“I was able to create a strong fanbase of people who really enjoyed the music,” Hazelwood says. “I am very lucky that, because of the show, I can now do my music full-time. It was a pretty daunting experience, but I felt I was ready for it. In fact, it was a good time.”
The outcome of any competition is never assured until final votes are tallied. Even then, the result could either launch a career or bring it to a standstill. Which means Hazelwood had to brace himself for any eventuality. “My coach just kept reassuring me it was not the be-all-end-all,” he recalls. “It's just a steppingstone. He told me not to take it too seriously and have fun.”
Nevertheless, Hazelwood couldn’t help having his hopes pinned on the eventual outcome. “I grew up listening to everything my dad listened to — the Stones, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, the Beatles," Hazelwood says. Since his dad was also a singer, he was drawn to performing and singing from a young age. "I’ve always enjoyed music with power and emotion,” he says.
Along with a flurry of favorable press following his primetime success, Hazelwood quickly scaled the charts with his first single, “Wanted,” and subsequently scored airplay on MTV. Earlier this year, the network named him the winner of its Freshman Music Video Competition. He describes his recently released EP, Vanta, as “moody, emotive, and anthemic,” and an initial listen clearly bears that out.
“I’m so pumped to be out on the road in the U.S.,” says Hazelwood. “It has always been a dream for me and now I'm living it.”
With Bad Feelings, Will Jay from IM5, and Dylan Holland. Saturday, June 18, at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $15 for general admission, $99 for a special pre-show Platinum VIP reception and show, and $59 for the concert and a postshow Gold VIP party. Call 954-564-1074.