Meet Walker Hayes

Hayes has always been the type that had to be cajoled into doing what always came natural to him. The son of a real estate broker, Hayes loved music — piano recitals, noodling on his guitar — but figured he’d stick around home and log a normal 9-5. However, after constant needling from his father, Hayes finally agreed to perform at a local bar, if only to get dad off his back. It was a tiny stage, he remembers with a laugh — “a small crowd, but there was applause after my songs” — and it felt incredible. “For some reason, when I left that show that night I knew right then that’s what I wanted to do,” Hayes recalls. He called his wife, asked her if she wanted to move to Nashville, and she said yes without hesitation.

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