Leo Hayes, Walt Burkette, Eldon Brown, Sonny Brown, Peter Brown 2008
Leo Hayes, Walt Burkette, Eldon Brown, Sonny Brown, Peter Brown 2008
Leo Hayes
Leo Hayes

About Leo Hayes

From the time Leo was Seven years old he always knew he wanted to be, an entertainer. Doing impressions like his favorite entertainer at the time, Rich Little, Leo found out early on how much fun it could be to get a hold of an audience. At the age of ten, Leo's mother gave him his first real guitar as a christmas present and I am sure that she had no idea that this one gift would change Leo's lif...e forever. He would plunk horribly on it for hours just trying to get some sort of assemlance of a tone that someone might recognize as music. At the age of Thirteen Leo started to compose his own creations and so started his songwriting adventure. As a teenager Leo discovered the drums, an instrument that he had been intrigued with from an early age by watching his uncle Dan who was quite a percussionist. During his hitch in the Navy Leo was introduced to 50' Rock & Roll by a Hotrod Los Angeles Picker, Steve Mc Govern who happened to be stationed at the same base as Leo. This is where Leo would discover the ability to sing like the King and truley come to love possibly the greatest music ever created. Although Leo had mostly been playing the drums he had been writing songs on his guitar, mostly country style with a flair of that old style borrowed from the great rockabilly composers of the fifties. At the age of twenty one, Leo put away his drums and got out his guitar and decided this is really what he wanted to do for a living. Hours and hours he would spend writing countless songs to which most would be little more than round file filler. But as Leo continued to create, he would discover that the more he would write the better the songs would be and fewer and fewer would end up the way of the fireplace. Leo set out in the early nineties with the ambition to put a band together and croon his tunes throughout the Northwest. Little did he know this was not going to be as easy as it sounded. Everywhere he went he met oppositon and mostly the same reaction from musicians. They would normally have same response, "No one writes their own stuff around here, we only do cover tunes" Discouraged but not broken, Leo would continue to try as he might. Who could have known that Elvis would be the vehicle that would allow Leo to introduce himself to the Northwest. Leo thought it might be fun to do this Elvis song in a talent show in the School he was working at as a janitor. This show would launch a part of Leo's musical carreer that still today plays an active part. It took off like wildfire from a two song talent show to a full blown Las Vegas style whirlwind. What Leo didn't realize is this for sometime would halt his country show ambition. The show went so well it consumed Leo's schedule extinguishing the possibilty for a Country Breakout. In 1996 Leo & his wife Lisa and their three children, Keisha, Shea & Buddy set out on a cross country adventure to the land of country music where no one knew Leo as Leo "Elvis" Hayes the Impersonator. This would truly be a wake up call for Leo. As he arrived in Nashville via The bus he had converted himself, his first stop would be show promoter Randy Wright. Leo had spoken with Wright on the phone from Washington and had a promise of a listen and possibly a direction for Leo to Go with his music. What Leo would discover is that there was several other thousands of people trying to do the same thing as he. The difference was that Leo couldn't do it for free like most of the other people were able to do as he must support his Family. Arriving in Tennessee with only $75 Dollars after a multitude of blowouts and unplanned expenses, there was no time to mess around. The first job he could get was installing hardware on coffins at a local casskette fabricating company. Living in the bus until they could afford a place they ended up in Lorretto, Tennessee. This is where they would spend the next two years trying to make a dent in the massive country music empire known as music city USA. With a lead from his first contact Randy Wright, Leo went to visit a person that would befriend him and give Leo his first insight on how to make your way in the big music scene. Randy Hauser, the longtime drummer for music legend Chet Atkins gave Leo inspiration and wisdom that could only be attained by graduating from the music school of hard knocks, as Hauser did. Persistance and belief against all odds is the only thing that can defeat the beast of negativety that breeds so rampedly through the music business. Leo cut four sides with Gatlin Brothers music in 1996 and with the taste of hope on Leo's lips, It would be all erased with the death of Leo's friend, taken by means of a massive heart attack. The fortune of aquaintance would once more strike with the meeting of Billy Lawson, a Sony Music songwriter with two number one hits and a string of singles under his belt. Billy took a liking to Leo and helped him get a record deal with an independent label. This was a new label with big expectations, but as it would be expectations are all that would ever come from this new label as it never got off the ground. What did happen is a six sided album produced by Billy Lawson that people have been enjoying since 1998. Leo and his family returned to the Northwest in 1998 with a lot of memories, good and bad but none the less worse for wear. After rekindling his hopes for a new start Leo started playing shows and Casino's throughout the Northwest. In 2000 Leo would return to Nashville to record "Foolin' Around" an album that would open eyes and give Leo a name as a top Northwest Entertainer. Since that Album Leo has been an opening act for such music greats as Jerry Reed, Aaron Tippin, Tanya Tucker, Williams & Ree, The Honky Tonk Tailgate Tour and Dwight Yoakum. Leo enjoys airtime in Europe as well as the United States. Leo continues to venture out and broaden his horizons writing and entertaining throughout the Northwest. Five Albums and several shows later, Leo continues to be a Favorite where ever he plays, always keeping in mind its never to late to be an overnight success.

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If you have fan photos from the past we would love to see them. email them to leo@leohayes.com

 



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