With more than 100 shows played per year and a top 20 single on the Texas Country music charts, it's safe to say Texas A&M construction science senior Hayden Haddock has hit the road running with his music career and has no plans to stop anytime soon.
Haddock’s current radio single, “Where You Come In,” pays homage to “Ol’ Aggie Town” and its iconic nightlife, receiving a smashing second most downloaded song on Texas radio behind Cody Johnson.
Although he’s shared the stage with Texas country legends such as Roger Creager and the Eli Young Band, Haddock said as a shy 14-year-old, picking up the guitar was about as far as he saw his career going at first.
“For five years I didn’t play the guitar in front of anybody, and I definitely didn’t sing,” Haddock said. “That wasn’t even in the question of things. I got down to A&M for my freshman year and I almost didn’t even bring a guitar with me.”
Haddock kept his talents to himself until his freshman roommate saw the opportunity to embarrass Haddock, or lend him a helping hand, after bringing a girl up to their apartment.
“I was talking to a girl at the time and I brought her over to the apartment, and my roommate at the time who I had known since the early days of high school — thought it would be a good time to embarrass me and tell her that I could play the guitar and sing and all this stuff,” Haddock said. “So basically after about 30 minutes of arguing, I got the guitar out and played a song. That was the most nervous I’d ever been in my life. About a month later I played my first show.”
That first show, at a local jazz bar, featured Haddock playing four songs during a break in the in-house band’s performance. Now, he travels virtually every weekend of the year, checking off his bucket list of venues to play one by one. On Jan. 28, he got to cross Hurricane Harry’s off of that list.
“Of course that was one of the venues on my bucket list, so getting to mark that one off was great,” Haddock said. “It was definitely a big one for me with me living here and being an Aggie and all that stuff. It’s a cool feeling to step on a stage where I know all of these huge artists that I look up to have played.”
On top of climbing his way up the Texas country charts, Haddock is months away from graduating from A&M, and he said he can feel the stress of balancing a career on top of his degree piling on his shoulders.
“It definitely creates a lot of stress,” Haddock said. “The closer I get to graduating, the harder these classes are getting. It's really tough, but it's one of those things that I chose to do so I’m not going to complain about it. I’m getting close to graduating and man, I can’t wait for that day to come.”
Looking ahead to the rest of 2021, Haddock said he and his band are excited to play catch up from a less-than-satisfying, COVID-19-filled 2020.
“I’m excited to get back out there and be kept busy. We just don’t want to rush into the studio, and we want to make sure the entire world doesn’t shut down again to make sure we get to play the new songs live,” Haddock said. “I know we’ve got some out-of-state stuff coming up here shortly. Outside of that we are going to have some new music released sometime soon this year, probably more towards the summer.”
With graduation in sight and a brand new signing deal with the well-known, red dirt booking agency Red 11 Music, Haddock said he still plans to take his ever-growing success day by day, putting out music he likes and listens to.
“Even when I started playing shows and getting paid to play I still never thought about where it was going to go,” Haddock said. “I took it day by day because I loved doing it. I was going to give it my all, I wasn’t going to go in and BS around and not do everything to the best of my ability. I want to put out music that I want to put out and music that I like, not what someone tells me is going to be a hit.”