At the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2018, there’s no doubt that Walker Hayes had little idea of what to expect from the year to come. Following a massive 2017 with a new record deal and a Top 10 single that kissed off those who didn’t believe in him, Hayes was set up to kick off 2018 with a boom. (get it?).
With the right team in his corner, opening slots on major tours and fans eager to buy his music, Hayes quickly earned a rightful place among the country stars, paving the way for those who fall a little outside the realm of “traditional country.”
With those successes and a solid foundation, Hayes found himself earning a CMT Awards nomination for Breakthrough Video of the Year and a performance slot during the broadcast. What was meant to be a momentous day in the budding superstar’s career was turned upside down when he revealed that earlier that very morning, the child he and his wife of 14 years, Laney, were expecting had passed away. The news sent shockwaves through Hayes’ community, who knew how excited the “Craig” singer was to be a dad of seven. Things came to a halt for Hayes as he canceled all immediate tour dates to spend time healing with his family at home.
Through the pain and sadness, however, Hayes never stopped seeing the light. After getting a memorial tattoo for his little girl, he began rescheduling tour dates and planning ahead, keeping the ball rolling for his career in hopes of providing for his family.
His strength and resilience has poured over into a new project, called the Be A Craig Foundation, named for his recent single and after the man who gave him a reason to believe in others.
In his early days of struggling and working at a Costco, Hayes had trouble giving his family what they truly needed. That’s when Craig stepped in and provided the family with a much needed minivan to keep the family safe while on the road. While at the time, Hayes couldn’t repay the favor, he has since strived to pay it forward with an organization that encourages fans to find people that could use a helping hand.
“I wanna be a ‘Craig,’” says Hayes. “I want to be more selfless and look outward. I want to give back and this fund allows us to do so, together.”
While the year has been a roller coaster for the singer (to say the least), the he is ready to tackle whatever life brings next…with his loving family and his friends by his side.
“Everything that has happened to us this year, both good and bad, is a reminder of how much in this life we cannot control. Laney and I are so grateful for the love and support from the Nashville community when we are celebrating or when we are hurting,” shared Hayes with Sounds Like Nashville.