Walker Hayes On His Wife, Laney: ‘She’s Always Believed In Me’

Walker Hayes‘ entire life and career changed after his “Fancy Like” song went viral on TikTok. But Hayes might not be one of the reigning superstars in country music, if not for his wife, Laney, who encouraged him to keep going, time and again, when he was ready to give up.

“In a very humble way, she would say she’s not surprised,” Hayes tells ABC News ahead of the 2022 Grammy Awards, where he is nominated for the first time, for Best Country Song with “Fancy Like.” “She’s always believed in me that much. Laney has … believed in me more than I have for many years, so she’s really a lot of the reason we’re all standing up and dancing.”

The success of “Fancy Like” allowed Hayes to purchase a second bus so his wife and six children could join him on the road. It’s a fitting benefit for a family who has stood by him since his dream began.

“Everywhere I go, my family goes with me. Every heartbreak I’ve ever endured, Laney, my wife, has felt it equally,” Hayes says. “When I read that moment that we had been nominated for a Grammy … that wasn’t a nomination for just me.”

Hayes can credit a lot of his success to his wife of almost 18 years, but he also credits his daughter, Lela, who first suggested that her father do a dance for “Fancy Like.”

“She said, ‘Dad, ‘Fancy Like’ needs a dance,” Hayes recalls. “We choreographed it together. On TikTok I was like, ‘Whoa, it’s got like 60,000 hits.’ She came over and was like, ‘Dad, that’s 600,000. By the next Saturday, it had 13 million. I was like, ‘I’m just a dad with my daughter. What is the deal?'”

It was a surprise success for the Alabama native, who had already lost record deals and struggled to support his family, all while holding onto this dream of being a country music singer.

“It did seem like my music was hard to sell,” Hayes concedes. “There weren’t many outlets just dying for more Walker Hayes music.”

No one, least of all Hayes, could have predicted how much “Fancy Like” would make his career explode. But now that it has, the 42-year-old has found another set of challenges to face, thanks to his global fame.

“It’s hard because you’ve got fame tugging at you,” he said. “I’m trying to keep my children humble; I’m trying to keep myself humble.”

Hayes is determined to keep his family on the road with him, no longer seeing any other option for him.

“If I have to choose between family or fame, it’s an easy choice for me,” Hayes says. “Fame isn’t that great and family is … I’m accidentally a rock star right now, and my family can ride along with me on this adventure,” he says.

Find all of Hayes’ music and tour dates at WalkerHayes.com.

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