newsCO.com.au | Walker Hayes – Music News

November 19, 2017

@newsCOflash

2017-11-17 11:36:00

Walker Hayes is the new Jason Mraz. That is not a bad thing. Fifteen years ago Mraz delivered Waiting For My Rocket To Come, followed in 20115 by Mr A-Z. The two albums showed that he was an artist aware of genre definitions but not afraid to break all boundaries to craft a sound that belonged only to him. Walker Hayes may have at one time had the chance to become a country artist, but when he lost his record deal, he spent time in the real world before returning with a sensational album that is way beyond the need for any classification other than your new favourite album. We caught up with Walker to find out more.

Hi Walker, album number 2. What took so long?

HAHAHA…well…I don’t honestly feel like this is album 2. I was dropped by Capitol Records prior to releasing Reason to Rhyme digitally. Unfortunately, the physical product never hit shelves. When I lost that record deal I honestly thought the artist thing might have slipped out of reach. Most of the things I wrote were intended for other artists to cut, but that never happened either. In the meantime, I worked at Costco to feed the kids and continued playing at the Bluebird Café and Puckett’s Boathouse, in Nashville. When the thread of my dream was almost too small to hold on to, Shane McAnally called and said he could not get the artists he was sharing my songs with to cut them, BUT that he wanted the make a record on me. HA…That’s what took so long.

Your sound is very different to Reason To Rhyme, was that a conscious decision?

You’re right it is very different. I’m not sure that was a conscious decision. I blame the change and evolution of sound that occurred in the time between projects on what I went through after Capitol. When I was at Capitol I paid a lot of attention to what was working, what other people were doing, what the radio was playing, etc. When I didn’t really believe my music was going to be heard, I began writing for no other reason than the fact that I loved to write. That I had to write. It was therapeutic. What came out during those dark years was my true sound. I think that’s one of the most difficult things to find for any artist/singer/songwriter. Who you are. That’s what happened between albums. I started creating music with no rules, walls, etc. I stopped aiming and just wrote what was on my heart…and that is what my album boom. is. Merely journal entries that happen to rhyme. My earlier stuff was more of me trying to fit inside the parameters of Country radio. It wasn’t believable. This new stuff may not appeal to some folks, but they can’t say I’m pretending.

Your single “You Broke Up With Me” has proved a huge hit, did you anticipate its success?

No! I wish I could say I called it. BUT I can’t. I did think – key word is “think” – that it was a nice intro to what people are going to get on the album, boom. I was definitely pumped about the release of “You Broke Up With Me” and hopeful about how the public would react but I had no idea how special it would prove to be. It’s pretty cool how the audiences have responded – Unreal, really.

Would you say the track is a good example of what the album contains?

Absolutely. I think “You Broke Up With Me” is a perfect lead single to prepare friends and fans for what the rest of the album sounds like. There are deeper songs and simpler songs. It’s right down the middle of the album.

Which song would you say you are most excited for people to hear?

I’m most excited for people to hear a song called, “Craig”. It is the last song on the album, track 10. I wrote this song to thank you a dear friend for shattering my preconceived notions of “church folks” and loving me at my worst. When I met Craig, I was heavily drinking, nowhere close to the conception of this project, and all around sucking at life. He never judged me one time. Only loved me and my family. At our lowest, my family and I were down to one car. 6 kids, 5 seat belts. I proudly told friends, “it’s all good”. Craig knew that it wasn’t. He showed up at one of my son’s baseball games and gave us his own minivan. Yes, that’s right…gave us a car. I was ashamed to accept that type of help but he convinced me it was okay. Someone had done that for him once. Blew my mind. I wrote the song for him.

The album is being marketed as country. How would you define the sound?

I don’t really know what to call it. That’s probably not an answer you want, but honestly when I listen to music I don’t define it…I just like it or don’t. So, I hope people will do the same to this project. Obviously, there are multiple genres that are at play on the record.

If you had to file yourself alongside two artists, who would they be?

Sam Hunt, because I feel like his style is closest to mine inside the Country Market. Macklemore because he tells it like it is.

You team up with Nicole Gallyon on the release, how did that come about?

We were put together by mutual friends. My team occasionally suggest writers they think I would mesh with and her name was in the hat. We wrote two songs together, “Halloween” being the second. She is truly talented. The day we wrote Halloween was pretty incredible. I think it fell out the quickest of any song on the album. She was more than willing to chase the idea. I firmly believe that we were destined to write that day. I can only think of a handful of writers in Nashville that would have entertained the idea of Halloween. Most would have said, “that’s a cool idea, but you need a single”. She also sang the shit out of the chorus. We recorded all of the vocals the day we wrote it. My team and I thought about featuring another artist on it, but we hated to lose her voice. It was perfect. So, we kept it. She is the shit.

Who would be your dream collaborator?

I would love to collaborate with Sam Hunt. I’m really a fan of how much he pays attention to details in his lyrics. That’s so obvious in his songs. There are rarely cliches, throw aways, etc. I think it would be cool to write something out of the box with him and build a beat.

What ambitions do you have in the UK?

I want to soak it up. I want to share my music and hopefully cultivate a fan base over there. I want to bring something they consider fresh and interesting! I just want to see it too. I haven’t really traveled outside of the country and I’m looking forward to the experience. Also, I’m looking forward to any inspiration I get to write over there. I think it will bring some interesting flavor to my writing.

Lastly, if there is one stage in the world you could perform on, which would it be?

I’d love to play Sydney Australia’s Opera House. I know that probably isn’t the home of “Country Music” but my father and I used to watch this DVD of Andrea Bocelli singing there…I would love to play there.

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