Hunter Hayes seemed to have come out of nowhere in 2011. Before most fans knew his name "Wanted" was number one. Hunter became the youngest solo male act to top the Country charts since 1973 (Johnny Rodriguez). Then he won the New Artist award at the CMA's. Just like that the 21 year old had arrived.

Actually, Hunter was already a seasoned vet. At age 2, he started playing an accordion his grandmother gave him. At age 4, he started performing locally and nationally. He appeared on Ellen, Maury and Nickelodeon's Figure It Out. All that by 4! Oh, and his first guitar was given to him by actor Robert Duvall at age 6. A storied young life for Hunter.

This Louisiana native soon became a songwriter and moved to Nashville in 2008 to sign a songwriting deal. One of the hits he penned was Rascal Flatts "Play."

The kid had determination, that's for sure! And he wanted to be noticed. That is exactly how he got on the bill for Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" tour. Taking advantage of the opportunity,he paid attention to how she worked the crowd and created his own stage presence. He also paid attention to one of his heroes, Paul McCartney. He studied how Paul stayed relevant after the Beatles and how he constantly reinvents himself.
What better hero than a guy who has been a most loved artist since the 60's?

What you may not know about Hunter is that he has contributed songs to soundtracks like "Footloose" and "Act of Valor". He is also an ambassador for Martin Guitar.

At 21, he is one of the youngest nominees for a Grammy, too. He wasn't given the nod for one. Or two. How about three! We'll find out in February how many he takes home.

Where will Hunter Hayes be in 5 years? It's a safe bet for me to say, in the top echelon of Country Music. He is making his way like George Strait, Alan Jackson and some others who paved the way for his success; slow and steady. If you aren't a fan yet, now is the time jump on the bandwagon.

Go Hunter!