Hunter Hayes on His New Song: 'This Is the Year to Be Brave'

For Hunter Hayes, his new song is as much about stepping out of his comfort zone as it is about celebrating life.

Hunter Hayes and Brett Eldredge Charmingly Entertain Fans During Weather Delay

What's It Like to Get Caught Up In a 'Tornado' With Little Big Town?

Can you guess what inspired the lyrics to Little Big Town’s 2012 hit “Tornado?” (It’s okay to go with the obvious here – this isn’t a trick question!)

Play Two Truths and a Lie with Hunter Hayes

Hunter Hayes fans know that his true love is music. In fact, he started performing at age 2 when his grandmother gave him a toy accordion, and by age 7 he was invited to perform for President Bill Clinton at the White House. So it’s no secret that music is life for Hayes.

“Essentially, I’m just a boring dude,” Hayes has told PEOPLE. “The only thing I really like to talk about is my music.”

Hunter Hayes Adopts a Retired Racing Dog

Hunter Hayes has a fast new friend.

The country singer recently adopted a retired racing dog from Greyhound Pets of America. On Monday, he introduced the pup, named Cole, to his fans in an adorable YouTube video.

“He’s awesome, he runs really fast … reeeeally fast,” says Hayes, as he sits on the floor next to the caramel-colored pooch, who rests comfortably on a couch beside him.

How You Can Sing for Hunter Hayes – and Be Part of the Grammys!

One of Hunter Hayes’s earliest steady gigs was playing at a small theater in his hometown of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, and one of his go-to crowd pleasers was the cheerful sing-a-long “You Are My Sunshine.”

“When I was a kid, I did a daily live show and I played that song a lot!” he tells PEOPLE. “It’s such a sweet sentiment and was one of Louisiana’s state songs, so it always went over really well.”

People's Choice Awards: And the Winners Are ...

Ben Affleck and The Big Bang Theory were among the big winners at the annual People’s Choice Awards, which were broadcast live from Los Angeles Wednesday.

Affleck was named the year’s Favorite Humanitarian while the CBS comedy – and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting – walked away with crystal trophies.

Here are all of the night’s winners in music, music and TV that were voted on entirely by the public:

People's Choice Awards: Hunter Hayes Beats Out Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan

This isn’t his first rodeo: Hunter Hayes just bested some of the biggest names in country.

The 23-year-old won favorite male country artist at the People’s Choice Awards on Wednesday, beating out veteran chart-toppers Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan and Tim McGraw.

Presenters Announced for American Country Countdown Awards

American Country Countdown Awards hosts Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line will have plenty of country company – and a few Hollywood stars – onstage with them to hand out honors at the genre’s newest trophy-fest later this month, reps for the show tell PEOPLE exclusively.