Hunter Hayes looks back fondly on the days before he hit it big in an upcoming episode of Ernie Ball: The Pursuit of Tone.

Hayes' humble beginnings in Nashville included gigging at Douglas Corner Cafe, an intimate singer-songwriter venue that is a popular haunt for the city's songwriting community.

"One of the first venues I went to in Nashville was Douglas Corner," he recalls in the clip above, which is debuting on Taste of Country. "I was like, 'I wanna play here, this is a cool vibe. I like this place.'"

He was particularly impressed with a drummer that he saw that night, and decided he wanted to play with him. "And it turns out, he did my first showcase at Douglas Corner," the 21-year-old relates. "It was a trio; it was just me, drums and bass. It was really just this magical [time], where everybody wants to make music. Nobody's there because they have to; everyone's there because they wanna be."

Hayes also shares an acoustic performance of his breakthrough hit, "Wanted," in the clip, in a stripped-down version that's reminiscent of what he would have done at a typical Nashville songwriter round.

He talks about what music means to him, how learning to play the guitar opened him up to a whole new world, the discovery that he had the talent to write unique songs and more in the episode, which is coming up later in July.

Ernie Ball: The Pursuit of Tone is a documentary series created and produced by Ernie Ball, the world’s leading manufacturer of guitar strings, guitars, basses and musical instrument accessories. It airs on the AT&T Audience Network on DirecTV, and has also featured guests including Buddy Guy, Social Distortion's Mike Ness and Billy Duffy from the Cult. Check out Hayes' episode on July 22.

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