Hunter Hayes breaks down his new 'Red Sky' project and unique approach to songwriting

'I'm a singer/songwriter; I was 15 years ago when I moved to Nashville. Always have been'
Hunter Hayes
Photo credit Audacy Check-In
By , Audacy

In celebration of his brand new album, Red Sky, Hunter Hayes stopped by the Hard Rock Hotel New York for an Audacy Check In with host Mike Adam.

LISTEN NOW: Audacy Check In with Hunter Hayes

Hunter Hayes' Red Sky, which was released on April 21, marks the singer and songwriter's first fully-independent album in more than 10 years, showcasing a new, adventurous side to Hayes’ music. "[My last album] was the optimistic dreamer, looking out of a window and dreaming about adventure,” Hayes says of his previous collection, 2019's Wild Blue. "'Red Sky' is very much the actual adventure. It has been my diary, my journal alongside a very adventurous part of my life."

Speaking with Audacy's Mike Adam about his new venture, Hayes says both albums were "originally part of a trilogy... and it may still be, I don't know. To be fair, it was part of a trilogy based on contractual obligations. I was like, 'This is how I can both fulfill that but also fulfill my need to be an artist and be creative.'"

When his situation changed, he knew he needed to figure out a new approach. "This project, 'Red Sky,' is actually a combination of all three projects I was working on. I like working two or three projects ahead because you can be creative without that 'when is it gonna be done, thing' going on; you can write, you can produce, and there's no expectation, there's no pressure. I was creating a lot of stuff that I was really having fun with while thinking 'Red Sky' was going to be this very carefully curated, slow move into the rest of the things that I do. I was very encouraged by my team, my manager Val, the whole team just said, 'Why don't you just find a way to include all of it in this project? Show the world all of who you are and all of what you do.'"

WATCH NOW: Audacy Check In with Hunter Hayes


"It made a lot of sense when it all got put together," Hayes admits, "and there's still 50 songs that haven't made the album that I still want to put out. I don't know what I'm gonna do with them."

Always a few steps ahead of himself, Hunter says he "already track listed three other albums yesterday on the plane based on what's not made the project, so I don't know what'll happen with it but we'll see." Fans can rest assured though, Hunter doesn't want to keep anyone waiting as long as they did in between his last two releases.

Hayes' drive to keep creating music is inspired, at the top of the list he says, by Prince, explaining how the late artist would record a song a day and add it to his vault. "I kind of work the same way, even though I don't do it all in one day, I like working in phases," he says. "I like being the songwriter... the musician, the splatter paint kid, and then I like being the producer... but it still all happens in a couple of days. When a song comes to life -- when you download it from the universe, as you will -- you have to commit to it quickly because the clear vision of what it wants to be only shows up for a short amount of time... after that, you're just f***ing with it, you're just screwing it up the more time you spend with it. So, I would love to get to a point where I could put more music out more consistently because that's the way that I work."

Touching on Hayes' start in Country music, which he has been steering away from in a way reminiscent of Taylor Swift's journey into Pop, he says he believes "everybody has to make their own blueprint because I really struggled with 'who is the artist that I should be, or emulate,' and that's never done me any good... My dream is for people to look back at my career and go, 'I wanna do something like what Hunter did,' in that it's so individual, so unique, and so full of its own unknown and newness. I'm a singer/songwriter; I was 15 years ago when I moved to Nashville. Always have been."

Don't miss Mike Adam's full Check In with Hunter Hayes above, and stay tuned for more conversations with your favorite artists on

Hunter Hayes - Red Sky traklisting

High Tide
About a Boy
Missing You
Lonely Loves Me
If You Change Your Mind
Someone Will
The One That Got Away
Could’ve Been You
Falling and Flying

To celebrate the album release, Hayes will also head out on The Red Sky Tour, beginning on May 3, with tickets on sale now. Check out the full list of scheduled dates below.

Listen to Audacy All New and more on the free Audacy app

LISTEN on the Audacy App
Sign up and follow Audacy
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Featured Image Photo Credit: Audacy Check-In