Walker Hayes Says He Looked for 'Higher Purpose' After Losing Daughter (Exclusive)

The "90s Country" singer opens up about how his music is evolving after suffering a family tragedy last year.

Walker Hayes is focused on his "higher purpose." 

The country artist opened up in a red carpet interview with ET Live at Sunday's Academy of Country Music Awards about how his music and life are evolving after suffering a devastating family tragedy last summer. 

In June, Hayes revealed that he and wife Laney had lost their newborn daughter, Oakleigh Klover Hayes, during delivery. 

"When you wake up from a tragedy or a loss like that, I didn't know this, but a lot of stuff just seems dumb in your life," he admitted. "Especially my job." 

While mourning the death of his child, Hayes said that he called his burgeoning career in the music industry into question. 

"I leave my family a lot, I don't see my wife or kids as much as I want, so it took me a while to get back in the writer's room and get back on the road," he said. 

"What has helped me is to look for a little bit of a higher purpose in what I do and to not focus so much on me," he continued. "On a daily basis, remind myself, 'Hey, there are fans out there that, however much bigger I want my music to go, there are fans right now who need me to sing. They need me to say stuff. They need me to tackle those challenging issues about tragedy and stuff with my music.' 

"Oddly enough, it made what I do seem super small -- and then it made me realize that actually what I do is important and I'm called to do it," he mused. 

Hayes, who shares six living children with his high school sweetheart, is back on the road with a new, fun-loving single, "90s Country." 

"This one was fun, light, not a lot to it," he said of the song. "I kinda wanted to just stop and start a new chapter. I don't even know if '90s Country' is on a new album or what. I just know that it was the right single to kick off our tour. Now we're back to the meat and potatoes. We're creating new material that's very personal, it's about my life." 

While Hayes hit it big with his upbeat, breakout single, "You Broke Up With Me," he also addressed challenging, real-life issues on his 2017 album, boom. Among them: sobriety on the track "Beer in the Fridge" and financial struggles on "Craig." 

Prior to the release of his album, Hayes sat down with ET for an episode of Certified Country, opening up about his musical partnership with Shane McAnally and his love story with wife. Watch below. 






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