Hayden Miles

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Singer, songwriter and southern-rocker, Hayden Miles, is done being in the crowd…

We sat down with the “Oh, Penny” singer to talk Nashville, vices and leaving the nightlife behind.

Bridge: In your own words, tell us who you are…

HM: Hey! I’m Hayden. I’m originally from Jacksonville Beach, Florida. I’m a huge music nerd. I’ve been playing since I was very little and it is definitely my biggest passion. My horoscope is cancer so I’m always deep in my feels. I’m 26 years old and moved to Nashville four years ago and absolutely love living here with my babe Jordan and pup Stevie. We are the (self proclaimed) East Nashville power trio! (laughs

Bridge: Honestly, I just started following your dog Stevie Nix on instagram and I’m a huge fan.

Alright, you’re originally from Jacksonville, the home of Southern rock- Did you always feel the pull to Nashville?

HM: Honestly, no. I love southern rock and I love Jacksonville. I have a huge family there. I’m a crazy fanatic of the Jacksonville Jaguars too and have been going to games with the family since I was a baby. I originally did not have my eyes on Nashville at all, but a friend of mine was headed here and needed a roommate and a girl I was into at the time already lived here. That didn’t work out haha but some other stuff did! It seemed like the right move at the time. That feels like forever ago now and so much has changed in my life. Nashville is home now and I do not plan on leaving anytime soon!

Bridge: Tell me what it was like arriving in Nashville for the first time. Has it been a struggle or have things flowed well for you?

HM: Arriving in Nashville for the first time was crazy, and to put it bluntly I probably wasn’t ready. Not to mention the nightlife here can be very distracting so I was not super focused. I wasn’t getting gigs, and the gigs I was getting I just wasn’t performing as good as I should have. I have worked hard on myself to get to this point. I was a total mess when I moved to Nashville and I had a lot of vices. The best thing that happened for me though was just making that decision. It was a little rough at first but it’s getting easier.

Bridge: You know, I really appreciate your honesty there. I’ve spoken with alot of people who made their way out there and only touched on the struggle in the industry. No one has really shared about the distractions outside of that that can choke out a person’s dream.

It seems like you’ve lived alot of life as an artist already…I read that you started performing at the legendary Freebird Live at 14 years old!

What was that like for you? How did performing at that age shape you as a young artist?

HM: Freebird live was a great venue right in the heart of Jacksonville beach. It was the marquee spot in town to play and people from all over the world came to that venue. I was definitely the cool kid at school after I played there for the first time, and dozens of times after that. The wife of the late Lynyrd Skynyrd frontman, Johnny Van Zant, owned the venue so needless to say lots of history and interesting people were in that scene. I was just a bug-eyed kid without a clue. Looking back, those experiences really shaped my style and music completely. I learned so many things secondhand just from watching the older guys play and then going home and trying to get better. Freebird Live made me want to shred at guitar haha the vocals came later…when my voice dropped. (laughs)

Bridge: Yeah, same when mine dropped. (laughs)

Be honest though, girls love guitarists. Was that on your mind as well a teenage performer?

HM: Girls love guitarists? I had no idea! (smiles) But really I started playing guitar before I even looked at girls so it wasn’t that way at first. When I got older though I may have played the card once or twice. It helped me land the beautiful Jordan for sure! I’m not sure she would have given attention to me if i couldn’t play (laughs)

Bridge: I’m sure that’s only slightly true!

So if you had to pick between being a singer, songwriter or musician, which would it be and why? Or can you even pick?

HM: That’s a tough question. I think I have to go with being a singer though. Since moving to Nashville I have made some huge strides with my vocal performance and it has been a lot of work up to that point. It was harder for me to get to this level at singing than it was to write songs or play guitar. It would suck to lose that progress. (laughs)

Bridge: I feel that. When you work so hard for something, it would be hard to walk away from it.

Where do you find most of your songwriting inspiration comes from?

HM: I get inspiration from so many things. Ahh! I just love life. I take bits and pieces from all the great people and things around me and just let it pour over into my music. It’s nothing intentional. I’m just truly so blessed to be here with great people.

Bridge: Such a great outlook. I love that vibe, just let it all “pour over” into your music.

I’m curious, what would you say is your ultimate goal for your music career?

HM: I’d love to play (headline) Bonnaroo. I would be satisfied then.

Bridge: I can totally see that!

Asking for a friend…what advice would you have for other aspiring artists dreaming of picking up and moving to Nashville?

HM: My advice is to be yourself. Listen to the people better than you, and strive to get better yourself everyday. Take compliments. Listen to critiques. Don’t be afraid to get turned down because that will happen. Have fun but don’t fall into the nightlife hole that I did. I might have spent too much time in the crowd and not on the stage at the beginning so stay focused y’all!

Bridge: Dang. “Take compliments” -another piece of advice I rarely hear. I dig it!

Alright, the bitter end…What song would you pick to be the soundtrack of your life?

HM: Another tough one… and I’m sure the answer would be different tomorrow but today the answer is “Ramblin Man” by the Allman Brothers. Classic southern rock tune with great lead guitar, def my style.

Bridge: SAME.

Seriously, right now.

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