Hunter Hayes has started to release his new album song-by-song. He opens up to HollywoodLife about why he took a break in writing, and how his new songs show a different side of him.

Hunter Hayes has been our heartbreak, our crazy and our storm warning. Now, he’s coming in hot with some new songs, honest lyrics and a vulnerable side that we’ve been waiting for. While Hunter stole our hearts with so many great hits from his 2011 album, Hunter Hayes, he took the last seven years (with an album in between) to find the words he wanted to share with us once more. “It’s been a process and I’m grateful for it. A lot of hurdles, a lot of soul searching obviously, and, as much as I hate to admit it, I just had to live a lot of life,” he told HollywoodLife in an EXCLUSIVE interview. “Going from 18 to 26 is a big jump, and even though there was an album between that, I wanted to honestly write from the same perspective, from the same sort of spirit that I had in debut album. I was unfiltered then, and it took me awhile to get back to the unfiltered me.”

With a clear theme of blue hues, Hunter has released a series of new songs, one after the other, the most recent being today’s upbeat and real AF song, “One Shot.” “The thing about ‘One Shot’ is that it’s the first time in five years or more, that I’ve written a song by myself — and all of it entirely true,” Hunter candidly revealed. “Stuff like that just started happening and I think that’s when we knew we needed to feed this fire and be open to those things, because I just stopped caring [about what other people thought].”

Hunter’s other new single, “Dear God,” touches on that vulnerability he’s beginning to expose once more, openly questioning God’s plans and choices for his life. “I got caught in this sort of tornado of … I was trying to be what everybody, what I thought everybody else wanted me to be,” he explained. “The problem was, I couldn’t separate someone else’s value of my song from its true value as a work, and so I had to kinda find my way back to believing in my own work, and that’s kinda what opened the door to be able to talk about those things. Now, I choose to narrate the story.”

Wow, we absolutely can’t wait to hear more of the powerful, yet fun and upbeat jams Hunter continues to come out with! And, be sure to listen to “One Shot,” out today, Friday, Aug. 24!

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