MTV Artist To Watch: Hunter Hayes

Meet country singer Hunter Hayes, MTV's latest Artist To Watch.

Meet your new favorite country-pop crossover act: MTV Artist To Watch Hunter Hayes.

No matter what your taste in music, a young prodigy like Hunter Hayes is hard to pass up. The 21-year-old up-and-coming country-pop superstar is on the Taylor Swift fast track to crossover success (remember when Taylor was just “country”?): Not only has Hunter spent much of the past year opening for Carrie Underwood on her “Blown Away” tour, but he’s also opened for Ms. Swift AND Rascal Flatts, and was nominated for THREE 2013 Grammy awards, including Best New Artist. Are we impressed yet?

Learn more about Hunter Hayes after the jump.

Born in 1991 in Breaux Bridge, La., Hunter started playing music at age 2 when his grandma gave him a toy accordion (AW). Then, after a few local performances, a tiny Hunter practically took over national television with some ADORABLE appearances on shows like “Maury,” “Rosie O’Donnell,” and Nickelodeon’s classic game show “Figure It Out.” Also: Can anyone beat this? When Hunter was just 7 years old, he got invited to a White House lawn party to perform for former President Clinton. SEVEN YEARS OLD. And it only gets better: When he was 13, Hunter appeared on “America’s Most Talented Kids,” and then just three years later, at 16 years old, cowrote “Play” for Rascal Flatts’ Nothing Like This album. I think we can all agree when I say: “WHEW.”

Now signed to Atlantic Records, Hunter’s busy promoting his 2011 eponymous record (which he cowrote and played every instrument on, thankyouverymuch), AND is prepping to release a follow-up deluxe edition called (ENCORE), out June 18. Featuring eight new and re-recorded tracks, (ENCORE) will include collabos with everyone from “The Remedy” singer Jason Mraz to country chanteuse Ashley Monroe. (See that? Country AND pop!) As for his singles, Hunter’s best known for hits such as “Wanted,” a gentle piano ballad-turned-slow guitar jam, and “Somebody’s Heartbreak,” a twangy, romantic number that showcases Hunter’s writing ability: “If you’re gonna be somebody’s heartbreak/ Be mine.”

These days, when Hunter’s not releasing brand-new pop-driven singles like “I Want Crazy” and “Light Me Up” (both set to appear on (ENCORE)), he’s getting ready to take over NYC for his MTV “Artist To Watch Live” performance at Webster Hall, which you can livestream RIGHT HERE on Tuesday, June 18, at 6 p.m. ET. PS. That’s also the same day Hunter will release (ENCORE)! #Serendipity.

Get to know Hunter a little bit better below, tune in to his upcoming “Artist To Watch Live” performance tomorrow night at 6 p.m. ET, and grab his (ENCORE) deluxe album when it drops June 18.

+ Listen to Hunter Hayes’ “Wanted.”

+ Watch Hunter Hayes perform “Somebody’s Heartbreak” live.

+ Watch Hunter Hayes perform “Wanted” live.

+ Watch Hunter Hayes perform “Better Than This” live.

+ Watch Hunter Hayes perform “Everybody’s Got Somebody” live.

+ Watch Hunter Hayes talk about how “music is his journal.”

Photo credit: Atlantic Records