���It Was Supernatural���: The Story Behind Walker Hayes��� Viral TikTok Hit ���Fancy Like���

<���It Was Supernatural���: The Story Behind Walker Hayes��� Viral TikTok Hit ���Fancy Like���>

By David Wetzel

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 13: Walker Hayes performs onstage during the 2021 CMT Artist of the Year on October 13, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMT/Viacom)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 13: Walker Hayes performs onstage during the 2021 CMT Artist of the Year on October 13, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMT/Viacom) Jason Kempin Getty Images for CMT/Viacom

When songwriter Josh Jenkins suggested to country music star Walker Hayes that they write a song called “Fancy,” one of the other writers in the room was confused.

Shane Stevens, a Myrtle Beach native who grew up in Calabash, North Carolina, questioned where Jenkins was going with the idea.

“I said ‘Fancy, like Reba (McEntire)? Or Iggy Azalea?’ He’s like ‘No. Like things that are fancy to country people.’ I was like ‘Oh, you mean like fancy like? Like going to an upgraded restaurant like Cracker Barrel?’ and Walker’s like ‘No, dude. I take my family and my kids and my wife to Applebee’s,” said Stevens, who was also with writer Cameron Bartolini in the studio.

“I’m like ‘Shut up. That’s hilarious.’ And I was like ‘Does anybody in here dip their fries in a (Wendy’s) Frosty? Because I want to put that in this song. I have always wanted to say ��fries in a Frosty’ in a song.’”

Stevens said he’d vowed to put that line in a song ever since well-known songwriter and a friend of his, Hillary Lindsey, introduced him to the concept.

The line happened.

Little did the four men in the studio know, the start of that March conversation at SMACKSongs in Nashville, Tennessee would lead to one of the most popular songs of 2021 that has been punctuated by viral TikTok dances and an appearance in an Applebee’s commercial.

“Then it just became like a download. It came straight out of heaven,” Stevens said of the conversation leading to the song. “It was like one of the easiest co-writes that’s ever happened. We bounced back and forth, Walker and I and Josh and Cameron like it was just a miracle. We knew it was supernatural because it was coming so quickly and so easily. I don’t think anybody even picked up an instrument. We were just singing melody back and forth.”

How a mistake helped lead to a viral hit song

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Stevens nearly left the studio before the group’s conversation ever took place. And who knows if it would have happened had he not ultimately joined the three others.

In fact, Stevens was at the studio to work with Kylie Morgan. However, when Stevens showed up, Hayes’ management team informed him that they had made a mistake and admitted that he wasn’t supposed to meet with Morgan until the next day.

As Stevens was about to leave, Hayes walked out of the writing room to get coffee and saw Stevens, whom he had been working with frequently since late 2020. He asked Stevens to hop into the studio.

Stevens said he was reluctant at first as he saw there were already two other writers in there. But Hayes reassured Stevens, who then obliged.

Stevens said that when he entered the room, he found a really laid-back atmosphere rather than a super-serious songwriting session. He said the quartet talked about subjects such as God, coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and family, and they reflected about how the pandemic has made them really think about what’s important in life.

They had no idea they were on the verge of something special.

“It’s like God always works things together for the good,” Stevens said.

The conversation that led to a big-time hit

The more the men talked about family and what’s important in life, the more they began to talk about an appreciation for everyday life.

When Jenkins mentioned the idea of writing a song called “Fancy” — which ultimately morphed into “Fancy Like,” of course — the conversation pivoted to the general perceived assumption that all musical artists are rich and out of touch with society.

“We thought, ‘You know what? Everybody thinks songwriters and artists are driving Range Rovers and are all rich and in their mansions,’ and that’s just not always the case,” Stevens said. “Walker’s got six kids. They live in a normal house in Franklin, (Tennessee) driving a minivan and doing their best trying to keep their kids fed and get out on the road and hustle. It can be feast or famine.”

Many national publications have been asking Walker how the song came about.

“Let’s be honest,” the singer-songwriter told PEOPLE for the latest issue of the magazine. “This wasn’t supposed to happen to a 41-year-old dude with a wife, six kids, two dogs and two gerbils.”

Hayes further told PEOPLE how the song is essentially a message to enjoy every moment on this earth.

“To me, what it says is, ‘I’m okay if tomorrow looks just like today,’” he said. “It’s a beautiful, peaceful feeling, like, this is life and it’s good enough.”

Stevens said the four men were having a ball while chatting on the subject, which ultimately led to something special.

“It was so effortless and so easy. When you’re sitting there laughing about to pee your pants, you’re like ‘You know what? We’re writing a song for normal people. We’re writing a song for people like — people that go to Applebee’s, people that go to Wendy’s, people that go to Cracker Barrel, people that shop to Walmart,’” said Stevens, who has written for the likes of Ariana Grande, Beyonce, Meghan Trainor and other stars. “Like my mama — we’re writing this song for my mama. And (for people) where I come from — people that work on shrimp boats and clam for a living.

“People that go to strip malls. Walker says that a lot ‘We did this for people who go to strip malls.’ I’m like ‘Well, that’s me.’”

This story was originally published October 27, 2021 5:00 AM.

Source : https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article255183347.html

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