ROCKINGHAM — Last weekend the Erik Hawks played in front of a small local crowd at the Hudson Brothers Deli. This weekend he’ll be performing at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach.
A Richmond County native who now lives in Fayetteville, Hawkes is one of six singers nominated for Male Performer of the Year at the 8th Annual Carolina Country Music Awards.
He said his reaction to being nominated was “complete shock”.
“I feel so lucky that someone recognized my music,” Hawks said Thursday afternoon.
Hosted by the Carolina Country Music Association, the event features 12 categories of competition honoring artists from the Tar Heels and Palmetto states. This year’s guest performer is former Alabama drummer Mark Herndon.
The 35-year-old Hawks graduated from Richmond High School in 2006. He grew up outside Elabe until his junior year before his family moved to Lauberdell.
“I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember,” he said, adding that he started playing guitar when he was 18 and became a full-fledged musician “almost instantly.”
“I loved performing in public,” he said. “All you need is experience and opportunity.”
Hawks’ primary musical influences range from country artists such as Garth Brooks and Vince Gill to rock bands such as the Eagles and Foo Fighters.
“I was lucky enough to be raised by my parents and hear everything, so it definitely affected me,” he said.
His first paid gig was until 2020 when he earned $200 plus chips playing copper cricket at Sanford.
Over the years, Hawks estimates he wrote about 100 songs. His five of them were recorded and he released two of his. And he “traces your tattoo.”
Last year, the Hawks performed in three states and opened for several other artists, including Matt Stell, Elvie Shane and Garner native Scotty McCreary, Season 10 “American Idol” winner.
He also “wrote a lot of songs” and “met a lot of wonderful people.”
Hawks said the largest crowd to date has been between 700 and 800 people.
When he’s not strumming his 6th string, Hawks works as a forestry engineer at Fort Bragg.
The Hawks plan to release more music this year, increase the number of original songs on their setlist, and hope to become a full-time musician.
“I am very excited to see what 2023 has in store for us. Thank you for riding with us!”