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Country singer Hunter Hayes stops by World Arena

April 17, 2014 Updated: April 22, 2014 at 3:23 pm
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7 p.m. Wednesday, World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd., $35-$49.50, 576-2626, ticketswest.com.

Country singer Hunter Hayes has been a performer since age 2, when his grandmother gave him his first instrument - an accordion.

"I guess they noticed me taking anything around the house and making it an instrument," Hayes says. He'll play at World Arena on Wednesday.

As a tot, he eschewed music lessons and taught himself to play accordion, developing such finesse that he wound up performing on stage at age 4 with Hank Williams Jr. YouTube videos show the crowd going crazy for the tow-headed cherub who sang and played "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" alongside Williams.

"It's weird to watch," the 22-year-old says. "If there is anything but the 'This is so awkward' thought, it's the feeling that I'm really blessed to say that I knew what I wanted to do early on - make music.

"Even though it's me, I can feel that in the video."

Eighteen years later, Hayes has become a member of what he calls the country music family. His first self-titled album was released in 2011, and his second, "Storyline," is set to drop in May.

He won two awards at the American Country Awards in 2012 for the single "Wanted," and he has been invited to tour with superstars Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts.

His current "We're Not Invisible Tour" is named for his recent single "Invisible," which is on the upcoming album. It addresses the hot-button issue of bullying.

"It's the most autobiographical song I've written, without a doubt," he says. "It's saying I know the feeling of being misunderstood or the outcast. The thing I'm aware of is it pales in comparison to a lot of other people's stories.

"I never wanted to admit it when I was going through it, but I'm absolutely better for it, and maybe it helped me find this passion, and gave me the drive to chase my dreams. And now I fit in."

Contact Jennifer Mulson, 636-0270, jen.mulson@gazette.com

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