filter more music directly to the fans and break free of the traditional Music Row mold. It’s something he’s been thinking about a lot over the past few years, with a bit of resulting heartache at times.
“I’m trying to get to a point where I can release music more often,” he said. “I wanted to put more music out, and that model isn’t new, and it’s not anything that nobody else is doing. But I want my fans to have more music more often, and I, as a music lover, wish people would put out more stuff more often.”
Full of dramatic flourishes and lyrics that expose a bit of his recent struggles, “Rescue” isn’t a traditional single, but it is wracking up millions of spins on Spotify: over six million, to be exact. That success is a nice side note to Hayes’ first priorities, which are the songs themselves.
“I’ve never claimed to be the business guy,” he said. “I’m the music guy. I make noise, and I love it.”