Walker Hayes is the ultimate example of the late bloomer, the sleeper, the one who persevered and achieved what appears to be overnight success but is actually the result of years of hard work and unwavering dedication to his craft. Hayes has been trying to make it as a full-time country artist since 2005, when he moved to Nashville with his wife Laney and started writing songs for a living before getting signed to his first record label, Mercury Records.
Hayes was dropped by the label soon after and signed with Capitol Records. His first single “Pants” released in 2010 and debuted at number 60 on the Hot Country Songs charts. A string of singles and deals followed, with his next real commercial success coming in 2017 with the release of the single “You Broke Up With Me,” under a record deal with Monument Records.
But he shot to higher levels of fame than previously experienced – or maybe even dreamed of – with his widely popular single “Fancy Like.” It was released on his album “Country Stuff,” but its catchy lyrics and simple dance steps choreographed by his oldest child, daughter Lela, caught fire on TikTok and catapulted his career to cross-genre success. “Fancy Like” reached number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Hot Country Songs chart.
Since then, Hayes has been thrown into the national spotlight along with his wife and their six children. He has been interviewed on numerous talk shows, performed at awards shows, and his work has been nominated for various awards. At age 41 with wife and kids in tow, Hayes’ musical career is finally taking off.
But he wants fans to know there is something more important than fun songs and easy to follow dance moves.
“Honestly, I don’t care about sharing anything else,” Hayes told Everything Nash. “To be quite frank with you, I don’t think there’s anything [more] worth sharing that what Jesus has done with me and the redemption I’ve experienced here on earth, and will continue to experience from knowing Him. That’s it. That’s why I wanna share my story.”
Hayes’ songs cover topics such as his dad, his kids, his struggle with alcoholism, and his hometown of Mobile, Alabama. One song, “Craig,” details how Craig, a man he met at church before he was a believer, gave his family a minivan when he learned that Hayes had lost his record deal and family vehicle. Craig knew the Hayes’ other car had only five seatbelts for six people and showed up at his son’s baseball game to give him a used van and sign over the title.
Hayes established the Be A Craig Fund to honor his friend and the legacy of faith and giving he hopes to pass on.
“In keeping with the sentiment of paying it forward, and through gifts to support nonprofits that empower others to make the path easier, Walker wants to encourage individuals to seek out opportunities to help others,” reads a statement on the Be A Craig Fund website.