For Walker Hayes, the Success of “Fancy Like” is a Family Affair: “It’s the Best”

Written by Cillea Houghton
For Walker Hayes, the Success of “Fancy Like” is a Family Affair: “It’s the Best”
Photo courtesy of Walker Hayes

Walker Hayes is the first to admit he can’t quite process the overwhelming success he’s achieved with his hit, “Fancy Like.” But he’s following the wise advice he received that gave him an eye-opening perspective. “Just live in the moment, live day to day,’” he recalls to Sounds Like Nashville. “That relieved me of some pressure. I felt like we weren’t soaking it up because you start thinking ‘what am I going to do next?’ How do I keep all that we’ve gained, and still gaining, in these months?’” 

Rather than trying to plan for the future, Hayes is soaking in the gratitude he feels each night as the crowds get “bigger” and “louder,” he describes, sharing videos on social media of packed rooms singing the recognizable lyrics back to him. “Fancy Like” became Hayes’ first No. 1 single at country radio when it topped the Billboard Country Airplay chart in November 2021. The song has also spent 17 weeks and counting at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and summoned to the No. 3 position on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100. But when he sat down with Cameron Bartolini, Josh Jenkins and Shane Stevens to the pen the ear worm track, he admits they could not have predicted the seismic shift it would have on his career. 

Originally released in June 2021 on his EP, Country Stuff, “Fancy Like” took on a life of its own after Hayes posted a video on Tik Tok of he and his 15-year-old daughter Lela performing an original dance they made up to the song on the front porch of their Nashville home. The video has since amassed more than 32 million views and is now front and center in an Applebees commercial. The lyrics famously name check Applebees’ Bourbon Street steak and Oreo shake, the latter of which has been reinstated to the menu for a limited time thanks to the song’s popularity. Hayes recalls that while everyone on his team was a fan of the track, they have been “blindsided” by its success. “It’s fun, and I think that’s what people are latching onto. People with a good sense of humor, they’re enjoying it,” Hayes observes. “We’ll take it.” 

Front Row L-R: Anna Gallenberger (Monument), Marissa Turk (SMACK), Robert Carlton (SMACK),
Katelyn Lester (Monument), Casey Thomas (Monument)
Back Row L-R: Shane McAnally (SMACK/Monument), Ansley Neeley (Monument), Luke Jensen (Monument), Walker Hayes, Katie McCartney (Monument), Jamie Graves (Monument), Joel Beaver (Monument), Lisa Mastrianni (Monument)
Photo Credit: Matt Bacnis

What makes the success particularly special is that Hayes gets to share it with his wife Lainey and their six children, who serve as inspiration behind the song that reflects the humble date nights he and Lainey use to have at Applebees and Wendy’s growing up in Mobile, Ala. Hayes admits that there are songs he’s released where he’s felt as though he’s playing a character onstage. But “Fancy Like” allows him to be his authentic self, the song’s success serving as a family affair. “This song and the dance, that’s me in my element. I am more comfortable doing a dance with my daughter on Tik Tok at my house than anywhere. I’m just a dad hanging with his daughter, so we love that aspect of this. It’s not just me, my whole family is winning. We’re all watching it going ‘what in the world?’ When the Applebees commercial comes on TV, we all go crazy,” he professes. “It’s the best.” 

Hayes will embark on his headlining The Fancy Like Tour in 2022.