Hayden Haddock practically exploded onto the Texas country music scene in 2018. Admittedly without much of a marketing plan, Haddock’s debut EP, First Rodeo, has amassed more than 500,000 streams on Spotify, and is landing him major opening slots on the Texas circuit.
With the release of his new single “Red Dirt Texas” in late November, Haddock appears to have totally avoided the sophomore slump on his upcoming album of the same name. Feeling like he has a better vision of who he is as an artist and the talented Trent Willmon serving as his producer, Haddock is perfecting his craft and looking to take his career to the next level with his new release.
Read along as Haddock talks about the huge success he’s had over the last year, all about “Red Dirt Texas,” what listeners can expect to hear on the album, what he has learned since First Rodeo, and more!
Pro Country: The last time we talked, you had just put together a full-band and First Rodeo’s streaming numbers were taking off. What has the last year been like for you?
Hayden Haddock: It’s been awesome! We got the band together, and we’ve done pretty much nothing but full band shows ever since. Doing full band shows has really opened up a bunch of new opportunities in terms of getting to open for bigger artists and getting to play bigger venues. People seem to like us is a full band, so that’s really helped with getting my name out there.
First Rodeo, being my first release of music, really got my career going in the right direction. The Spotify stuff has still been coasting, but I think we’re getting to that point where we needed to start working on a new project and get something new out. First Rodeo was starting to plateau and do what it was going to do, and I’m super excited to get this new stuff out!
Pro Country: You newest single “Red Dirt Texas” was written by David Lee Murphy, Kevin Fowler and Terry McBride. What was it about the song that drew you to record it?
HH: This song is awesome solely because of the people who wrote on it. Me and my producer, Trent Willmon, were sitting down one day going through what songs we had for the new album; looking at what we had written and a couple outside songs, and we started talking about what we were looking for. I told him that I would like to have a song about Texas, and he pulled out the demo “Red Dirt Texas.” It was actually David Lee Murphy singing the demo, which was awesome in itself. I tell everyone that within the first five or six words when says Whataburger, which is one of my favorite fast food restaurant living here in Texas, I knew I needed the song [laughs]. We both talked about how much we loved it, and he called up those guys to see if they would okay me recording it. The next day he called me and told me that “Red Dirt Texas” was mine!
Pro Country: “Red Dirt Texas” is the first single from your upcoming album of the same name. Why did you decide to release this song first and name the album after it?
HH: We all decided on that together. I knew it’d be “Red Dirt Texas” or another song that’s going to be on the record as the first single, and Trent said it should be “Red Dirt Texas” without a doubt, because it’s his favorite song on the new album. We asked a couple other people I trust, and everybody agreed on “Red Dirt Texas.” I think it’s mainly because it’s not that I’m trying to keep my career in Texas or that I dislike anywhere else. Trent worked with Cody Johnson, and I told him that I like the career path that Cody took; he tackled Texas first and got all of Texas loving him. If you can tackle Texas, you already have a pretty big following, and that should help get your name out there.
Pro Country: Red Dirt Texas was produced by Trent Willmon. What is it like working with Trent in the studio and what can you take away from that experience?
HH: That’s been the coolest thing in my career so far, and I’ve even said that to him plenty of times. Working with someone of his caliber has been awesome. It can be a little intimidating at times because of his connections and experience. The first time I went to Nashville, he booked a few songwriting sessions with top tier writers; writers that it usually takes years to get writes with. Even outside of working on my project, his insight on other experiences is great. I’m a big Cody Johnson fan, so when he starts talking about Cody, it’s really cool. Trent is just super talented, a great songwriter, and he’s the most humble, down to earth person there is. When I go to Nashville, Trent and his wife treat me like I’m a part of their family. I stay at their house, they cook me dinner, the whole nine yards.
Pro Country: What can listeners expect to hear from the Red Dirt Texas album?
HH: This album will definitely be a step up from First Rodeo. I don’t mean that in a negative way, I just think that over the last year and a half, I’ve grown as an artist, my songwriting has gotten better, I’ve gotten more comfortable in the studio, and in working with Trent and a lot of the other big writers, we have better quality songs on this one. Sometimes that makes the difference. This album is going to showcase who I am as an artist, and show how hard I’ve been working over the past two years.
Pro Country: What did you learn from the release process of First Rodeo that will help you this time around with Red Dirt Texas?
HH: The main thing is that we learned to never release music in the month of December [laughs]. That was the biggest mistake we made. We didn’t know what the hell we were doing at all in terms of any of that. Now, we’re fortunate enough to be working with people whose job it is to make sure we don’t make mistakes like that [laughs]. We didn’t even really have a date for that EP release back then, we pretty much just sent it to iTunes for verification and told them to put it up whenever they could. It ended up working out because it came out when I was in Vegas for NFR, and it was called First Rodeo, so we just went with that. Aside from that, there’s a few things we’re going to do differently this time around. We’re going to do a pre-order on this album, and we’re already playing all of the new songs live. That way, people who are at the shows get to hear the new songs that will be on the record. I think that is one of the biggest things that we’re doing differently; playing these songs at the shows and getting people excited for the album.
Pro Country: Along with the release of Red Dirt Texas, what are your plans for 2020?
HH: We’ve got a ton of stuff going on. The record release is the big thing, and we’re going to push “Red Dirt Texas” out to radio in mid-January, so I’m super excited about that, because I feel like this single can make a big boom at radio, especially in Texas. Other than that, we’ll just be playing a lot of shows. Like I said before, everything is starting to pick up. It’s been going well this whole time, and we’re starting to get on a lot more of the big opening spots. We’re just going to keep songwriting and keep going back and forth between here and Nashville, and just keep at it!
*Visit Hayden’s website for show information and social media/music links!*
*Read our first interview with Hayden here*