Music has always been an important force in the life of Morris Hayes. As a child growing up in the small town of Jefferson, Arkansas, music in the church touched his soul and inspired what would become a life long passion.
He majored in Art at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, but the lure of his love of music would not be denied. Although he did not know how to play very well, he faked his way into a college band. From this experience, raw talent and desire soon produced a rare talent.
After college Morris moved to Chicago and performed in church. In 1986 he went to Memphis, Tennessee to join a cover band called “Fingerprint.” He then moved to Texas and co-founded a band called “The Bizness.” Mark Brown, former bass player for Prince and the Revolution, saw them perform and invited the band to Minneapolis to record a demo. Ultimately Morris ended up joining Brown’s band, Mazarati. The band didn’t last, but Morris decided to stick around in Minneapolis and began work engineering with Mark Brown. During this time he co-wrote, produced and engineered tracks with Shanice Wilson.
Morris got his big break in 1991 when Jerome Benton asked him to play keyboards with the Time. He was hired to replace Jimmy Jam. They were big shoes to fill, but Morris performed incredibly. That year, he toured Asia with the Time.
At the end of the tour, Morris co-formed a band called “G Sharp and the Edge.” They were the house band for “Glam Slam,” the Minneapolis nightclub owned by Prince. Prince recognized their talent and hired the band to play with Carmen Electra. They opened for Prince on the “Diamonds and Pearls” tour in 1992.
After the tour, Prince asked Morris to play keyboards alongside Tommy Barbarella in his band “The New Power Generation.” During the 10 years he played keyboards for “The N.P.G.,” he came to be known as “Mr. Hayes.” After leaving “The N.P.G.”, Morris began what was supposed to be a 6-week fill in gig early in 2003 for Maceo Parker. That soon turned into a 2 and a half year stint with the saxophone great. In 2005 he again returned to work with Prince.
When not on stage performing with Prince, “Mr. Hayes” produced tracks for television and motion pictures including: Martin Lawrence’s “You so Crazy,” HBO’s Laurel Avenue, Target, & 3M.
Morris has performed live with many of the legends of our time including: Prince, Maceo Parker, The Time, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston, Herbie Hancock, Kanye West, Elton John, Babyface, Carlos Santana, Kenny Loggins, George Benson, Lenny Kravitz, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, and many others.
One of his crowning moments was performing in one of the most memorable moments in Super Bowl half-time history with Prince in 2007.