Walker Hayes, Photo Courtesy of iHeartRadio; Morgan Wallen, Photo Courtesy of John Shearer/Getty Images for Big Loud
Walker Hayes, Photo Courtesy of iHeartRadio; Morgan Wallen, Photo Courtesy of John Shearer/Getty Images for Big Loud

Walker Hayes Says Morgan Wallen Is A “Gifted Artist” & He Really Enjoys Wallen’s Music

Last year when popular country singer/songwriter Morgan Wallen was barred from performing on major award shows, he spent his time singing in local Broadway bars and was welcomed on stage by several of his fellow country music artists such as Riley Green, Luke Bryan and Eric Church. 

Despite receiving a significant amount of backlash after TMZ released a video of a Wallen in a drunken state shouting the N-word from outside his home in early 2021, his career surged. Now, he is making amends for his previous actions and many members of the industry are continuing to show their support in his journey. 

During a recent interview with Billboard, “Fancy Like” singer Walker Hayes showed his support for the East Tennessee native, when asked if he feels it’s the right time for Wallen to re-emerge into the industry after the controversy in 2021.

“My greatest need, as a believer, is just continual mercy,” Hayes told the outlet. “I do not know [Wallen] personally, but I do know he is a gifted artist… I love pretty much anything he puts out. His actions, they don’t deter me from enjoying his music.”

Hayes continued, “I haven’t really kept a close eye on what he’s done to make amends for the trouble he got in. All I can say is I enjoy Morgan’s music and obviously don’t condone, and I don’t want to perpetuate, racism by any means. I can understand if someone was like, ‘Ah, too soon.’”

The scandal with Wallen occurred a little over a month after Wallen’s highly-anticipated Dangerous project was released into the world. Because of the incident, he was suspended from his label on an indefinite hiatus, removed from the WME agency roster, dropped from playlists across leading radio stations, steaming services, and CMT, and was banned from attending several award shows in the music industry, including the Academy of Country Music (ACM) and the Country Music Association (CMA) for the time being. 

Morgan Wallen; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Morgan Wallen; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

As the country music industry continues to encounter racism and a lack of diversity, Wallen has explained to his fans that he has been taking the steps to work on himself and to learn from his mistakes. In an effort to turn things around and make right of his actions, he followed through with his promise to donate $500,000 to numerous Black-led organizations, an amount which he determined would match what he’d made when his music sales spiked last year.

He donated $100,000 to the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville and $300,000 to the Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC) in the names of 20 individuals who had counseled him following the incident. Those individuals were given the option to funnel their respective $15,000 donations to a charity of their choice, or keep the money within BMAC.

$165,000 of the pledged funds to BMAC stayed within the organization. According to documents reviewed by USA TODAY, “the remaining $135,000 was distributed to several smaller charities of the individuals’ choice.”

Young People’s Chorus of New York CityTeen Dream CenterBeatrice W. Welters Breast Health Outreach & Navigation ProgramRight Hand Foundation were among the smaller charities that the 20 individuals chose to donate to.

Additionally, Wallen’s label Big Loud Records donated $100,000 on behalf of the East Tennessee native to Rock Against Racism, according to the non-profit’s founder, Cory Brennan. The donated funds will go toward “education and action plans for the organization,” Brennan said.

Rock Against Racism “is a non-profit organization consisting of a collective of musicians, artists, and music industry leaders continuing the crucial work of combating systemic racism.”

Wallen has been added back into playlists on leading radio stations and starting this week, he recently launched his headlining Dangerous Tour, which will continue on for eight months, hitting arenas and amphitheaters through September.

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