In what may be one of the most unexpected cross-generational and cross-genre collaborations in the business, Hunter Hayes and Stevie Wonder once again hit the stage together during Monday night’s episode of “Dancing With the Stars.”
The show was honoring the legendary singer during the episode, and the crooner recruited the country music heartthrob to hit the stage with him for a mini-medley of his tunes, including “All I Do” and “I Ain’t Gonna Stand For It.” With Wonder next to him on keys, Hayes brought a little country twang to the R&B classics on guitar.
This marks the second performance for the singers. Only two weeks ago they hit the ACM Awards stage in Las Vegas. Wonder joined the “Wanted” singer for a rendition of his “I Want Crazy” and they also played Wonder’s “Sir Duke.”
“I played him something of mine that I thought was really, really influenced by what he does. He brought up a collaboration, and I said, ’You let me know when and where,'” Hayes explained earlier this month of how they ended up working together.
According to CMT, Hayes’ and Wonder’s collaboration was based on mutual admiration. “You know, what can I say? This young man is a blessing to country music, and to America, because he really has listened to all kinds of music,” Wonder said. “You can hear those influences in what he’s doing — and he does it so incredibly well. And he blends it with what he knows and how he feels. But most of all, what excites me about Hunter Hayes is the pureness inside that heart, his love for music. It’s really emotional to me because I see God working in him.”
Back in February, Hayes sat down with MTV News and revealed his love for Wonder’s music. He said, “My go-to is I really want to sit down with Stevie Wonder. I’ve gotten to talk to him, but have dinner and just talk music for like an hour and half, two hours would be so wicked; it’d be so cool. I have so much to ask him about.”
While he’s spent more time with Wonder since then, he opened up about what it was like to meet the music legend for the first time. “I got to meet him in L.A. We work with a lot of, with a couple of the same people, and they know I’m a huge fan and they surprised me … He is one of my biggest heroes and I respect him so much and I got to sit there and talk with him. I was so nervous. I don’t know how I hid it. I don’t even know if I did. I think I’m pretty sure I showed it. It was amazing.”
Hayes will re-release his self-titled debut album on June 18, billed as Encore. Additionally, he will host a live Twitter Q&A session on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT. You can tweet your questions to Hunter with the hashtag #AskHH.