Hunter Hayes Is Better After a Breakup During ‘The One That Got Away’ [LISTEN]
Hunter Hayes debuted his new song "The One That Got Away" on Good Morning America on Thursday (Jan. 14). It's a song about moving on and freedom, he says.
The "Wanted" hitmaker's new digital single is a part of Red Sky (Part II), his upcoming album on LP Entertainment. It follows the 2019 album Wild Blue (Part I), which was also released on the independent label. Hayes began his career in 2011 on Atlantic Nashville, but quietly separated from the label.
This new song appears to be something of a post-breakup rejuvenation song, but thus far the singer hasn't told its full story. Fans did notice that he namechecks one of his older hits in the first verse, however.
"I’m not a criminal / Oh no, oh no / But I felt like a prisoner / For so long, so long / And all I ever wanted / Was to love and to be loved / So what did I do to you? / So wrong, so wrong," he sings over a pop-friendly mood.
The GMA performance was a pre-recorded video that followed a very brief remote interview with host Michael Strahan. Sam Ellis and Sara Haze co-wrote "The One That Got Away" with Hayes, a five-time Grammy nominee with a trio of Top 5 country airplay songs (including two No. 1 singles) to his name.
The rest of this new uptempo song describes moving on from a relationship after feeling suffocated or even silenced. If the song was indeed born from his personal life, he's describing someone who held him back on some level. Wild Blue (Part I) did include several songs that detailed a romantic breakup, but this new song feels much more celebratory than melancholy.
"Cause you broke so much more than just a promise / When you made me believe I wasn’t wanted / I could miss you like you want, but if I’m honest / I feel like the one that got away," he sings leading into the chorus. "Don’t know how I escaped / Breathing better 'cause I’m better now / In the middle of the night / Made it to the other side / You can run, but you can’t catch me now / I’m the one that got away."
Hayes was just 20 years old when he debuted with "Storm Warning," a Top 20 single that instantly put him among those expected to lead the genre for some time. Additional songs from his self-titled album (and the encore edition) performed well at radio, but a new album was slow to materialize after one for which he co-wrote every song and played every instrument. "Invisible" (2014) was the highest-charting single from his Storyline album and, ultimately, his final Top 20 single with Atlantic Nashville.
As he's continued to create new music, Hayes has explored other promotional opportunities. In April, he was revealed to be the Astronaut on the hit Fox show The Masked Singer.