Platinum hit maker Hunter Hayes gets his wings today (August 16), releasing his long-in-the-works album Wild Blue (Part 1). The first installment of an ambitious three-part concept album, it was inspired by Hayes’ love of flying and traces the contours of a transitional time in his life and career. Already four albums into his career, the 27 year old was tasked with reinventing his artistic outlook from scratch.
Initially planned for release in February, and then retooled with an expected release date of October, Hayes surprised viewers with the news during an appearance on NBC’s Today earlier this week.
“So, we initially planned to perform on Today and announce our October album release,” Hayes explains in a statement. “However, because the album was finished and because the fans were asking for more new music now, we wanted them to have it as soon as it was ready … and have it all, not just five or six songs.”
Recorded inside his Nashville home so he could tap into his inspiration whenever it struck, free of the constraints of rented studio time, Wild Blue (Part 1) is said to be more experimental than Hayes previous work. The multi-talented musician has more than a dozen production credits on the project — not just as vocalist and songwriter, but also for playing guitar, bass, B3 organ, drums, dobro, programming, producing and more — and Hayes also shared the project’s anthemic pop title track, defined by its massive, wide-open sound, soaring vocals and urgent sense of escape.
“I had nothing keeping me from saying what I wanted, writing what I wanted, producing what I wanted,” Hayes told The Tennessean. “I spent a lot of time writing as if the world was watching, and I decided to make a record as if no one was watching, and that helped me remove all my filters.”
“I hope people hear the hope in its message. There is this sense of flight,” Hayes says, “feeling that freedom and kind of loving the starting-over aspect of it. When you’re holding on to too many things, there’s no way you can possibly do that.”
Hunter Hayes, Wild Blue (Part 1) Track Listing:
- “Madness” (Hunter Hayes, Sam Ellis, Sara Haze)
- “Wild Blue” (Hunter Hayes, Troy Verges, Gordie Sampson)
- “Heartbreak” (Hunter Hayes, Thomas “Tawgs” Salter, Gordie Sampson, Simon Wilcox)
- “One Good Reason” (Hunter Hayes, Sam Ellis)
- “Dear God” (Hunter Hayes, Andy Grammer, Dave Spencer)
- “Loving You” (Hunter Hayes, Jordan Reynolds, Dave Barnes)
- “My Song Too” (Hunter Hayes, Jordan Reynolds, Dave Barnes)
- “One Shot” (Hunter Hayes)
- “Night and Day” (Hunter Hayes, Derrick Southerland, Sam Ellis)
- “Still” (Hunter Hayes, Troy Verges, Tommee Profitt)