Eric Hayes the sound trailblazer who inspire us all

 Eric has bravely battled career-threatening neck surgery and has came out with the other side of victorious and with couple of projects.He wrote his single, “Bionic”, with the positive message that you can find power and inspiration. The song talks more about his life, important part is making a positive change in life to overcome obstacles. He has experienced both a troublesome and lovely life. He proves, there is nothing you can’t do, there is, “no right age”, “no right time”. Believe and you can achieve! The music created so far by Eric combines different musical concepts and genres, bringing true emotion, character, and difference to his audiences. 

In HarmonyThrough a mix of talent and tenacity, the versatile Eric Hayes—businessman by day, musician by night—He does it all. The soulful conviction of Eric Hayes floods his audience with a hearty stew of rich tones and silky vibes. Even those whose thirst is never quenched cannot help but set down their drink, close their eyes and give in to the seductive musings of this rising star. Hailing from New Jersey, Hayes is so much more than your all-American musician. His music possesses a stirring, earthy sound that leaves his fans aching for more. His voice is robust. His talent is pure. His passion is unmatched. The Far Hills native and William Paterson University graduate has been the recipient of several positive reviews by prestigious critics. 

Hayes’ credits include collaborating and performing with several big name artists such as Gavin Degraw, Martin Sexton, Bill Withers, Reggae legend Ziggy Marley and soul artist Joss Stone. 2019 has been and continues to be an incredible year for Hayes. In November 2014, 2015 & 2017, Hayes opened for Gavin DeGraw. Hayes is well known for his musical charity work and has headlined exclusive events held by some of the world’s most elite circles of hosts including the opening dinner ceremony for the United States Olympic Wrestling Team. Recently Hayes performed at an annual ASPCA fund raising charity event, attracting more than 2,000 people, during which he reportedly helped raise more than $25,000. 

His song begins with a melodic introduction, allowing the mood to set in. Soon after, the verses fall in, establishing the song’s structure and dynamic energy. During the choruses, this is exactly when the song reaches its emotional and intensity apex. Eric’s vocals are as intense and passionate as ever, showcasing his deep penchant for an authentic storyteller act, and sending positive vibes to the audience. The audience’s response to his new music has been absolutely mind-blowing, prompting the artist to release more songs consistently. We caught up with Hayes to see what he’s currently working on and to get some insight on what drives him to work so much in such a short amount of time. It seems that this artist is setting the bar higher in terms of performance and production alike. In this exclusive interview with Lifoti Magazine, Hayes open ups about his inspiring journey. 

What does your journey as an artist look like, from start to present day?
I began to fall in love with music as a young boy. For me, like for many other artists that I know, music and musical creativity was a therapeutic escape from everyday life. School was not very difficult for me, although I struggled because it did not stimulate or excite my mind. I enjoyed playing many different sports, acted in plays during my middle school and high school years, and made good grades, but I always felt rather bored. If something interested me, like science, English, history, I applied myself, if not, I didn’t. I had a primal urge to explore my God-given talent of making and playing music. It always came very easily for me, starting at a very young age. Why would I not start the journey and see where it could take me! 
I began performing live in talent shows, open mics, and for friends, family, and I loved, how it made me feel to entertain others. I began playing live shows in high school, in bars and night-clubs, and realized that I could make very good money doing something that I loved, and that stimulated my creative side. Through growth as a person, I have found that the journey of an artist truly is just that, it really does not have a specific destination as long as you continue to maintain passion for your music and art, stay creative, re-invent yourself and pivot with the industry, audience and the ever-changing musical climate. 

If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?
I was lucky enough to grow up in a household with a family that loved to bond over music and my home was full of it. My mother loved to play Soul, Funk, Disco and Rock, while my stepdad enjoyed Jam Bands, Folk, Storyteller and Classic Rock. I believe that my personal sound has developed and been influenced greatly by the music that surrounded me as a child. I would describe my music as honest, heartfelt, blue-eyed soul, with a rock, funk and even hip-hop edge. 
However, it is constantly evolving. In my earlier years, I was classically trained, in both voice and piano, and wrote many ballad style pieces. As my musical tasted expanded, I began exploring blues, rock, funk, Rap, Hip-Hop and soul music. I found that vocally, I was able to adapt my personal sound to my changing tastes in music and the changing tastes of the culture around me. I enjoy being a musical chameleon. I have always really enjoyed writing music that may lend itself to a call and response from the listener or audience. Most recently, however, I have been combining several different styles of music with the help of technology, looping stations, and heavier beats and production methods to try to appeal to a broader audience. 

What is the ONE thing you are NOT willing or prepared to do EVER, in your quest to achieve a successful musical career?
I will never give up my core values. I will also never give up or sell my happiness, character, and core values. I believe that one of the enemies of happiness is adaptation. Savoring the anticipation or idea of a truly successful and lucrative musical career is generally more satisfying than the outcome itself. I have been there before. I’ve played with some of the planets finest musicians, and met and spent time with some very talented people in the entertainment industry and unfortunately, most of them never feel successful enough because they are not happy with who they are. 
Once people get what they want -- whether that’s wealth, health, or a “successful music career”-- we all adapt and the excitement fades. Often, the experiences we are seeking end up being underwhelming and even disappointing. When I was younger, all I wanted was to be a “Rockstar”. I had one vision, one goal. Money, expensive jewelry, girls, cars etc. I spoke about it in my TEDTALK, titled-Talent, Purpose and a Life Redefined. After a life-threatening injury, like I suffered. All of those expectations and goals change. If you are not happy, balanced and healthy, success means nothing. 

Do you think music today is enjoyed more for the beats and rhythms or for the lyrical content?
I think that music today is enjoyed more for the beats, production and rhythms more than the lyrical content. Compared to the music that I grew up listening to, that focused on the melody and lyrics combined, the music today seems more designed for the digital aged millennial. Fast, extremely produced, in your face songs, all under 3 min and 30 seconds for radio play, designed for a short attention span. 
I appreciate and love all music, and understand that change is important, so I am starting to write more music for the new generation of listener, which is a fun new challenge for me! Today changes in the technology of music production and distribution are once again forcing musicians to find new ways to make money. Music is a precarious career. Nevertheless, what is encouraging to me is that digital technology is drawing in a new generation of music makers, who are using it to create their own brands of creativity.

How does your live show add to your mission? How do you want fans to feel when they see you live?
I typically and historically have played my live shows on a piano, guitar and or keyboard, with a 4-5 piece band behind me. Now I am incorporating technology to provide a more interesting, unique and exciting experience for the fan and audience, incorporating digital technology like the Boss RC 505 Loop Station, Roland Axe-Edge Keytar, Korg Triton, and Roland Stage Piano. Typically, I want my fans to have an unforgettable musical experience. To evoke emotion, happiness, joy, anger, sadness, etc. I try to perform my live shows in a format that is relatable to my audience. I am beginning to explore and master the marriage of live instrument performance with a band, combined with digital technology- producing a type of hybrid of pure “old school” musicianship and theory infused with futuristic psychedelic feedback. 

Have you been surprised by anyone who’s reached out and said they’ve been influenced by your music?
I have been surprised, touched, and moved by peoples comments who have been influenced by my music. For me it is the most rewarding experience as a musician and artist. Some people tell me that my music inspires them, makes them feel hopeful, or reminds them of a certain time, person, or period in their life that was either great or difficult. I love it, when a stranger comes up to me singing my songs or asking for a photo. I also feel very surprised when people ask me to sing or perform for milestone events in their lives, like weddings, or even funeral. I never really know how to feel when people tell me how “talented” I am. I am humble and thankful, but always tell people that talent is only a small part of it, and that a focused lifelong commitment to listening, learning and practicing is the other. I feel that I have sacrificed many normal human experiences to gain the success that I have as a musician. At 37 years old, most of my friends, have a spouse, children, and family, all things I long for, but cannot commit to while striving making my impact and mark on the world as an artist.

How do you handle criticism? Who has been your worst critic, if any?
My worst critic is definitely myself. I am a perfectionist when it comes to releasing anything to the public that I am not completely satisfied with and feel proud of. I struggle with the concept that art is subjective only because of the rise of social media “trolls”. When I first started releasing original music and even covers, I would always receive overwhelming kind and supportive comments from strangers, musicians, friends and people in my community. However, there was always someone who I didn’t know or had never met, who would proactively go out of his or her way to verbally abuse, bully, or make fun of something that I released I was proud of. That hurt and bothered me for a while, until I matured and realized that these people live to hate, hurt and deflate others. I actively seek out unbiased reviews of my music now and use ReverbNation as a helpful source for that. If people don’t like what I do, HATERS Going to hate, lol I take it as a compliment now! 

You’ve been through a lot in the past few years. You’ve had neck surgery and spinal cord surgery. Can we talk about how you were able to get back into shape to be able to perform and tour? I mean, the neck surgery severed nerves in your tongue. It damaged salivary glands. Did you have to learn to sing or speak again?
I have been through a lot physically and mentally in the past few years. I essentially was losing my ability to play a musical instrument, and more importantly to simply live a pain free, happy existence. After my first surgery, which was ultimately unsuccessful, I lived in tremendous pain and discomfort for 10 years of my life. (From 27 to 37 yrs. old) I fought through the daily pain, numbness, nerve damage, sleepless nights and my deteriorating condition throughout that time, going for monthly acupuncture, pain injections, epidurals, physical therapy etc. It was both physically mentally extremely demanding for me to experience, but I learned to live in pain. Before and after my second, more invasive spinal surgery in 2018, I was extremely concerned and frightened that I would endure even worse results than the first surgery and maybe never walk again. I did have to learn to sing again, play the piano, and do many other everyday things that most would take for granted. With the help of my supportive family, friends and great doctors, nurses and therapists, I have made a remarkable recovery. Fortunately, I had an incredible surgeon who was able to find a permanent solution to resolve the pain and paralysis, and I was blessed with a second chance at life. Through positive thinking, my faith, a warrior spirit, and fighting heart, I beat the odds.

 Do you feel like your voice sounds more lived-in than it did before? I’ve heard singers complain that they’ve been through so much, and you don’t hear it in their voice - you know, that they feel you don’t hear it, that their voice doesn’t sound as troubled as they feel or as worn as they feel or as experienced as they feel.
I have always had an unusual amount of soul and grit in my voice. Before and after my surgery, I felt extremely blessed with a very lucky life. I grew up with an extremely supportive family, in a beautiful, safe, nice town in NJ. I was fortunate to be able to attend a great high school and graduate from a fantastic University, so I don’t know why my voice sounds so lived in, other than the fact that even with all of my blessings, life was not easy for me. I always felt a bit alone, on the outside looking in, like I was born in someone else’s shoes or had an old soul from a different place, culture and time. I always gravitated to the blues culture, the underdog, the less fortunate, the struggling man, for inspiration and I have always felt like I related to and looked to a higher power for answers because of the obstacles that life has thrown my way, that would been extremely difficult to overcome without that belief.

“Bionic” sounds more like a complete message. It sounds more solid like you were saying. Talk about your vision for this record.
Bionic came from my own insecurities. During my recovery period, I felt extremely vulnerable and afraid to live my life as I did before my surgery. I had a brand new, completely artificial Titanium C5-C7 vertebrae and set of discs in my neck. It is hard to explain how that feels unless you have actually experienced it. The very psychology of knowing that fact, is hard to overcome, and the physical scars visible on my throat and neck were a constant reminder that I was not the person that I was before. I am an active man. I love to swim, ski, go hiking, ride my bike, and live my life, and been known for often taking risks without fear to experience the feeling of being alive. During this fearful period, my insecurities were squashed, when my Neurosurgeon explained to me in a follow-up visit after expressing my fears that I “Should STOP LIVING LIKE A PATIENT, AND LIVE YOUR LIFE,” He pointed at my MRI, smiled at me and said “ERIC, YOU ARE BIONIC NOW, YOU CAN DO AND BE ANYTHING, YOUR NECK IS FIXED, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!” 
I realized at that moment, that my only limitations were those that I was putting on myself. It was not the physical trauma that was preventing me from recovering; it was the emotional and mental trauma. It was the first time I really understood the power of the mind. I wrote BIONIC and never looked back. It was a way to remind myself and others that they could through anything. My message for the album is to Keep a strong mind, heart, and focus on whatever is blocking your path, and you will overcome the obstacles and become BIONIC! I feel unstoppable for the first time in my life. Immune to critics, haters, and my own physical limitations. 

What, or who serves as your biggest inspirations, both musically, and personally?
Personally, I am most inspired by the men and woman in our military who sacrifice their lives each day to protect our freedom here at home. I don’t think that I could ever be brave enough to do such a selfless thing. I have the upmost respect for our military and police. I made an unexpected and life-changing friend, named Corporal Todd Love this past year, who inspired me in so many ways. Corporal Love, a young man in his 20’s and United States Marine stepped on an IED, and instantly became a triple amputee, while stationed overseas in Afghanistan. We met shortly after my spinal surgery in 2018 when I was “feeling down” and he put everything into perspective for me, with his positive attitude and spirit, in the midst of diversity and during his own incredible physical battle to overcome obstacles. 
He never complained once, although he is bound to a wheel chair. Todd plays piano and drums with a prosthetic arm and no legs, he also scuba dives, skis, surfs and sky dives. He can do anything most people with a perfectly able body cannot do or would not attempt to do. He inspired me and reminded me that although I was experiencing pain and fear while recovering from spinal surgery, that life could be worse, and he encouraged me to feel thankful and blessed with everything I do have. I have never felt sorry for myself again because of meeting such an inspiration person. I am convinced that people come into your lives for a reason. Corporal Love is one of those people. Musically, I am most inspired by anyone or any band that has been able to navigate through the music industry “bullshit” as it is often referred to and come out with a unique sound, story, and vibe and following. 
It takes a lot more than people think to create yourself, maintain yourself and reinvent yourself as an artist. So many things have to work in your favor. Persistence, resilience, personalities, shared goals, commitment, sacrifice. Some of the artists that I admire most are Martin Sexton, Phantogram, Bob Marley, Ottis Redding, Radio Head, Jay Z, Notorious B.I.G, Gavin Degraw, Rodriguez, Carlos Vives, Andrew Bird, Dr. Dre, Tedeschi Trucks Band and Snoop Dogg, Amy Whinehouse. All extremely different, but all extremely original and incredibly talented and influential artists in my life. 

Can you talk about your charitable endeavors? Do you think other artists could follow your lead and incorporate a charitable aspect into their touring?
I was taught by my Mother, Father and especially my Italian Grandmother, who passed a few years ago, was to be rich in spirit, family, and community and to always give back. She passed these values down to my family by the way she lived. She would always tell me to be kind to everyone. “Everyone has a story, everyone struggles, no matter how much money or material things that they may or may not have.” When I have the opportunity to give back to my community, students or to anyone in need, I do. It has everything to do with being a good person, elevating people, and doing the right thing. I’ve actually made it my mission to do my best to elevate other people and expect nothing in return. It is when you are not looking for a pat on the back, recognition or fanfare that giving really feels good. I would tell other artists who have the opportunity to pick a cause outside of themselves and give to it. It truly is better to give than to receive and rewards will come to you when you least expect it. 

What excites the most about this next phase of your career?
What excites me the most about this phase of my career is that I feel extremely confident about what I am doing and I am creating music with incredible ease. I have overcome obstacles that seemed nearly impossible and I feel stronger, more mindful and better connected to my fans than ever before. I have no fear about sharing my art with the world and I feel impervious to cynics, doubters, skeptics and other distractions that used to bother me. I really feel BIONIC!

Just for fun — You’re stranded on a desert island and you can only take one album, one book, and one movie. What are your must-haves to listen to, read, and watch?
Album: Bob Marley and The Wailers Legend Book: The Great Gatsby Movie: One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest

Are there any projects you’re currently working on right now?
I am currently recording an original album. I have written, produced and recorded nearly 45 original songs in the past 4 months. They include incredibly funky, bluesy, soulful, and hip-hop style sounds. I am currently working with my producer, carefully choosing which songs will make the cut for the Bionic album and which songs are to be released on future albums. My goal is to release two original albums by March 2020. I was also selected by Lagunitas Music for their Original Music Series as an official artist for a tour beginning in early 2020. 

You’ve always championed new music. Are there any recommendations for Lifoti and its readers to check out?
Please check out the incredible musicianship of Andrew Bird’s Album, My Finest Work Yet. Also, please listen to the vocal masterpiece and guitar skills of Martin Sexton’s Live Album- Live Wide Open Photogram new Album Coming soon! CHECK IT OUT! Finally, Marcus King Band is an incredible musician, worth checking out- Listen to the track Rita Is Gone! You will thank me!

Though he was featured in recently released Lifoti's January/February 2020 issue 11, you can check it from below link's for your country:

No comments