With numerous hit singles to his credit, including the ubiquitous “Wanted” and “I Want Crazy,” Hunter Hayes is going out with the old and in with the new these days. His latest radio single, “Yesterday’s Song,” in which the singer-songwriter details moving on from a past relationship, sees him start fresh. Whiling hanging onto his signature, jovial pop-country sound, he also eyes the future. The track samples his forthcoming new studio album, which includes mid-tempo anthem “Amen” and the bluesy “Young Blood” rollick. “[The new album is about] just being 25,” he tells Popdust. “It doesn’t sound like much but I think we can all remember the journey from 18 to 25. If you look at my first record [2011’s self-titled] to now, that’s what that journey has been–forget the music side of it, just as a human.”
“It’s finding confidence, finding strength, finding conviction,” he continues about the album’s core themes, “finding truth, finding humility, finding…all of it. Finding it and then losing it…and finding my place.”
While Hayes remained tight-lipped about when the new album will drop–it is coming in 2017, FYI–he did confess there will be a unique rollout, much like his previous effort, The 21 Project. “I’m really stoked about this new era of this industry,” he says. “For someone like me who loves to be in the studio, the whole idea of ‘let’s rush a record’–I’m excited to live in a time when that’s not the norm anymore. That’s not what’s expected.”
Hayes is also making the rounds promoting his partnerships with Heartgard Plus and Warrior Canine Connection, two initiatives to raise awareness on dogs’ contribution to the healing process for U.S. veterans and service members. He aims to shed light on the importance of staying vigilant about heartworm disease in dogs, as well. “We take every chance that we get to do anything for veterans and active military,” Hayes shares. “We actually just got back from a two-week tour of just military bases and getting to experience their world and see what they do. You have a deep appreciation but an even deeper understanding.”
Heatgard recently launched the Heartgardians campaign, which runs now through June 30. “The dream is to get as many people as possible to tweet or Instagram a story about a veteran, sort of nominate a veteran,” explains Hayes, “with the hashtag nominate a veteran–to tell their story. Every nomination will be matched with $10 from Heartgard to Warrior Canine Connection. Up to $100,000 could be raised.”
From the nominee pool, Heartgard will select one winner for an all-expenses paid trip to Nashville, as well as a one-year supply of Heartgard. “All the while, just having the conversation to elevate our men and women,” he adds.
In our exclusive video Q&A below, Hayes also discusses how he’s witnessed the healing power of dogs, his adoption of a greyhound named Cole, what he has learned through that experience so far and other things.