Walker Hayes Opens Up About Going to AA: ‘It’s Wonderful for Me’

Walker Hayes has been very open about his sobriety, after years of living life as an alcoholic. The father of six had a recent hit with his “AA” single, a song that he reveals actually mirrors his own life in some ways.

“With the ‘AA’ line [‘I’m just trying to stay out of AA‘], really, that’s a very deeply rooted line,” Hayes said on Southern Living‘s Biscuits & Jam podcast (via iHeartRadio). “A lot of people have commented or critiqued that line, but I thought long and hard about leaving it as, ‘I’m trying to stay out of AA,’ and the reason I left it there is because I actually do go to AA, and AA is great. It’s wonderful for me, and I will never stop going. It is awesome, but when I drank that first beer, when I was 13, 14, my end goal was not to go to AA. It wasn’t to go to rehab. It wasn’t to use something that would eventually control me.

“And so, ‘AA’ was kind of my anthem to just all the dads out there,” he continued. “It’s been an amazing song to watch people react, but  … If people are like me, I love the truth, and I love especially when it’s dressed up with sadness and laughter.”

Since Hayes first started writing and releasing music, his biggest goal wasn’t to sell out large arenas or have hit singles on radio. While those are nice, his biggest goal was to connect with others.

“If I had one goal with my music, it’s just, I love music that makes me feel less alone,” the Alabama native acknowledged. “Whether it feels like what I’m feeling or whether it’s saying what I’m actually going through. And so, I feel like God has gifted me with lyrics. I’m not a melody guy. I’m not a musician. I’m not like some virtuoso. I just love words.”

Hayes admits that “AA” could be taken multiple ways, but he intended it to be an uplifting, positive song.

“‘AA’ to me, you could actually sing that song and it would be very sad,” Hayes said. “You could make it sad, because it’s a struggle. Life is a struggle. Life’s not really the happiest thing ever. There are moments, but the moments between those great moments are pretty tough. Dads die, so do dogs. Hearts break, dreams don’t all come true. I’m one of a billion people who try to be a singer-songwriter, but what ‘AA’ to me focuses on is how life, really, if you look at it, and you don’t try to not do this, but it can be narrowed down to coping mechanisms.”

Hayes wrote “AA” with  Luke Laird and Shane McAnally, a perhaps ironic trio to write the song since neither of the men drink anymore.

“It was funny: three recovering, alcoholics, writing the truth,” Hayes told Everything Nash. “Just saying, ‘I’m just trying to do these things in life that I fail at all the time. But I’m trying, and that’s what I’m up to.’ That’s how that song came about. I walked in the room and ‘Fancy Like‘ was just on a rocket. Luke just laughingly said, ‘Man, how are you? What are you doing? How is it going?’ And I said, ‘Man, I’m just trying to stay out of AA.’ He said, ‘Let’s go. You write that down.’ And that was the conception of ‘AA.’”

Hayes will embark on his Glad You’re Here Tour on September 29. Find music and tour dates at WalkerHayes.com.

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