Up and coming R&B musician Heather Hayes, daughter of music legend Isaac Hayes, performed in Hattiesburg at Mugshots last Friday.
Hayes and her band have a diverse R&B sound, mixing blues and a funk. Her high-energy shows and level of talent draw large crowds to every performance.
However, despite her quickly growing fame, Heather remains a down-to-earth young woman with a strong passion for her music.
Growing up as the daughter of Isaac Hayes, all Heather wanted to do was fit in with everyone else. She pointed out that as a celebrity's child there is always someone who is angry or jealous, and she tended to be very quiet and shy, hoping to hide from controversy. But in music, "I feel that I am in my own skin…I feel free," Hayes said.
Heather realized her dream as a performer when she was 7-years-old and heard the soundtrack to the musical "Annie" for the first time.
"I used to play it all the time and just learn it…and then make my parents watch me [perform] it," Hayes said. Performing has always been something she loved to do, so whether it is a big city arena or the stage at Mugshots. Being on stage comes natural to her.
But, regardless of the scene, Heather remains a crowd-pleaser. While it is true that Mugshots is a smaller venue than what the band is used to, the singer had no worries.
Whether it is five people or 50,000 in the audience, they will get the same quality show. "As long as the crowd is enjoying it, it doesn't matter to me," She said. "…I feed off of the energy [from the crowd]." Hayes considers herself to be a high-energy performer, although in person she is laid-back, relaxed and even quiet at times.
Hayes' vocal abilities and past performances, according to the star's official website, have been compared to that of Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Chaka Khan and Janet Jackson.
Before the Heather Hayes Band was formed, Heather performed as a back-up singer with numerous celebrities such as Beyonce Knowles and Arrested Development. She has also worked as a dancer with Michael Jackson, Sean P. Diddy Combs and James Brown.
The actual Heather Hayes Band was formed in 2004, when four musicians from Atlanta collaborated with Hayes and signed with The Big Monkey Boys record label. The members of the band themselves have recorded with Madonna, Bobby Brown, India Arie and Whitney Houston. Hayes was quick to mention how talented the band is.
"Even though I am the lead singer, it's not just about me," she said. "… [they are] really, really great musicians." Aside from sharing a love for music, the band members all share a close, family-like bond. "It's like having five big brothers…who are very protective of me," she joked.
According to the band's official website at heatherhayesband.com, the band has a unique blend of sound that allows them to play anywhere for any occasion.
Brian McLelland, of MMC Entertainment in Hattiesburg, says that the band's show includes "all the best of today's hip-hop, R&B, rock, and rap hits" that everyone in the crowd is familiar with and can enjoy.
As for future goals, Heather wants to keep performing and make the band one of the best in the Southeast. She is in the process of recording her first album, which will include a song with her father, Isaac Hayes.
The singer wants to avoid the politics that are in the industry and instead wants the focus to be on her music, so she is working with different producers for many of songs. Although no exact date has been scheduled, Heather Hayes' album is expected to be out sometime within next year.