Hunter Hayes Details His Plans for Spontaneous, Energetic 21 Tour
When Hunter Hayes' 21 Tour kicks off on Oct. 22 in Cullowhee, N.C., fans should expect a high-energy, invigorating show that will fly by -- and leave them wanting more. The 24-year-old singer-songwriter gave The Boot some insight into his forthcoming trek, which will also feature Ryan Lafferty and Kelsea Ballerini as his opening acts.
"We've already tossed around three drastically, polarizingly different setlists," Hayes reveals. "The concept for the show has changed about three or four times, [but] I think we've settled on something that feels right."
The artist explains that the show will be a "toss up" between completely spontaneous moments -- more off-the-cuff than anything that Hayes has done in the past -- as well as more organized portions of the show. Those who knows Hayes' music or have listened to interviews with him know that he has an explosive amount of energy, and he wants to carry it onto the stage on this tour.
"This summer's show had a lot of energy, but I want to see if we can double the amount of energy ... sort of amp it up even more because I want this show to fly by, almost too quickly," he explains. "It's what all my favorite shows do."
Hayes says that fans who decide to scour social media and YouTube for setlist information before his stop in their city will still be in for a surprise or two, because his setlist will change every single night -- even though that'll make things a bit more complicated on the production side.
"It's so funny," Hayes notes with a laugh, "because, literally, at a certain minute of the day, the same hour every day, I get the same text message from my band leader, with the setlist, going, 'So, can we approve this so that all the departments can be prepared?'"
Through all of the setlist changes and decisions big and small, Hayes has been focused on two ideas: trying new things and being brave. While it can be tricky to incorporate spontaneity and organization seamlessly into one show, if anyone can do it, it's Hayes. He's full of creativity, energy and passion for his live shows, and he is a self-described "annoyingly hands-on" musician. From production to musical arrangements to lighting, Hayes loves how all of the elements come together to create something big, something that's even "bigger than the sum of all those things."
As he ventures out onto his headlining tour, Hayes says that he's excited -- not necessarily just for the headlining aspect, but for knowing that he gets to bring a production with him.
"I get to have a little bit more time to try things, mess around with arrangements -- that's the exciting part; it's the freedom of it," he reveals. "It's a thrill."
He nods to his summer of touring with Lady Antebellum on their Wheels Up 2015 Tour, saying, "I don't feel like [headlining] can survive solely on its own without having experiences and inspiration from the thrill of a tour like this summer ... It didn't feel like we were an opening act per se; it felt very collaborative ... I'm so stoked about what we experienced and what we learned this summer."
Hayes will travel to New York, Ohio, Oklahoma and more on his 21 Tour, and fans will get an up-close-and-personal look at what Hayes has been working on: his new undertaking, The 21 Project, which is set to debut on Nov. 6. Hayes describes it to The Boot as “not a record per se … kind of a box set … an art project." It is a three-disc set featuring acoustic, studio and live versions of seven new songs. Each song will be featured in each format — a total of 21 songs.
The 21 Project is available for pre-order on Hayes’ website, as is additional information on his 21 Tour.
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