Hunter Hayes was wrapping up a performance on NBC’s “Today” when a veteran reached out and put a pair of dog tags in his hand.
What the 23-year-old singer thought would be another of the positive fan interactions he’s become famous for on the country music scene was about to become a profound moment.
“He told me a brief story about how he had gotten [my] record while he was overseas and he had listened to it a lot,” Hayes said in a recent phone interview. “It essentially made me feel like I was doing something right with my music.”
Hayes will be looking to make more moments for troops this fall. He’s doing his first USO show Thursday night at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, and has also thrown his support behind the USO’s Every Moment Counts campaign.
“Every Moment Counts – I love those three words,” Hayes said. “I love that that’s what our current focus is. And the message is the fact that they give so much for us, that every moment with them, we never want to take it for granted.”
Hayes will be making moments on stage throughout his Tattoo (Your Name) Tour this fall, along with his exclusive USO show stops for American troops in Norfolk and Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, on Oct. 11. The 2012 CMA New Artist of the Year and four-time Grammy nominee will equip concert attendees with wristbands from Glow Motion Technologies to create visually dramatic scenes around key parts of the show.
“Most of our shows that we’ve designed have always had a moment dedicated to our men and women in uniform,” he said. “I just feel really strongly that our appreciation needs to be shown in an extreme way.”