Walker Hayes and his wife, Laney, tragically lost their infant daughter, Oakleigh Klover, last June. In the aftermath, Hayes, who was watching his career just begin to explode, admits he didn't know if, or how, he would keep going.
"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," Hayes told Entertainment Tonight. "Especially my job."
Hayes fought hard for his career in country music, which is what ultimately helped him move forward, albeit with a different perspective on life.
"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," Hayes said. "On a daily basis, [I] 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," he added, "and then it made me realize that actually what I do is important and I'm called to do it."
Hayes is currently on his Dream On It Tour, and back at radio with his current single, "90s Country."
"We are happy," Hayes told PopCulture.com. "Our kids are happy, and they're excited about this new adventure with this new song. Getting back out on the road has been so healing. At first, when we lost Oakleigh, I didn't want to do anything. I didn't want to write. I didn't want to sing. I didn't walk to talk to anybody."
After the death of Oakleigh, the Alabama native wasn't sure at first if he would ever perform again, but soon realized how important it was for him to keep doing what he loved.0comments
"After my first show I just quickly realized how blessed I was to have this occupation and to be able to just leave it all on a stage or on a piece of paper, and share it with people, and then get their feedback and their similar stories," Hayes remarked. "We're doing very well given the circumstances and we will not let what happened be in vain, there are very beautiful things that are happening already."
Photo Credit: Getty / Mat Hayward