Hunter Hayes Shares Happiness at CMT Artists of the Year

He Shares the Stage With Train's Pat Monahan to Perform "I Want Crazy," "Hey Soul Sister"

Hunter Hayes defined and expressed the most sincere form of happiness while being honored at the 2013 CMT Artists of the Year celebration Tuesday night (Dec. 3) in Nashville.

“This kind of thing is something you dream about,” he said. “I don’t just make music, but I live it, I breathe it. It’s all I do. It’s all I know. It’s all I’ll ever know and all I want to know.”

Hayes was honored alongside Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Tim McGraw at the fourth annual event.

“Being included in this group of people is pretty stunning, as you can tell by the quivering in my voice and the complete nerves that I’m fighting every second here,” Hayes said. “But there’s this line that happiness is only good when it’s shared.

“And the coolest thing about the thing I get to do is that I not only get to make music, but I get to go on the road with some of my favorite people in the world, some of my favorite musicians, my road crew, everybody that’s on my team. Since I’ve moved to Nashville, I’ve met the best people in the world. They’ve let me do what I do. They’ve believed in me, and I get to share this music every night with everybody watching — all these fans. You guys are amazing.”

It was not lost on Hayes that his CMT Artists of the Year award was presented by legendary rock singer and guitarist Peter Frampton.

“Yeah, that just happened,” Hayes said in disbelief.

Frampton outlined Hayes’ rise to stardom.

“Whether in rock, country or any music, it always comes down to great songs,” Frampton said. “Hunter Hayes has earned the privilege of being one of CMT Artists of the Year by writing, singing and playing one great song after another. By age 4, he was performing on national TV. By 7, his gigs included the White House.”

The Louisiana native laughed when the British musician continued the timeline of Hayes’ career.

“At 8, a short stint in rehab. But then, by 9, he was back on track,” Frampton grinned. “That’s what I hear.

“At 22, he’s already won CMT, CMA and ACM awards and received three Grammy nominations. And he’s only just started. So I’m honored to present this CMT Artist of the Year award to a great musician with a great, long career ahead of him.”

For his musical segment, Hayes teamed up with Pat Monahan of Train to perform one of his own hits, “I Want Crazy,” before seguing effortlessly into Train’s “Hey Soul Sister.”

Calvin Gilbert has served as’s managing editor since 2002. His background includes stints at the Nashville Banner, Radio & Records and Westwood One.