Hayes was born on September 9, 1991, at Larniurg Hospital in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana; he is an only child. His parents both have Cajun ancestry, along with English, Scots-Irish, and German. Hayes grew up singing songs in both English and French. He began his career when he was 2. At 4, he began making appearances locally and on national television, including Maury, Rosie O'Donnell Show, and the Nickelodeon game show Figure It Out, where he performed "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)". American Songwriter writes that "Hayes received his first guitar from actor Robert Duvall at age 6" At age 7, he was invited to perform for President Bill Clinton for a White House lawn party. At 13, he appeared on America's Most Talented Kids, a show hosted by Dave Coulier; he performed the hit Hank Williams song, "Hey Good Lookin'". At age 9, Hunter released his debut independent studio album "Through My Eyes" on October 8, 2000, under Suagartown Records and Louisiana Red Hot Records. He released several more independent albums: Make a Wish in 2001, Holidays with Hunter in 2003, Honoring our French Heritage in 2006, and Songs About Nothing in 2008.