Have you heard of Hayd, the new singer/songwriter signed to Interscope Records? If not, you are truly missing out. Hayd is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and producer that is taking TikTok by storm. He has already accumulated 377.5 thousand followers and 6.5 million likes on the platform and it is only the beginning!
Hayd has recently released his latest single, ‘Closure,’ which racked up 10 million views on TikTok alone. And that was just for the preview! He has released the track, along with the lyric video, and we are obsessed. Fun fact! The handwriting in the lyric video is Hayd’s very own! We love when artists put those small little touches in their releases.
We got the opportunity to speak to Hayd about his start in music, growing up in Michigan, and his future plans. Keep on reading to learn a little more about him and his art!
Michigan has a unique music scene! What was it like growing up there and being an artist?
It’s funny really… I feel extremely out of place. I grew up in a quiet small town surrounded by lakes and woods and all that. There’s a common saying in Michigan that “everyone knows everyone.” So even though I was a very small artist at the time, I think a lot of local people had heard of me through the grapevine. I remember in high school, other sports teams would play my music during warm-ups before soccer and basketball games to make fun of me. At my high school graduation, the commencement speaker singled me out and used one of my lyrics as an analogy in his speech. I think stuff like that shows how uncommon it is to make music in Michigan. Ironically enough, big artists like NF and BORNS grew up within an hour of my house.
You learned to produce songs by watching videos on YouTube when you were young, what was the most difficult thing to learn?
The most difficult thing about that whole process was starting. It took me almost two years to be able to produce songs that I was really proud of. Once I got comfortable with music software, producing became much easier. I think a lot of it is trial and error. It takes a while for an artist to find the sound that they’re going for but if they stick it out and eventually find their unique sound, it’s very rewarding.
You’ve also utilized YouTube as a teacher while engrossing yourself in production tutorials. Was there ever a specific content creator you always found yourself going back to, or was it just more compilation of a bunch of different ones?
Definitely the latter. My learning process was all over the place. What video I watched depended on what I wanted to learn that day. I went to Boston one summer to learn music production and sound design at Berklee College of Music. The problem I was running into was that I didn’t want to follow a course or anything like that. I wanted to go at my own pace and learn what interested me. That’s when I realized that YouTube was my best friend. If I wanted to learn how to double a lead vocal, I could just search that up and watch hours of videos about it.
You are a multi-instrumentalist who just continues to broadcast your evolving talent. Which instrument do you enjoy most and why? One you don’t yet play but want to?
I enjoy playing the piano the most. I started playing it when I was four and I feel very connected to it in a weird way. If I feel something strongly or want to express a certain emotion, the piano becomes a natural extension of myself and allows me to communicate those things. I picked up a guitar and ukulele, which I also enjoy. Ever since I heard ‘Cello Suite No. 1’ by Bach, I’ve really wanted to learn how to play the cello.
What inspired you to write the song ‘Changes’ and how did you feel that it had reached people from all around the world that connected with the song?
After watching all of my best friends get married and start new lives without me, I found myself feeling incredibly lonely. My music was gaining loads of traction and yet I felt so unheard… so unseen. On the outside, everything looked great but on the inside, I was hurting real bad. I think the problem was that I was trying so hard to resist the big changes happening in life. I tried fighting them for so long but the moment I understood that I needed to embrace the change rather than resist it, I felt freedom. I’ll never forget the moment I felt that. I wrote the entire song in ten minutes crying over my keyboard in my bedroom. I’m incredibly happy that so many people relate to the song but more than anything, the song means more to me than anyone else. It was healing for me.
The response to ‘Closure’ on TikTok was crazy! Did you ever expect something like that? What has having that following on the platform meant for you? Do you feel the platform is a good source to grow for small artists?
I sent ‘Closure’ to my label and manager and they didn’t really love it that much so I was bummed because I really liked the song. Almost defiantly, I posted it on TikTok to see what people thought and it went viral. I really did think that people would connect with the song but I never expected so many people to.
Having a platform is a funny thing. In a way, it doesn’t feel real to me. Look at it from my perspective: I gained millions of fans during a global pandemic while living with my parents because of a few songs I wrote in my childhood bedroom. I got signed to the top major label in the world and work with the best manager, all of whom I’ve never met in real life. I log off from my college Zoom MacroEconomics lecture to hop on a Zoom writing session with Maroon 5. Meanwhile, I have to take out the trash every week and drive my little brother to school. I think it’s hilarious. In almost every way, none of this feels real. I’m so unbelievably grateful for the platform and fans that I have, I think TikTok is a great platform for any small artist… and I think my life is a testament to that.
You have said that ‘Closure’ stemmed from that feeling of not finding closure after a relationship ending, assuming ‘Closure’ was based on an experience you had. Do you feel that writing the song in itself gave you closure in a way?
Yes, releasing ‘Closure’ gave me a lot of closure, but not how you would think. The song took 6 months to write, went through dozens of lyrical and production revisions, and blew up on TikTok twice before coming out. When the song finally was released I felt like I could breathe for the first time in months. It was such a hectic process of getting the song out. Honestly releasing the song gave me a deeper sense of closure than the heartbreak that the song was originally about.
When you look back at a track like ‘Vacant Eyes’ in comparison to ‘Closure’ or even ‘Changes,’ what do you think is the biggest artistic difference you can see in yourself?
I think I’ve matured a lot as a lyricist and instrumentalist. I love the analogy that Ed Sheeran gives about songwriting. He says that songwriting is like running a new faucet. When it first turns on, most of the water is dirty and gross. Over time, the water gets clearer and there’s less junk in it. Given enough time, the water is all super clean, with occasional pieces of junk coming out. When I first started writing songs, they were horrible. Over time they got better and better and now I find myself writing really well thought out and vulnerable songs. So I think I’m just a better musician all around now compared to a couple of years back.
You’ve written a lot of incredible lyrics, one of our favorite’s being “My winter heart suddenly blossomed right into spring.” What would you say is one of your favorites that you’ve written?
“I’ve been sinking in an ocean, drowning but I’m silent, yet everyone thinks I’m afloat.” – ‘Changes’
This one means the most to me because it encapsulates the meaning of the song. The idea that as humans, we fake how we truly feel, and instead of being vulnerable and opening up about it, oftentimes we hide it and let it rot us from the inside out.
What can we expect from future Hayd? What are your main goals as an artist? What do you want to say with your music?
I have a collection of EP’s coming out that are all interwoven and connected with each other and together they tell a beautiful linear story. I’m so excited not only for the world to hear them but for the few out there who truly listen to music who will dig deep to understand the story that they’re telling. As an artist, I want to be a good translator. I think it’s my job to take abstract feelings and emotions that everyone feels, and put them into words and tangible songs that people can truly resonate with. I want people to listen to my music and understand themselves better.
We are so honored to have gotten to speak with Hayd about his journey into music and his plans for the future, and absolutely cannot wait for new music from him! We love when artists create EPs or albums that connect together to tell a story. The creativity behind a project like that is unmatched, and we cannot wait to see what Hayd has created for his debut with Interscope Records.
So what did you think about our conversation with Hayd? What would you have liked to ask him in this interview? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP! You can also hit us up on Facebook and Instagram!
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Featured Image Credit: Courtesy of Hayd/ Emily Defoor, THP Graphic Design Team Member