July 14, 2023 | Images Courtesy of Hayes Warner
Hi! Thanks for your time, tell us a bit about who you are!
Hey! My name is Hayes Warner and I’m a singer-songwriter from NYC. I love writing about real life experiences - whether it’s about me, my friends, or random stories they tell me. I’m not really a confrontational person in my real life, so my music is an outlet to let out some much needed sass and aggression. Writing helps me figure out how I actually feel, separate from worrying about what I should say or do or think. My favorite artists of all time are definitely Gwen Stefani (her No Doubt era is iconic), Joan Jette, and Blondie. My favorite part about being an artist is getting to perform my music live, and I’m super lucky to have had a year filled with show dates - I performed at SXSW in Texas, sold out a Northeastern Headline tour, and performed at an iHeart Radio Festival showcase in Las Vegas. I’m so excited to be opening for Lewis Capaldi this October and can’t wait to announce more tour dates soon!
What was it like signing your first-ever publishing deal with Daniel Glass & Connection Music?
As a songwriter, it was surreal to have a music legend like Daniel Glass and his company validate my songs. I’ve been writing lyrics and songs my whole life —in my notes app and the margins of notebooks— it’s such a big part of my life and how I express myself and try to understand things I’m going through. To be able to have this as my full time job is truly a dream come true for me. This is all I’ve ever wanted to do really, so to get a stamp of approval from Glass helped me realize that following my dreams — even though it’s scary and uncertain sometimes — was the right choice for me. People always preach “follow your dreams,” and of course I want to believe in that, but signing my first publishing deal was the first time I really felt the benefits of taking that leap.
Your new single is called "Dead To Me." What is the backstory behind the song?
I wrote “Dead To Me” when I found out my boyfriend at the time was cheating on me with one of my friends. When it happened, I was obviously devastated, but honestly I was just pissed. Rather than take that anger out by screaming or digging a deep hole and burying him in there, I decided to do what I do and write a song about it. "Dead To Me" is about the moment I confronted him about the cheating — about sitting there as he was trying to apologize, but knowing he was only giving me an apology because I found out. My sarcastic tone throughout the song is my way of expressing my anger and turning this super demeaning thing he did to me into an uplifting, funny event. My sarcasm is me taking back my power.
What did the creative process look like for this song specifically? How did it come together?
I wrote this song with pretty much the same team I wrote my first single "SHUT UP" with. I knew I wanted to write about the experience of being cheated on, but I wanted to make it uplifting and powerful - an anthem rather than a sad ballad. We started with the chorus - “Are you sorry? No I bet you're not. You’re sorry, 'cause you just got caught.” That immediately set the tone for the song, that I wasn’t begging for any sort of apology. He betrayed me, and one strike and I’m out. Even though the song is about something that hurt me, it’s an empowering way to cut someone who wasn’t good for me out of my life. I think learning to stand up for yourself and say “that’s it, I’m done” when you’ve had enough is a super important and hard part of growing up. "Dead To Me" is my way of expressing that, of cutting someone off, and realizing there isn’t room in my life for people who don’t make me feel good or who treat me poorly. People that betray me like that do not exist to me or exist in my life anymore.
If you were to describe your work to someone who has never heard your music before, how would you describe it?
Anthemic, uplifting, sassy, high-octane, and in-your-face.
What is the most exciting part about releasing 'Dead To Me' in your opinion?
"Dead To Me" really reflects an attitude I’ve tried to take-on in my life and is super present throughout my EP. If you are someone who is not good for me, I have no problem cutting you out. For so much of my life, I’ve been so afraid of what people think of me and my music. Although I can still be a people pleaser, my life has improved exponentially now that I only surround myself with people who lift me up and support me. My EP as a whole really speaks to that theme - with "SHUT UP," "Dead To Me," and a bunch of new singles on the way.
Describe your journey in music so far and your goals.
My sound has definitely shifted over the years, especially as I’ve grown up and matured a bit. I started writing seriously when I was 14 years old and connected with different producers I met growing up in NYC. My sound was definitely more mellow and ballad-like at the beginning - à la my past singles like “Like You’re In Mine.” As I’ve tried to shed my crippling social anxiety and people pleasing attitudes, my music has begun to reflect this newfound confidence with more anthemic and belting melodies. I’m really proud of how I’ve grown these past few years as a person, and that is reflected in my upcoming EP.
Over this year, my goal is definitely to play live as much as possible and go on tour so that I can connect with people that like my music. I’m so excited to release my EP and announce some exciting tour dates I have coming up!
Speaking about fans, how has it been interacting with them on social media?
I feel like I’ve really been able to connect with people around the world because they relate to my music, and in turn, experiences I’ve gone through. There’s a group of people that I feel super close to because they’ve connected to my music, and we keep in touch on social media. I love sending them unreleased music and photos and getting their opinion on what song I should release next, what cover art to go with, or even just chatting about life or what I’m writing about. Whether it's through Discord, Instagram DMs, TikTok comment sections or Zoom, I’m constantly chatting with people who have connected with my music. Connecting in this way is definitely one of my favorite parts about music and what it can do. I’m releasing my songs in hopes to connect with people, so getting people who support my music’s opinion on my next moves is really valuable and important to me!
You've done some pretty amazing gigs like opening for Fetty Wap and headlining a tour recently, how was your experience in putting on those thrilling shows?
My favorite part of being a singer-songwriter is definitely live shows and getting to connect to audiences that
What do you want fans to take away when they listen to your music?
Definitely empowered, sassy, confident. My new project is really focused around gaining confidence to be my truest self and speak up - and not care about people judging me for being my truest self.