Walker Hayes on Fatherhood, TikTok, and Never Giving Up

·3 min read
Walker Hayes
Walker Hayes

Robert Chavers

About Walker Hayes

Mobile, Alabama, native Walker Hayes broke out last year with one of the biggest hits in country music—the pop sensation "Fancy Like." Walker Hayes grew up in a neighborhood where his church, school, and girlfriend were all within a mile radius. He met his future wife, Laney, in 11th grade. After they married in 2004, they drove straight to Nashville so he could pursue his music career, but that dream took more than a decade to get traction, and Walker struggled through some very hard times. Despite years of rejection and disappointment, his love of writing songs drove him to push through. Then in 2021, "Fancy Like" hit the airwaves, Walker's dance moves became a TikTok sensation, and he's since been nominated for Grammys, Billboard Music Awards, CMT Awards, ACM's, and a Kid's Choice Award. On this episode, the father of six talks about how his Dad booked his first "life-changing" gig at The Yacht Club in Mobile Bay, his struggles with alcoholism, and his friend Craig, who introduced him to the church and even gave him a van. Plus, Walker shares his go-to meal at Applebees.

What Walker Talks About in This Episode

*Growing up in Mobile, Alabama

*His relationship with his father

*Becoming a TikTok sensation

*Being a father to six children

*His struggles with alcoholism

*Finding the church

*Losing a child

*His breakout hit "Fancy Like"

*His favorite meal at Applebee's

Quotes from Walker 

"I've learned as I've gotten older, my dad told me so many things without ever saying some things to me. You know what I mean? And within those memories, there's lesson upon lesson about grace and mercy and forgiveness and loving a kid. There's never an adequate amount of gratitude you can give a parent. My dad loved me and I didn't give him anything in return, as a kid."

I love music that makes me feel less alone...Whether it feels like I'm feeling or if it's saying what I'm actually going through, and so I feel like God has gifted me with lyrics. I'm not a melody guy. I'm not a musician. I'm not like some virtuoso. I just love words.

—walker hayes

"The South has a way of preserving the best things about traditions, Southern is synonymous with simplicity, and I think some of the basics of family and friendships and camaraderie and the pace of life, and keeping things ... I say small town, but I mean just know people, know people and be known, spend time together."

About Biscuits & Jam 

In the South, talking about food is personal. It's a way of sharing your history, your family, your culture, and yourself. Each week Sid Evans, editor in chief of Southern Living, sits down with celebrity musicians to hear stories of how they grew up, what inspired them, and how they've been shaped by Southern culture. Sid takes us back to some of their most cherished memories and traditions, the family meals they still think about, and their favorite places to eat on the road.

Download and listen to this episode of Biscuits & Jam with Walker Hayes on Apple Podcasts,  SpotifyAmazon Music, or everywhere podcasts are available.

Get a transcript of the full interview with Walker Hayes.