“‘Wanted’ is very much a love letter. It was written basically just to tell a girl how I felt about her,” Hunter told Radio.com. “It didn’t actually work but I’m okay with that. I got my single, I got my song and I’m okay with that.”
He got much more than that. The song (which Hunter cowrote with Troy Verges) reached Number One on Billboard‘s Country Songs and Country Airplay charts. It also earned him a GRAMMY nomination earlier this year, and now it has been nominated for both Song of the Year and Single of the Year at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards. The video for the song has also been nominated for Video of the Year.
On top of that, Hunter was in the running for the fan-voted Best New Male Vocalist as well (his James Bond-themed voting campaign videos are clever and still fun to watch), though that nod wound up going to Brantley Gilbert.
Hunter further explained to us how “Wanted” came together.
“I went in to write this song and I was definitely just desperately trying to get the point across to this girl,” he said. “Those are the songs that really write themselves very quickly. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about this one or over-thinking it.”
Hunter said he isn’t exactly sure how “Wanted” happened, as he just spoke the words “into outer space and we just typed everything we could think of.” Later, he sat at the piano as the rest of the lyrics fell into place.
“It was something I really wanted to say and I was trying to figure out the best way to say it.”
One of the youngest ACM Award nominees (he’s currently 21), Hunter wrote, produced, and played every instrument on his debut album Hunter Hayes. Hunter is also one of the few country artists to see crossover success on the pop charts, too. “Wanted” reached the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100, and it was the fourth highest-selling country single of last year, Billboard reports. It is nowcertified double platinum, with sales of over 2 million copies.
Hunter’s No. 1 record-breaking hit makes him the youngest solo male act to top the Country Songs charts, surpassing the record previously held by Johnny Rodriguez, who topped the chart in 1973 with “You Always Come Back to Hurting Me.”
Will Hunter Hayes win an ACM Award for his love letter “Wanted?” Tune into the ACM Awards on Sunday, April 7 on CBS to find out.