Breakout country singer Walker Hayes’ hit single “Fancy Like” is all we ever need today – just some Applebee’s on a date or Wendy’s frosty or an oreo shake with extra whip cream on top. No pretentiousness, just living and relishing life. The track really resonated with many country music fans earning him his second top ten hit after his ‘explosive’ 2017 comeback “You Broke Up With Me.”
But this wasn’t success achieved overnight. Unlike other artists, it took Walker Hayes over ten years to reach the top, and he had his own share of career lows, including working at Costco just to make ends meet.
So, here’s the story of his music and humble beginnings.
Early Life: Who is Walker Hayes?
Charles Edgar Walker Hayes or more popularly known as Walker Hayes, was born on December 27, 1979 in Mobile, Alabama. He was raised in a large blended family where he grew up loving both music and sports. At an early age, he learned how to play the piano, and he was also a regular participant in choirs and musical theaters. On the other side, he also enjoyed playing basketball and track.
Eventually, he decided to pursue music at Birmingham-Southern, a liberal arts college, majoring in piano. But according to Hayes, it didn’t have much to do with aspirations of performing Bach but more of choosing a degree plan that would get him through college. He also attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Although he loved music and he also completed a degree, he never planned on doing it as a job. At that time, he and his wife Laney Beville were engaged, and he was looking to work for his dad Charles Hayes who was a realtor. But he would occasionally pick up the guitar and just mess around singing. And it was ultimately his dad who encouraged him to actually try performing. He didn’t really think about it, but one Friday, he finally agreed, and he called up his fiancee, asking her if she wanted to change plans and move to Nashville instead.
Career Highlights: A Second Chance and A Breakthrough
It was 2005, and Hayes locked on his dream of becoming a professional musician. He was not disappointed.
A lot of things happened really quick for him. He signed a song-publishing deal and then inked a short-lived record deal with Mercury before moving on to Capitol Records. In 2010, he finally released his debut single “Pants,” hitting Top 60 on the Hot Country Songs chart. A year later, he launched his full-length album ‘Reason to Rhyme,’ but it flopped hard. He lost his deal, and he didn’t have a plan B. And so, he found himself stocking shelves at Costco just to feed his kids.
But Hayes kept on writing. And one day, the phone rang and at the other end of the line was Grammy-winning songwriter and hit-making producer Shane McAnally. He offered him a record deal. And that was the start of another chapter for him.
In 2017, he landed a deal with Monument and released his breakthrough single “You Broke Up With Me” from his album ‘Boom’. The song inspired by McAnally’s second chance earned him a gold certification, while the album debuted at number six on the Top Country Albums chart. The following year, he released “90’s Country” followed by “Don’t Let Her” in 2019.
And this 2021, Hayes earned his second top ten hit with “Fancy Like” from his EP ‘Country Stuff’. The catchy tune and simple message of the song combined with an adorable TikTok dance care of Hayes and his 15-year-old daughter Lela racked up 19.9 millions in views on the platform. This is definitely one of the Walker Hayes songs that you can’t help but enjoy on a good day or even a bad one.
Marriage and Family: Is Walker Hayes related to Hunter Hayes?
Walker Hayes went through a lot before reaching the success that he enjoys now. And what encouraged him to keep going through the tough times was that his wife Laney Beville never told him to stop. The couple met in high school and has been going stronger ever since. He credits her for everything that he has achieved now.
The couple also has six times the fun with their three girls and three boys. In fact, the whole family – Laney, Lela, Chapel, Baylor, Beckett, Loxley, and Everly – joined him on a TikTok groove session for his song “Fancy Like,” and it was honestly the best.
Oh, and if you’re wondering where Hunter Hayes is in the order or is he related to Walker Hayes through someone in the family… The answer is no.