In the midst of all the success of his GRAMMY-nominated hit, “Fancy Like,” singer/songwriter Walker Hayes reflected on his musical journey, as he wrote the track “What You Don’t Wish For” from his latest album, Country Stuff The Album.
During a recent interview with Music Mayhem, Hayes revealed his favorite line in “What You Don’t Wish For,” which mimics the title of a song that he co-wrote with the band Sister Hazel awhile back.
“It’s ‘danger is real, but fear is a choice.’ And I don’t wake up and write that on the walls and read it every day, and it’s not on my license tag or anything,” Hayes said. “But I think that that describes me and the heart the Lord has given me and the heart I want to kind of pass to my kids is, ‘Hey, let’s be aware of dangers. And let’s even be aware of our own fears, but let’s face them because danger’s real and fear is really a choice you make. It’s not real like the danger is.’”
“And I think it’s beneficial for people to face those as opposed to chasing security and their lives being dictated by their fear,” he added. “It’s good to be aware of your fears, face them and not let fear determine who you are and what you do with your time here on earth.”
Hayes’ fan base grows more and more every day with each release, however, before he became a viral sensation on TikTok with “Fancy Like,” he wondered if this career as an artist would work out, after being turned down time and time again. Hayes has come to recognize that failure can often lead to success with a bit of hard work, determination and a lot of patience.
“It seems like every time I drive into Nashville now I really am distracted by the heartbreaks that I pass,” Hayes told Music Mayhem. “For instance, the hotels I’ve stayed in, or the offices I’ve walked out of just depressed because someone told me I wasn’t good enough. And so I notice all those addresses that I pass each and every day now. And I think how important those heartbreaks were to my story.”
He continued to reach for the stars when nothing seemed to align and eventually began to see his dreams come to fruition right before his eyes, but there are still plenty of milestones that he’d like to achieve within his career. Even through his own songs, he is learning more life lessons.
“They say, ‘Careful what you wish’ but I say be more / Careful what you don’t wish for,” he sings at the end of the chorus on “What You Don’t Wish For.”
Hayes recently experienced this line in real life, and realized he should be taking his own advice. He didn’t wish for a GRAMMY nomination, but to his surprise he received one for Best Country Song at the upcoming 64th Annual GRAMMYs.
“I would say I probably didn’t wish for it because I didn’t think I could get it,” Hayes shared. “Which is actually what I’m telling people in the song to not do, but I’m blown away by that. And that lesson to me is, again, careful not wishing for something because you might actually not get it.”
The list of dreams goes on and on for the Alabama native; some are big and some are small. From struggling with alcoholism and working at Costco to becoming a GRAMMY-nominated internet sensation and sober father to six kids, a lot has changed over the past few years for Hayes, and he’s living proof that if you continue to work hard and chase your dreams, they will eventually become reality.
“I throw dreams out there, and they’re massive, and they’re rarely realistic… Coming to Nashville with the talent I had, which was not that much… Coming to Nashville and expecting to get where we’ve gotten…. we defeated massive odds,” Hayes admitted.
“Working in Costco, I would’ve laughingly said, ‘Hey, one day my songs are going to be everywhere.’ ‘One day I’m going to have a song, and It’s going to be on Hot Country for 25 weeks.’ Did I really believe it when I said it? Maybe not, but I didn’t believe it wasn’t going to happen… And I always felt like it could. I was raised that way, and I’m an individual… I don’t follow herds and that’s just kind of the way I am.”
As fans around the globe continue to take part in his viral dance trends and sing along to his catchy tunes, Walker Hayes will be embarking on his Fancy Like Tour, which has already sold out almost half its show dates. Mackenzie Porter will join Hayes on his tour, which begins tonight (Jan. 27) in Grand Rapids, MI.