AMBER HAYES: Interview "C'mon"

As her bio states, Amber Hayes was born an entertainer. She was singing, performing, even hosting her own 30-minute Country music show, "Amber & Friends" at state fairs, private parties and corporate events by the time she was eight.
Over the years, Amber's talent and performances have garnered recognition and awards. She was chosen as one of "America's Ten Most Beautiful Children" by Globe Magazine, crowned "Junior Miss of Oklahoma," was a National Finalist in "America's Kids," and was a finalist for Disney's television show, "The Mickey Mouse Club" along with Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson. Since moving to Nashville a few years ago, Amber has had many opportunities to share the stage with some of country music's hottest new stars like Rodney Atkins, as well as legendary artists Marty Stuart, T.G. Sheppard, Jeannie Seely and others. She also nabbed the coveted role of Kathy Twitty in the national touring play, "It's Only Make Believe – The Conway Twitty Musical," about the life and music of Conway Twitty. The play debuted to rave reviews and a sold out crowd at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville before touring the country. Amber recently signed with FUNL Music and has been on a radio tour to promote the title single and video from her new album, "C'Mon” which was released in June.

Amber took a moment out of her busy schedule to visit with me about the journey so far and her dreams of making a place of her own in country music.

Bev: I know that you have been working towards this point in your career for a long time. Give me a quick look back at your career to this moment.

AH: I started singing when I was about five. My parents were going through a divorce and my Grandma decided I needed something to do. She took me to dance lessons and I was so shy I wouldn’t even get out from under the table. The teacher suggested I take private lessons instead, so I started the private lesson where I was asked to sing and that is when they found out I was a singer. From that point on, I started singing and at age eight, I had my own show. I traveled around Oklahoma to the fairs and festivals. I was in a talent organization and a school that toured and then two weeks out of high school, I moved to Nashville. Since then I have been working really hard to get to this point. It is so exciting to see how it has all come about; it has been a great couple of years.

Bev: Have there been any surprises since you moved to Nashville; things that you thought were going to go a certain way or happen a certain way and you have found out it is totally different than what you thought it would be?

AH: I think everything is like that. When you move to Nashville, you think things are going to happen with a snap of the finger, but that is not the way it works. Also, it is overwhelming to see all the talent in Nashville around you all the time, but I think that makes you better. You can either be scared or it can make you better. Timing is everything; it’s not your time, it is everyone else’s time. They may or may not call you back for a couple of weeks; you may be in limbo that is the way it is. I know there are other businesses like that other than the music business, but you learn a lot from this.

Bev: What has been the most scary or overwhelming part of the journey for you?

AH: The fear that it may not ever happen. I guess I know that it is going to happen and I am going to make a living singing. What your dreams are, are not necessarily what might happen; I guess that is my fear and it is scary. I am working hard; I just keep going and I am so happy to be where I am right now.

Bev: When you have those moments when you second guess everything, what do you do, what picks you back up to motivate you and kick you back into gear?

AH: I don’t have any children yet, but I think of my nephew and I want him to have certain things and I want to work hard so I can give him things. My family has worked so hard for me. My Grandparents would take me all over Oklahoma every weekend and I don’t want to let them down. That is very motivating to me.

Bev: You also write. Everyone has their own style and technique. What do you do? Do you have certain days, certain times? Where do you find you write best at?

AH: Yes, I write and I find my best place is on the road. We have been doing a radio tour the last few months and a co-writer friend has been out there with me playing guitar. We have been writing so much and I find that I write my best material when we are out on the road. I don’t know if it is motivated by going from town to town or what. I am from a small town; I talk about that in my songs and when I travel through these small towns, I might see something and I can pull from that. Writing for me, has to come natural and I think that is why I am picky when I start to write, if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. You just have to go with the flow and that is something I have learned. I wasn’t a songwriter when I moved here and I realized quickly, the need to be both a singer and a songwriter.

Bev: When you choose songs that you want to perform, do you prefer to have songs that have a connection to something you could have lived or are you content to sing about anything?

AH: I would rather sing about something that I could have gone through or lived. That is one thing about being a co-writer on songs, is you typically have been there. Even if it isn’t something you have lived, it is something your friend or co-writer has been through. I know there are great songs out there that I have not been able to live, that I would maybe be able to get the message across, but I would prefer the other.

Bev: When you perform and do meet and greets afterwards, have there been any fans that have come up to you and told you of something that touched them emotionally to where you will remember that person or that moment?

AH: During the radio tour this summer, I was at a station in Georgia, live on the air talking to Steve Ferguson, the DJ. He looked up and pointed; I looked up and turned around and a fan had stopped into the station to meet me. I went “she stopped to meet me?” For her to come to the station because the music touched her and because she wanted to meet me, that was so cool and something that I will always remember. She was so nervous and I told her to stop, don’t be nervous, I am just a normal girl. I was so honored that she would come to meet me.
Bev: What has been the reaction during the radio tour? Are there any stories you can tell about going into the radio stations?

AH: For the most part, everyone has been so great. I know there are a lot of us that are trying to do this, I am very aware of that. I just try to be me when I go in there and not be some pushy person telling them that they have to play my single. They either get the song and you, or they don’t. I hope they do. I have had a great experience. My whole family got to hear me on the radio for the first time in Bristow, Oklahoma. They actually came to the station and were there when I walked out. We met in the road while the song was playing and we danced and we cried. They have put a lot of hard work into all of this. That is a day I will never forget. It is a first that will never happen again. We have it on video.

Bev: What is next?

AH: The EP is going to come out August 31st and we are planning a showcase in Nashville September 2nd. It will be a CD release and will be broadcast on WSM at the Station Inn. I am a lover of traditional country music so anything to do with The Grand Ole Opry or WSM, I get excited about. We have some dates in the fall, but we are still doing radio shows.

Bev: Most artists say they have “made it” when they play “the Opry”. Have you done anything on the Opry stage yet?

AH: I played the Ryman twice and that was such an awesome experience and an honor to be on that stage. I have never been on the Grand Ole Opry and never played that stage but that is one of the biggest dreams I have. I have a 94 year old Great- Grandmother and we are very close. She says she is living to see me sing on the Grand Ole Opry, so no pressure. She is excited and when she heard me on WSM at CMA Fest she said, “You’re getting closer, just one more step.” That is one of my biggest dreams.

Bev: Was this your first CMA Fest?

AH: As an artist, yes. I did the CMA Fest last year with the Twitty musical and we played the Ryman, but this is the first time as an artist. All the people I talk to on Facebook and Twitter that come to CMA Fest; they came to see me at the booths. It was fun to meet all the fans and introduce myself as a new artist.

Bev: You said some of the older artists inspired you. Who are your icons and the people you tend to lean towards?

AH: My top three are, Reba, being from Oklahoma. She is from a small town like me and the fact that she did what she has done is so inspiring to me; just the performer that she is, is amazing. Dolly, as a songwriter, I love her. She is brilliant in everything she does. Barbara Mandrell was a big influence for me as a performer. She is the best and puts on such a great show. I hope that is the kind of show I can put on.

Bev: Because you have the acting and the singing, do you see yourself putting on a show somewhat like the Barbara Mandrell show?

AH: I would love that! A TV show or hosting or even Broadway or theater. I would like to have some of that in my live show. I think Reba and Dolly do that to a degree too; they have their own versions and hopefully, I will have my own version.

Bev: I know you are active with the social media outlets like MySpace, Twitter and Facebook; how do you handle that? Do you enjoy it or do you find it gets to be too much information out there? How do you control that?

AH: You have to have a balance when you get down to it. I think about Dolly and Barbara Mandrell; they didn’t do Facebook or Twitter. There are pros and cons, but I do think it is so great, as a new artist, to be able to reach people. They are getting to hear me where otherwise they may not have ever heard of me if they weren’t on one of those sites. It is important for them to know you, but there has to be a balance. If you do it well, they can get to know you without knowing too much. As a performer, entertainer and artist, when you make the decision that this is what you are going to do, there is going to be a part of your life that is always out there. It comes with the territory.

Bev: Is your single available for purchase or download currently?

AH: Remember the EP is coming out August 31st and the single “C’mon” is available on ITunes, Amazon and other places. It is on the radio so call and request it. We have the CD release party coming up on September 2nd here in Nashville so if you are here in town, make sure you come out. We have a really great new site at It is a behind the scenes video site and you can view my EP there. I have some of the Twitty musical things up also.

For more information on Amber Hayes visit

Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great, great article on a great new artist! Amber was so great in the Conway Twitty Musical! She's got the "it" factor and I love the fact that she's country and respects her roots! Thank you for supporting the Indie artist!