TIDAL Rising Artist of the Week: Walker Hayes
With TIDAL Rising we’re constantly showcasing new music from our favorite up-and-coming artists across all genres, and each week we pick one artist in particular to shine our spotlight on.
Introducing Walker Hayes: 10 Things You Need to Know
1. Walker Hayes was born in in Mobile, Alabama, but moved to Nashville on a hunch 12 years ago.
2. When in Nashville he landed and lost major label deals.
3. He’s actually trained in classical piano.
4. He wrote songs for others while working the graveyard shift at Costco to pay his bills.
5. While struggling to make it in Nashville, Hayes connected with renowned songwriter and producer Shane McAnally. McAnally signed Hayes to his SMACKSongs publishing company who released two volumes of Hayes’ music for free online: 8 Tracks, Vol. 1: Good Shit and 8 Tracks, Vol. 2: Break the Internet.
6. Hayes then signed with the recently revamped Sony imprint Monument Records, run by Shane McAnally and Jason Owen.
7. Rolling Stone called his buzzing breakthrough single “You Broke Up with Me” ‘a laid-back, breezy kiss-off to an ex, with a heavy dose of Southern swagger and some beat-boxing to boot.’
8. He sure knows how to beatbox.
9. Hayes is currently on the road with Thomas Rhett on a nationwide tour.
10. His upcoming album is called boom. It is a word Walker Hayes uses often.
Bet we’ll hear lots of booms in the near future!
Chasing the Neon Rainbow: Q&A With Walker Hayes
Congrats on being picked as our Rising Artist of the Week. Please introduce yourself, who is Walker Hayes?
I’m from Mobile, Alabama. My wife and I have been in Nashville for 13 years chasing that Neon Rainbow. We have 6 kids and a 7th on the way. Three boys and three girls.
It’s been a long road here.
Tell us a little about your forthcoming album boom. What do we get and why should we be excited?
boom is my album that is coming out Dec. 8th. I couldn’t be prouder of this project. I honestly hate to call the tracks on this album ‘songs’ because they are merely my journal entries… that happen to rhyme. It’s the truth.
There are songs that were previously on my 8-tracks that we released last year. We took those tracks and put a band around them. So, they are basically the ‘upgraded’ versions. There are three brand new songs on the album as well. It was very difficult to narrow it down to a list of 10 songs.
Who were your musical heroes growing up?
My musical heroes were John Mayer, Tim McGraw, Tupac, Dave Matthews, Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney, The Band, Beastie Boys, Dixie Chicks, Tone Lōc… Ha
When and how did you first get into music?
I was in a choir before I even had a memory. Dad’s fault!
Name an experience that changed your perspective on music?
My father encouraged me to play guitar and sing at a small restaurant/bar in Mobile, at the end of 2003. I was reluctant until I finally agreed on the condition that he stopped asking me to do it. I played one Friday night for about an hour and that was it. I thought, “I want to move to Nashville and do this for a job.”
What’s the best new song you recently discovered?
I love Macklemore’s new song “Good Old Days” featuring Ke$ha.
Can you share a fun fact about you or your music?
I am THE slowest writer in Nashville. It takes me months to complete a song.
What’s your favorite activity besides making and playing music?
Hangin’ with my kiddos!
What’s coming next for Walker Hayes?
Obviously the album release on Dec. 8th and then I’m on tour with Kelsea Ballerini next year!
Looking one year ahead, where would you like to see yourself?
Oh, shit. I’m not really a planner. I guess I hope to have a couple number ones… maybe working hard on album two. Hopefully releasing a third 8 track. Headlining a little bit. Growing the fan base as rapidly as we are now. Fingers crossed… might have an award or two under my belt. Grammys… hey, go big right.
If your music were an animal what would it be?
My music would be the honey badger. Because it doesn’t give a shit. Nah, for real… it would. I spent so much time making sure I never changed a single specific detail, word, emotion etc. from how a single story went down to make a song “radio, safe, commercial, etc.”
Hate it or love it, I want people to hear it and say: He is who he is. He didn’t lie.
We also invited Mr. Hayes to make a guest playlist for us. Enjoy his take on Kenny Chesney: – Kenny Chesney’s music lives right beside my wife and I’s relationship. His songs define moments in our life together. We were in a fight one night, and while I was trying to remain pissed, for the sake of winning, (pride…I know right) I turned on the radio and “Anything but Mined” was on. This song reminds me of the year we moved to Nashville. So many great, happy memories I didn’t feel like thinking about… In my head I thought… “Shut Up Kenny.”
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