US musician, producer and bandleader Morris Hayes has worked as a keyboard player with superstars including Prince, George Clinton, Elton John, Whitney Houston, and Stevie Wonder.
Inspired by the religious music he heard in church as a child, Hayes started to play the keyboard while at high school. On graduating from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (majoring in Art and also playing keyboard in a campus R&B band), Hayes played in churches and with various bands throughout the States. His band, The Buziness, was heard by former Prince and the Revolution bass player Mark Brown who invited the group to record a demo in Minneapolis.
Hayes remained in the city and, following a spell with Brown’s own band, Mazarati, and a tour of Asia with the band Time, he formed G Sharp and the Edge who became house band at the popular Glam Slam club – frequented by Prince. In 1992, Prince signed the band to open for him on his “Diamonds and Pearls” tour. Afterwards, Prince asked Hayes to join his band, the New Power Generation. Hayes played in the band for ten years then, following time on tour with saxophonist Maceo Parker, rejoined in 2005 as leader.
Other artists with whom Hayes has performed include: Sheila E., Chaka Khan, Herbie Hancock, Kanye West, Elton John, Babyface, Carlos Santana, Kenny Loggins, Lenny Kravitz, Alicia Keys, Will.i.am, Mary J. Blige, Maroon 5, Ani Di Franco, Questlove, Kool Moe Dee, Sheryl Crow, Gwen Stefani, Erykah Badu, Amy Winehouse, Bono, The Edge, and Macy Gray.
Hayes has received numerous honors for his work, including induction into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2013. He is also owner and CEO of Ill Street, Inc., a music production company through which he has written for various films and TV shows such as Flavor Flav’s “Under One Roof”, Martin Lawrence’s “You So Crazy”, and “Laurel Avenue” on HBO.
More recently, Hayes performed at the Paisley Park Celebration 2017 using an ARTHUR mixer for both rehearsals and the event itself. His verdict: "Listening to the show in my headphone, the sound was transparent, warm and clean. For me it all comes down to sound quality. I can tell you this Arthur is one of the best mixers I've ever heard. It's modular so you can add or take away as needed. That's a real big deal”