Three-time Grammy nominated artist Hunter Hayes sure knows how to make his fans feel “wanted.”
Hayes gave CMT employees and select industry members an exclusive sneak peek of CMT on Tour: Hunter Hayes’ “Let’s Be Crazy” during his final tour rehearsal in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 7. And he did not disappoint in doing so.
Guests gathered at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s James K. Polk Theater at 2:30 p.m. for a cocktail reception prior to the event.
Before taking the stage, Hayes was surprised with a platinum album ceremony by John Esposito, Warner Music Nashville president, for the “Encore” edition of his self-titled debut album.
Before Hayes was called to the stage to accept the plaque representing his achievement, Esposito took a moment to brag on Hayes.
Esposito said Hayes is one of only four country artists in the last five years to have a debut album go platinum.
Overall, 7 million tracks have been sold from the album—3.3 million of “Wanted” and 1.4 million from “I Want Crazy” alone, Esposito said.
With three straight No. 1 singles now under his belt, undeniably, Hayes put in a tremendous amount of effort on the album.
Esposito said Hayes played every instrument, co-wrote and produced every song and laid vocals down on every track on the album.
“It still blows me away,” Esposito said.
After Hayes graciously accepted his award, guests refilled their cups and made their way to the auditorium to see the performance.
The stage was set with graffiti-laden equipment that contained lyrics from many of Hayes’ songs.
Once everyone was settled in, Hayes took the stage and didn’t waste any time in getting started with his performance. Throughout the hour and a half show, the musically gifted Hayes showed off his skills on an array of instruments, but most notably on the guitar.
The set was comprised of Hayes’ hit singles, as well as other tracks from his debut album and from other ventures. He even surprised the crowd with a cover.
Though every song was characterized by the 22-year-old’s high energy, and had the crowd clapping and singing along, the room took on a whole new dynamic when the signature “Wanted” piano was rolled out.
The venue erupted in cheers as Hayes gently transitioned from an instrumental introduction into the record-setting single.
Though she didn’t attend the final tour rehearsal, Ashley Monroe is touring alongside Hayes, opening the show with a set of her songs that showcase her trademark originality laced with the familiar sound of traditional country.
Monroe’s second studio album, “Like a Rose,” was released earlier this year. It includes the singles “Weed Instead of Roses,” “You Got Me” and the title track.
Previous CMT on Tour artists include Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Trace Adkins and a bevy of other country stars.
The “Let’s Be Crazy” tour will hit 21 cities this fall, kicking off on Oct. 10 in Knoxville, Tenn., when it hits the Knoxville Civic Auditorium.
The tour will swing by Nashville on Oct. 18-19 as Hayes performs during a two-night stand at the Ryman Auditorium.
Click here to see if one of the 24 shows will hit your city.