Sometimes it takes a while to capture people’s attention. This goes for any profession, but especially in music. Such is the case of troubadour Sean Hayes. The 42-year-old musician had been toiling in musical obscurity, flying below the radar, yet building a following of dedicated fans who enjoy his brand of folk-meets-indie-meets soul.
Hayes has cited various influences ranging from the soul, folk, R&B, reggae, and gospel artists as diverse as Otis Redding, James Brown, Joni Mitchell, The Anthology of American Folk Music, American Primitive, Volumes 1 and 2 (pre-war gospel compilations), and Nina Simone. He says in his bio, "I also love Bob Marley and his rhythm section. I think of him as more folk than reggae."
Born in New York City, Hayes started playing music while living in eastern North Carolina. It was then where he became familiar with the bluegrass that is popular in the region and he subsequently began playing live in the Carolinas before eventually settling in San Francisco.
Many music listeners may not be familiar with him, but that doesn’t mean that his colleagues aren’t. Hayes has toured with musicians ranging from Ani DiFranco to the Cold War Kids and believe it or not, you may know more about his music than you think. Per his bio, Hayes' songs have been re-mixed by DJ Mark Farina ("Dream Machine"), covered by The Be Good Tanya's ("A Thousand Tiny Pieces"), been featured on HBO's Bored to Death, and used in a TV ad campaign for Subaru ("Powerful Stuff"). Needless to say, he’s been around, but you’ve had to do some research if you really wanted to know who he is.
Now, with the release of his acclaimed new record, Before We Turn To Dust, Hayes is finally garnering the attention he deserves. His music is being played on radio stations all over the country, introducing him to a wider range of educated music listener. Inspired by the birth of his child, the album traces all of the natural emotions one goes through during this time of change.
Though he’s steadily released albums since 1999, Sean Hayes is an artist on the rise. Why you ask? Easy. When you have the talent that he has and been flying under the radar for whatever reason, the universe eventually gives in and gives you what you deserve. Hayes isn’t going to show up on the radio or album charts, but that’s not the point here. When you make music that’s true to what you stand for, then it is successful. Fortunately for Hayes, fans are starting to buy what he’s selling.