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Country singer Walker Hayes thought his ode to Applebee’s would either make or break his career

Before Walker Hayes hit big with his unusual ode to the restaurant chain Applebee’s, the country singer-songwriter wondered if he’d have to give up his dream of being a star. But then, he found magic with the date-night song “Fancy Like.”

“I think we all thought, this is either going to end your career, or just explode it,” Hayes said.

Hayes talks about his career, the song and more in an interview with correspondent Lee Cowan for “CBS Sunday Morning,” to be broadcast November 21 on CBS and streamed on Paramount+.

Hayes wrote and recorded the song at a tiny home studio. A week after its release, his daughter invented a dance to go along with it, and “Fancy Like” soared on TikTok.

The hit came after Hayes struggled to make it in Nashville. He moved there 15 years ago and got a record deal almost immediately.

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“What’s so hard about this town?” Hayes said. “Like, it’s no big deal. I got a record deal. You know, they’re dressing me in nice clothes, taking photos. And then, I got dropped…”

And then, he got dropped again. Other labels passed on him several times, he said.  “To numb myself, I drank a ton, while I was writing, while I was playing shows.”

He worked the 4:00 a.m. shift at Costco to feed his family. “I began to feel like I was being a worse father by continuing to chase this dream,” he said. “Like, am I being a good dad, by chasing this dream? Or is it time for me to grow up?”

To watch a preview of Lee Cowan’s interview with Walker Hayes click on the video player below: 

Hayes also opens up about his approach to writing songs, a tragedy in his family, and more.

The interview airs during “Sunday Morning”‘s annual “Food Issue” broadcast.

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The Emmy Award-winning “Sunday Morning” is broadcast on CBS Sundays beginning at 9 a.m. ET. “Sunday Morning” also streams on CBSN [beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET] and Paramount+, and is available on cbs.com and cbsnews.com.

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