Walker Hayes' path to stardom in country music hasn't always been easy, but after the success of his viral hit, "Fancy Like," the Alabama-born singer's hard work has certainly paid off. Hayes signed his first record deal shortly after moving to Nashville in 2005, but after being dropped by the label, the singer/songwriter worked at Costco to support his family. He pressed on, however, signing a publishing deal with Shane McAnally and releasing successful singles on Monument Records. Now in 2021, the singer is at the peak of his career after releasing a Platinum-selling tune this summer. Here's a look back at the six best Walker Hayes' songs, so far.
1. "You Broke Up With Me"
In 2017, Hayes released "You Broke Up With Me," the first hit song from his album, Boom. Hayes is now famous for his unique, talk-singing style, and "You Broke Up With Me" was one of the first songs to exhibit this. With a contagious beat made up of whistling and guitar picking, Hayes sings about an ex-girlfriend who now misses him, but ironically, she's the one that broke up with him. The lighthearted tune landed at No. 9 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart and No. 10 on the Country Airplay chart.
Hayes' musical style fits perfectly with feel-good tunes, but the singer has also applied that style to songs with deeper subject matter. In his 2018 song, "Craig," also from his Boom album, Hayes tells what seems to be an autobiographical story about a man named Craig, whom Hayes met at church. As the song goes on, Hayes sings about losing his record deal and his mini-van, forcing him to squeeze his family of eight into a small car. In the middle of Hayes' struggle, however, Craig comes through with a meaningful gift for the family. This heartwarming song landed just inside the Top 60 on the charts, but it's a perfect example of Hayes' depth as a songwriter.
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3. "90's Country"
Hayes released an ode to the country music of the 1990s with his 2018 tune, "90's Country." In this song, Hayes again employs his rhythmic singing and musical style as he seamlessly ties together titles of different '90s country songs to create the lyrics. He namechecks tunes such as Deana Carter's "Strawberry Wine," George Strait's "Check Yes or No," and more to tell the story.
4. "Don't Let Her"
Hayes continued his stream of singles in 2019 with the sentimental "Don't Let Her," a song that finds the singer imagining a world in which he passes away and his wife remarries. The tune, from 8Tracks (Vol. 3): Black Sheep, is directed toward the man who takes Hayes' place and it's full of tips on how to keep his wife happy. At the top of the list of tips is this: "If she ever misses me, please, don't let her." Although the song's subject sounds sad, the tune is surprisingly upbeat and full of personality as it includes funny pieces of advice such as "Don't ever say she's acting just like her mother" and "Don't ever watch 'The Office' without her."
?5. "Fancy Like"
Up until 2021, Hayes was enjoying a successful career with a solid fan base thanks to the songs listed above, but one viral song released in August 2021 shot his career to the next level. That song is "Fancy Like" from Country Stuff the Album, which started a viral dance craze on TikTok and made its way to country radio. The song itself is relatable, as Hayes sings about his not-so-fancy life of going to "Applebees on a date night" and enjoying "Natty in the styrofoam." The song and its accompanying dance became a viral sensation, and the tune has since landed at number one on the Country charts, No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been certified Platinum. Hayes has also released a remixed version with pop star, Kesha. "Fancy Like" was nominated for Favorite Country Song at the 2021 American Music Awards and it's also nominated for the Grammy for Best Country Song at the 2022 ceremony.
After "Fancy Like" threw Hayes into superstardom, he followed it up with "U Gurl," and later with new single, "AA," another catchy and clever tune from the artist. In this acoustic-guitar heavy, country-flavored tune, Hayes sings about juggling every day struggles, and most of all, "trying to stay out of AA." Like "Fancy Like," "AA" also features a TikTok dance created by Hayes and his eldest daughter. This tune is another that is slated to find viral success.