“Hayden Grove is a guy I started following on TikTok! You're a beaut. You're a beaut, man.” - Michael Bublé
Hayden Grove spent his childhood rummaging through his parents' CD collection, singing along as his headphones blared music from all centuries, styles and genres. He loved finding new and exciting voices, so much so that he started taking voice lessons himself in the third grade. Still, as he began his vocal journey, he hadn't quite found his niche. One day, he picked up Harry Connick Jr.'s "Blue Light, Red Light."
In that moment, Grove fell completely and wholeheartedly in love with the standards of the Great American Songbook and its many interpreters. It was a challenge at times for a child to fit in with his peers with a taste in music so different from theirs. Still, he strolled the halls of school with his Sony Walkman, humming, learning and living this timeless music.
It was shortly after Grove discovered his love for the standards that Michael Bublé released his self-titled debut album in 2003 and Grove found his musical hero. As much as he loved Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald, they, unfortunately, were no longer with us. Bublé gave Grove a role model-- a young, cool, talented singer that was bringing new life and popularity to the music he loved so dearly.
Grove performed his first standard on stage during his school's 6th-Grade Talent Show: Mack the Knife, from the Threepenny Opera, later made famous my Bobby Darin. As he left the stage, he knew he wanted to sing this music for the rest of his life.
For the next six years, that's exactly what Grove did. He ceaselessly studied, listened and sang, continuing with his vocal training, performing with his school's jazz band and choir and starring in school musicals. After winning the school's award for vocal performance as a senior, Grove was accepted to the Frost School of Music's jazz vocal performance program at the University of Miami in Florida.
He was excited to continue to sing, but life got in the way. Dealing with mental health issues including anxiety, depression and OCD, Grove stepped away from music after just one year in Miami. He transferred to his dream school, The Ohio State University, to pursue another passion of his: sports journalism.
As Grove studied at Ohio State, he poured himself into his other passion, but stopped singing. He loved the music, he listened still, but he didn't have much of a place to do what he loved.
That was until he got to Cleveland, Ohio.
Cleveland was a very special place for Grove-- it was where he felt most at home as a kid visiting his family. His work in college helped him to land a job i in Cleveland as a sports reporter covering the Cleveland Browns, Guardians and Cavaliers for cleveland.com, where he still works today. It was a dream job fulfilled but as he felt better personally and professionally, he felt his passion for performance return.
Low and behold, he was introduced to legendary Cleveland pianist Mike Petrone and the passion was once again set ablaze. Petrone's guidance gave Grove the start to his professional performance career. While Grove sang with Petrone around Cleveland, he met other musicians, recording engineers and individuals who were willing to help Grove.
Since meeting Petrone in 2016, Grove has recorded three albums-- Hayden: The Album, Feeling Good and Christmas, an EP-- has been featured in Crain's Cleveland Magazine and Cleveland Magazine, has sung the national anthem before a Guardians game at Progressive Field, has become a regular vocalist with the 18-piece Skatch Anderssen Orchestra and Dan Zola Orchestra and has become one of Northeast Ohio's most sought-after vocalists, singing at three to four venues a week across the area.
Furthermore, during the pandemic, Grove formed a friendship with his hero, Bublé, through the TikTok app. Bublé caught a glimpse of Grove's talent on the app and followed him, offering advice, encouragement and even inviting fans at his concert in Pittsburgh to follow him. Bublé's generosity saw Grove's TikTok reach nearly 70,000 followers after the video of the moment went viral.
Grove continues to study, continues to grow and continues to love the music. He continues to work tirelessly, honing his craft with every performance and looking to find new ways to spread his voice around Cleveland, around the United States and around the world.
Though Grove will always love the standards first and foremost, he's exploring ways to write his own chapter in the Great American Songbook with original music that pays homage to his heroes while keeping the energy new and fresh.