Hunter Hayes is a musical prodigy and by the time he was 7, he'd mastered dozens of instruments and even played at the White House.
Now, the 22-year-old is a Grammy nominee, and he will be debuting his new single at Sunday’s award show.
Hayes spoke with "Entertainment Tonight" co-host Nancy O'Dell about his success and why he says his Grammy performance may be one of the most emotional of his life.
The country singer will play his new song, "Invisible" for the first time onstage and he knows this crowd is far from ordinary.
“The trend-setters, the teachers, the musical sort of professors, the pioneers,” he told O’Dell. “I’m wondering how did I get a seat in this row next to this person? I'm like, this is insane."
He told O’Dell he’s “unbelievably nervous.”
His nomination this year is for best country solo performance. This is his second year being nominated.
“I remember last year, just running into people in the hallways, just randomly bumping into Sting,” he said. “And I'm like ‘Hi, I'm …’ and he's like ‘Hunter’ and I was like, ‘That just happened - he said my name before I got to it.”
That kind of recognition didn't happen overnight; Hayes learned to play music just after he began to walk. At age 4 he stood onstage with Hank Williams Jr. and a year later, he made a movie with Oscar-winning actor Robert Duvall.
“Robert Duvall actually showed up at my 6th birthday party,” Hayes told O’Dell “Flew in, rented a car, came to my 6th birthday party and handed me my first ever guitar and amp.”
By the time President Clinton introduced him at the White House a year later, Hayes was picking up other instruments – 30 in all.
“That was my heart and soul. That was my comfort zone. That was my thing. That was my, like, sports on the weekend. That was music,” said Hayes.
However, growing up with that singular focus on music often left him feeling isolated, which was the feeling that inspired his new single, “Invisible."
“I was a total geek. I was a total nerd. I still am and I'm proud of that, but it took me awhile to realize it's okay to be proud of that,” he said.
He is shooting the song's music video at a high school and offers his own story as hope to others.
Hayes told O’Dell that the song is so personal for him that he's worried about getting choked up onstage, which he did during his rehearsal.