Jim Newcombe Interviews Waylon Hanel

While surfing one day I came across a young man named Waylon Hanel and thought hey his parents must have liked Waylon or maybe it’s just a stage name….second thoughts were well he likes the music I do so I looked on youtube and caught a couple of recordings by him and some ‘live’ songs so I liked what I heard and got in touch.

Is Waylon your real name? Yes Waylon is my real name. I get asked that a lot!

So your parents must have been country fans? Yes they were! Yes it’s true they named me after Waylon Jennings! I get asked that a lot as well. I grew up coon hunting, deer hunting and fishing with my dad and brother listening to all the old GOOD stuff! There was something about Waylon Jennings music that touched me. He’s been the biggest inspiration to me and my musical career. My parents loved Waylon Jennings but it was to their surprise I can now play them their favorite music for them!

I see you come from Michigan not a state we ususually associate with country musisians.

I live in a very very small town with one traffic light, called Millington, Michigan. I am 20 yrs old. I was born on January 17, 2002. At that time we lived in a smaller sized town, Flushing Michigan where I started school and went there through the end of 5th grade before making the move to an even smaller school in Millington.

What age did you decide you could sing? Did you take music lessons?

I got my first guitar for Christmas when I was 15. I wanted to learn to play it but had no intentions on ever singing! My mother “made” me sing to her. She actually got mad at me when I told her no so she took my guitar away from me for 2 whole months. She wouldn’t let me touch it until I agreed to sing! Things took off from there. I guess she was right! I never have taken any sort of guitar or music lessons. I’ve completely taught myself by ear.

Why country and not pop music?

I am country music! I have only ever had an interest in country music (with a small amount of rock) but country music is me through and through. And, hey I’m named after a legendary country music icon! Waylon Jennings!

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