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Morris Hayes, 2013 AR Black Hall of Fame Inductee

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 lifelong passion.
From the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame:

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 lifelong passion.

He majored in Art at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, but the lure of his love of music would not be
denied. So, Morris faked his way into a college band. He didn’t know how to play very well but when the
band’s other keyboard player quit, 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,
Mazarati, Sheila E., Mint Condition, Fred Wesley, George Clinton, Larry Graham, Chaka Khan, Whitney
Houston, Herbie Hancock, Kanye West, Elton John, Babyface, Teddy Riley, Carlos Santana, Kenny Loggins,
George Benson, Lenny Kravitz, Alicia Keys, Will.i.am, Mary J. Blige, Q-Tip, Janelle Monáe, Tamar Davis,
Maroon 5, Shelia E., Eve, Ani Di Franco, Doug E. Fresh, Stevie Wonder, ?uestlove, Kool Moe Dee, Sheryl
Crow, Nikka Costa, Gwen Stefani, Eve, Angie Stone, D’Angelo, Common, Shanice Wilson, Mike Philips, Erika
Badu, Amy Winehouse, Bono and The Edge, Frank McCombs, Vernon Reid, Macy Grey, Angelo Moore, Debra
Cox, Carmen Electra, Bill Banfield, Mica Paris 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. He has also appeared on numerous talk shows and award shows in the United States
and abroad.

The multi-talented “Mr. Hayes” has produced tracks for numerous artists and continues to write, produce,
compose, record and perform.
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