New Artist Spotlight: Amber Hayes
By: Chuck Dauphin
If your name is Amber Hayes, walking around the Country Music Hall of Fame—while always a point of inspiration---might have just taken on a new meaning for the Oklahoman this year. Two of her fellow Okies—and influences, Jean Shepard and Reba McEntire, took their rightful place in the Hall.
“It's always great to see women being inducted into the Hall of Fame,” she told Roughstock. “I'm really excited this year because two of my biggest musical influences were inducted. As a fellow Okie, I am especially proud. They are both so deserving! "
Hayes says that Reba has long been an influence on her for her music as well as her business acumen, but with Shepard, there’s a personal connection, as well.
“She’s part of my story,” admits Hayes, to Roughstock.com. “When I was fifteen, she heard me sing at the McSwain Theatre in Ada, OK. There was a show there that I used to sing at growing up. She was there as a guest, and she invited me to come to Nashville two weeks later to sing with her on the Midnite Jamboree at age 15. She was the first person who ever said ‘You know, you need to come to Nashville,’ and gave me a big opportunity. I got to see her on the day it was announced, and she said ‘You’re the little girl from Ada,’ so it was a full circle moment for me. It was really awesome.”
The always-bubbly Hayes is on the fast track to stardom these days, with the success of her current single, “Wait,” as well as role in the upcoming film Cowgirls ‘N Angels. Of her debut on the big screen she says “I’m really grateful to the cast, crew and director Timothy Armstrong for including me and my music in the film,” says Hayes. “I had a wonderful time trying my hand at something new. I’m so excited to see the finished movie next year!”
Also on her mind is her current single, “Wait,” which has been performing well at Country Radio since its’ release a couple of months ago. Of course, the singer has been laying the groundwork for it with an extensive radio tour around her first single, the energetic “C’Mon.” How important was meeting the players at radio for Hayes? She says very, but also the fact that she counts many of the programmers as friends. “Last summer, I went out to all these radio stations, and actually got to meet the radio people…To have them know me as Amber Hayes the artist is pretty cool.”
When asked to describe the song, she said that “I co-wrote ‘Wait,’ and it’s about a chance meeting that we all have. You can be standing in line at the grocery store, or at Starbuck’s or something. You just strike up a conversation with somebody, and then you get your coffee or whatever, and it’s time to go. You have this million and one chance. Are you going to stay there and talk to them. Is there going to be something more to this? That’s what ‘Wait’ is about.”
She also stepped in front of the camera to film a video for the release. “A few months ago, I went to LA and got to shoot the video with Steven Goldmann. I am very proud of it. It is currently on CMT.com, Yallwire, The Gospel Music Channel, and GACtv.com.”
Both singles come from her EP, also titled C’Mon. The release got a huge kick-off last fall with one of America’s most historic Country stations in Amber’s corner, as WSM-AM hosted the launch party for the disc at The Station Inn. “That was such an honor. I’m so thankful that WSM got behind the release of the EP. They have a series called “The Station Inn Sessions,” and I had a whole hour of debuting the EP. It was live on WSM, and it was right before the Grand Ole Opry. It was amazing, and such an honor.”
To Hayes, the letters WSM mean a lot more than just a radio station---it’s a way of life. “I can remember my grandpa telling me about sitting around and listening to the Grand Ole Opry, also the Ernest Tubb Record Shop Midnite Jamboree, and all the other stuff that goes on with WSM. I have such a deep respect for the history of Country Music, and the ones that have come before me. I actually had Jeannie Seely call me the day after the show, and she was driving into the Opry while listening to me. That was a pretty big deal for me,” she says of another of her big influences.
Currently, Hayes can be found on the road. “The past few weeks I've been on the road touring with my label mate Ty Herndon. He is such a great guy and we are having a lot of fun on the road together. I'm meeting lots of wonderful people and cherishing every little moment,” she says, adding that she soon will be going where she’s never been before.
“In August, I'm making a trip to Sweden and then to Japan and China in October to do a series of performances.. I truly am looking forward to that and having the chance to take in a little bit of their culture.”
For more on this rising talent, log on to http://amberhayesmusic.com/