Some Southern Travel Tips From Hunter Hayes

Posted June 22

The third O Music Awards is nigh, and for a lot of us City Slickers over at HQ, this will be our first time motoring through the Southern states. In anticipation of our impending cross-country roadtrip, the O Music Blog called up country singer Hunter Hayes — who will be performing during the show and who just so happens to hail from Louisiana — for some travel tips.

For those of you residing under rocks, the next O Music Awards is kicking off on June 27 at 7:30pm EST in Memphis, Tennessee, and will stretch across 24 hours and 8 cities in the form of a road trip. In addition to giving away awards and the like, we’ve also enlisted the Flaming Lips to break the Guinness World Record for the most live concerts in 24 hours (multiple city) during the show, as well as an eclectic selection of performers to play with/open for the band. Hunter Hayes is one of those intrepid performers. He will be playing a show at Benny’s Boom Boom Room in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, at the very rock ‘n’ time of 6:30 a.m. on June 28.

Check out our Q&A with Hayes below for more on the show, his favorite apps and where to eat while kicking it down South.

So we’re pretty excited to have you as part of the show.

I’m excited, too! To be honest, I didn’t know anything about it when they called, and when they started telling me about it I was like, ‘Whoa, back up, let’s go over this one more time. What’s happening?’ I think it’s really awesome; such a great concept. I love how we’re sort of mixing the worlds in — this sort of old-school touring, ‘Let’s break the record.’ This sort of online presence, awareness, I love it. I’m thrilled that I get to be a part of it.

Are you a Flaming Lips fan?

Yeah, I definitely love true music-makers, for sure. I love the fact that we’ll be on the same bill, and especially at 7 o’clock in the morning, or whenever we’re playing. It’s such a cool mashup of musical corners of the world.

Have you ever played a show that early before?

Well, anybody who has done the morning TV thing, you develop a system where your body and your mind sort of says, ‘OK, you have to set up, you gotta load in, you gotta soundcheck. You have to do one or two songs — like a morning show.’ I built this system and mentally go there when I have to do a morning show, like, ‘You have to get to bed early, you have to get ready for it.’ You’re up early and you do the show and you’re rock ‘n’ rolling.

But doing a 45-minute show at 7 o’clock in the morning, that’s a totally different game. I somehow feel like I’m just going to spend the whole night awake and just play it like it’s a really late show. I keep late hours to begin with, so it’s so tough to manage that. But I’m up for the challenge. The good thing is that I have two days before to prepare for it and get the body clock sort of adjusted.

Have you ever played in Hattiesburg before?

No, I haven’t actually, which is funny because I’ve passed Hattiesburg dozens of times — thousands of times. It’s sort of along the route from Nashville to my home in Louisiana. We pass it all the time, but we never stopped. I never had the chance to play there. This will be my first time. Hopefully not my last.

So I know — when it comes to the OMA staff — that it will be the first time we’ve visited a lot of these towns. As a Southern resident, do you have any tips for us?

If you hear about something called a ‘meat and three,’ it’s the best thing in the world. What it basically comes down to an entree and three sides. It’s typically like a cool cafe, and it’s typically like one brilliant homecooking genius chef who has probably been cooking for their family for years and it’s typically the best food in the world and the best service as well. It’s typically run by people who just who enjoy cooking and entertaining for their families and decided to do a restaurant.

You sort of get the vibe that you’re walking into someone’s house most of the time — it’s this fun atmosphere, everybody knows everybody. If you hear about any sort of meat and three, go, because it’s the best food in the world. It’s the only sort of restaurant you should visit when you’re on the road. As far as homecooking goes, they’ve got it right. If everybody in town says, ‘Oh, there’s this great meat and three,’ go and don’t look back. It’s a guarantee.

So we’re ending in Louisiana, what do you recommend seeing there?

When you go to New Orleans or any place in Louisiana, in my opinion you have to go and spend almost like two days there. You can’t really go for one day and really get a sense for it, you have to at least spent two to three days there — enough to pick up the accent. It’s so rich in culture and heritage and history — it’s a totally different kind of history. It’s really fascinating. Good people and good times. It’s one of those places when you go, you have to spend — it keeps increasing — I would say a week there. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Since music and tech is so deeply integrated into our show, what apps or programs are essential to you while on the road?

I’ll tell you, I spend most of my time on Final Cut. We try to capture as much content as possible. I carry my camera around with me wherever I go and I love filming stuff and I love just doing random stuff. I love capturing content, but it’s so hard to get content with me in it — because I’m always the one with the camera. But we capture so much content on the road; I’m constantly in Final Cut just laying down the material, trying to get it to where we can put it out on the Web and let everyone see where we’ve been. It’s definitely the new journal, in my opinion.

Do you anticipate some pretty interesting videos from this trip?

Yeah, I don’t know how we’re going to capture it. I don’t know how we’re going to tell the whole story, because there’s so much to tell from just a 10-hour period. But we’re definitely going to try to catch every minute of it. It’s going to be funny. A lot of delirium and a lot of music-making.

Image courtesy of Hunter Hayes, Facebook