OFFSTAGE: Hunter Hayes’ Pre-Show Chill Time

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

The last time I caught up with Hunter Hayes , it was right before his set on the Carrie Underwood tour. Actually, it was right before his “right before.” He told me that what he does every night on the road to get ready to perform never really varies.

“Obviously, I’ve got my hour-long vocal warm-ups that I have to be faithful to. It’s a ritual. It’s a chill time for me to relax and mentally prepare,” he explained. “I have this one exercise that I do every day, and it’s in my iTunes playlist. I actually just looked at the count, and I’ve done it 88 times this fall and summer alone.”

He also said that when he’s prepping his vocals, he dims the lights and just kind of kicks back. And even though he’s 21 now, he does not do a shot of whiskey to loosen up, like some other artists may (or may not) do.

“I just have a 5-Hour Energy or a coffee, but it has to be decaf because the caffeine messes with my throat,” he said. And that led to a discussion about other things that mess with his throat, like foods with dairy and acid. So what does he eat? A lot of plain pasta.

“I just stick with a bunch of carbs that will turn into sugar at show time. I just have to play it safe,” he said of his back-to-basics diet. “It’s way more calculated than I ever thought I’d be.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.