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CMR Exclusive: Walker Hayes Shares In-Depth Details About His Journey, New Single and More

Walker Hayes© by Photo Credit: Kelly Sutton

Walker Hayes returns to country radio with his latest single, “You Broke Up With Me.” Co-written by Hayes, Thomas Archer and Kylie Sackley, “You Broke Up With Me” was produced by the infamous Shane MacAnally and serves as the first release from his forthcoming new project.

In our exclusive interview with Walker Hayes, the singer/songwriter shares in-depth details about his new track, as well as his personal journey in the music industry.

The new track has two meanings for the singer/songwriter. There’s the fun side for everyone to enjoy, and also a more serious side that relates to him personally. “On the surface, it’s obviously about a guy who got dumped” Walker explains. “The girl shows up on the scene while he’s having a good time, she’s a little bit jealous that he’s doing so well, and he begins to feel a little guilty. “But then he’s like ‘no, simmer on down a notch. You broke up with me.’ It’s an empowering thing for anyone to say.” 

On a more serious note, “You Broke Up With Me” is about Walker’s relationship with the music community. “Honestly, it’s kinda about my journey in Nashville” Hayes shares with us in an exclusive interview. “I’ve been there a long, long time, and I’ve felt those fair-weathered friendships come and go. That’s what it is really about.”

“I mean, that’s kind of what I sing with a smirk on my face, like, ‘hey, I’m getting another shot at this, and I think it is going to work.’ There is a lot of people coming out of the wood-work saying ‘hey, you want to hang.’ I’ve got nothing against them, we all do that, it’s natural. But hey, y ‘all broke up with me so I don’t feel guilty.”

While Walker has had some ups and downs in the industry, he has grown as an artist and songwriter throughout that time. Rather than giving up on his dream all together, he has taken his experiences, good, bad or indifferent, and put them to songs, further opening himself up and sharing personal emotions and moments with listeners. “I found over the past year and a half that my writing has changed a lot. I think the biggest thing that’s changed about it is, I go specific and I go true. I don’t want to write anything that I didn’t experience because I’m not an expert at that emotion, but I am of these recent experiences that I’ve had and I’ve noticed that is the stuff people relate to.”

“Sometimes I’m uncomfortable telling those stories about how it was hard and that I’m a recovering alcoholic, but being vocal about it therapeutic” Walker reveals. “That’s how I am about my journey in music, it’s therapeutic to just flat out tell everyone it hasn’t been easy, this isn’t just some over night thing. I didn’t just show up in Nashville knowing how to write like this, and getting these breaks. Not everybody thought I made a lot of sense when I chased this dream, and I think people love to hear that they are not alone when they chase endeavors like that.”

When Walker released “You Broke Up With Me” to country radio on June 26, he also shared a very open and intimate video depicting his journey that led up to this moment, a second chance if you will. “It started that we just wanted to write a letter of gratitude for being here because I really don’t take it for granted” Walker explains. “I am so grateful that I get to do this and take care of my family doing what I love. I wish everybody got to do that. I just wanted to kind of write a “thanks.” That video did come out really emotional. I wrote it with my wife. I really wanted to write this piece so I would read it to her and she would kind of help me. We felt it was the truth so we put it out there.”

In addition to the new single, Walker is also moving in the direction of releasing a full length studio album with producer Shane MacAnally at the helm. “I released two volumes of 8-tracks last year and now we are working on an album” Hayes tells us. “The full length album is a compilation of songs from the 8-tracks with a complete band around them, and then there will probably be 3 or 4 songs on it that fans have never heard.” 

While this may not be Walker Hayes’ first time around the music block, it is important to him that fans know that he is keeping it 100% real with his music. “I think a lot of country fans are real traditional and they don’t like change, and I get it. I hope people will give my stuff a listen and understand that it’s not different just to be different, this is just who I am.”

Hayes continues, “I’m just writing the truth here. I think some of them will do really well in the country format, and I hope fans pay attention to the craft of the songwriting because that is what I take the most pride in. If I haven’t lived the story, I don’t want to sing about it.”

Walker Hayes is set to highlight his music across the nation with multiple performances lined-up, including an opening spot on Thomas Rhett’s Home Team Tour. “I’m so intrigued by how much goes in to those shows and why they’re so perfect and so good, and how he creates so many moments in his live shows that are so magical and makes it worth it for someone to sit there for 75 minutes. Plus Old Dominion and Dan + Shay will be out there and I love both of those groups.”

Currently Hayes is transitioning from solo performances with the loop to a full band. He’s ready to enjoy himself onstage and work the crowd without a guitar at times. “When you put the guitar down, you start to feel like Bruno Mars and you start to do stuff that you didn’t know you could do. The video for ‘You Broke Up With Me’ showcases a lot of that.”

“I’m excited about so many things,” Walker shares “but honestly, for a guy of where I am on the ladder, it is pretty crazy that I am able to go out with someone like Thomas Rhett who is killing it right now.”

Getting a second chance to do something that you love in life doesn’t always happen for everyone, but it has happened for Walker Hayes. There is clearly something very special about the singer/songwriter, and fate has brought him back to the industry, radio and fans so that we can all experience the art and talent that Walker Hayes delivers.

Pick up Walker Hayes’ latest single “You Broke Up With Me” on iTunes here, and be sure to request it at your local country radio station. Stay connected with Walker by visiting his Official Website, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.