(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
At Hunter Hayes‘ recent listening party for his upcoming album Encore, due June 18, he admitted he never thought twice about launching his music career. “There was never a flip-the-switch moment. There was no light bulb, aha! moment,” Hayes told the crowd at Nashville’s aVenue. “As a kid, I got comfortable, oddly enough, being onstage in front of a ton of people making noise, and that became my obsession and my passion. And it was way beyond a hobby or something I thought about doing. It was something I had to do.” In between singing his hits, his soon-to-be hits and a duet with surprise guest Ashley Monroe, Hayes thanked the fans profusely for letting him wake up every day and do this thing he had to do. “I would’ve never have dreamed it would be this sweet to get to do what I do. I knew it was gonna be fun,” he said, “I had no idea it would be this fun.” The fun continues this fall when Hayes kicks off his CMT on Tour run of Let’s Be Crazy concerts.