The second single from Storyline
, Hayes penned the song with Louisiana native Troy Verges, with whom he also collaborated on "Wanted
" and Barry Dean
, who also co-wrote Little Big Town's "Pontoon
Hayes told Billboard magazine that the song, "is a step in a different direction for me lyrically." He added that it is, "talking about something I know nothing about. But, it's a version of a love song. It's the comfort zone of home, but also changing things up a little bit."
The song finds Hayes singing of getting a permanent inking of his girl's name. "When you write someone's name in a tattoo, you've made a decision, and you've made a decision hopefully based on a gut feeling that's real and deep," the country hitmaker explained of the song. "[It's] telling someone that I'm ok with this being permanent, I'm ok with this being forever. That's how good I feel about this."
Hunter Hayes doesn't actually have any tattoos in real life.
The song's music video finds Hayes using both graffiti to try to win a girl's heart and a retro stereo to capture that giddy feeling of falling in love. "With a song like 'Tattoo,' it's a very visual thing," the singer explained to People Country. "Lyrically, the goal is to bring you to a place where all these artistic elements of inspiration come to life around you. So, for the video, rather than just explain how a relationship can inspire you, we wanted to go beyond the expected and make a musically inspired moment jump out of a two-dimensional space."
"My goal is to always do something a little unexpected and different, but especially with this video, I wanted to challenge the imagination," he added. "We brought in a graffiti artist … and we made this abandoned warehouse into a giant re-imagined boom box. When you see the video, though, even then you'll see this art piece of a graffiti artist come to life in a way even we couldn't imagine."
Barry Dean recalled the story of the song to American Songwriter magazine: "Hunter was just getting back off the road, as in he literally got in 30 minutes before we wrote that morning. He showed up and mentioned that he liked the idea of writing a song with the word 'tattoo.' Hunter is always good about not going with the obvious, so we came up with the angle of the song coming from his perspective instead and the song just took off from there."
Barry Dean and Troy Verges penned the song the day after they wrote "Day Drinking
" with Little Big Town.