C&I talks with Texas country superstar Clay Walker about his first single in three years, “Working on Me.”
Texas superstar Clay Walker has paved his own way in country music by staying true to his roots. Whether on the stage or recording in the studio, Walker earns diehard fans wherever he’s making music.
Walker shot up on the Billboard charts with the 1993 release of his first No. 1 single, “What’s It to You,” and then his second, “Live Until I Die.” Since then, he’s had 31 tracks on the Billboard charts, four platinum-selling albums, and two gold albums.
Now, after three years, Walker has released a new single. Titled “Working on Me,” the love song is a great introduction to Walker’s latest musical direction.
We recently caught up with the singer-songwriter to talk about his new single, his favorite places in Texas, and staying true to himself.
Cowboys & Indians: After being in the business for about 25 years with more than 10 albums and countless awards, what has been the most rewarding moment of your career?
Clay Walker: It’s too difficult to pick just one moment, but a few stand out. Playing the Houston Rodeo as a headliner the first time was special. Years later Merle Haggard inviting me on stage with him in Statesville, North Carolina, moved me since he is my favorite singer. And most recently, having my children on the road at some shows and seeing how proud they are of me is the highlight of my life.
C&I: You’ve recently released your first single in nearly three years, “Working on Me.” What do you hope your fans will get out of it?
Walker: Having fun making a record can be all the difference to the delivery. I’ve never enjoyed the process more than I did this time. My voice feels better and stronger than ever and the song choices are all from the heart. The fans know when you’re telling the truth by the way you sing a song. That’s what makes it a hit: truth.
C&I: What are some memorable stories along the way of getting your new single from concept to actual release?
Walker: The thing that sticks out here is my daughter MaClay heard it the first time I recorded it and offered some really good advice. She said “Dad, I don’t like the phrasing you used on it. It sounds contrived.” I knew what she meant: I was trying too hard, wanted every line to be perfect. So I sang it over and over. Long story short, I went back in the studio and re-sang the entire song with the image of my wife in my head and it was magic. I thank my daughter for having the guts to tell her papa the truth.
C&I: Is there a song you’re most proud of in your career?
Walker: “Live Until I Die” is my favorite. It’s my autobiography
C&I: You’re known for staying true to yourself with your music, which fans and other artists really admire about you. How have you maintained that independent mindset throughout your career?
Walker: It’s never been an easy thing to do. There are people with good intentions who have had bits of control of my career in the past, record labels, etc. When you have people you have different opinions and you have to pick your battles. I feel like I’ve won most of the important ones.
C&I: Since the release of your self-titled debut album, how do you think your music has evolved?
Walker: There is nothing new under the sun — I believe this. So you have to take what already exists and modify to your taste. I’ve been influenced by artists young and old. The production of a song determines the way it sounds, I only like working with producers who are creative, driven, and know the roots of country music and appreciate them and want to enhance them, not replace them.
C&I: Without giving too much away, what musical direction are you heading toward in the future? Are there any styles or sounds you would like to experiment with?
Walker: More truth. More truth. I’m at a place in my life with music that is confident. I actually know what people like about country music, which gives me a unique spot. I believe this album is the start of a new beginning that millennial audiences will appreciate for its clarity and direction. I would call it the sweet spot.
C&I: What’s something fans might not know about you?
Walker: I wake up every day and pray for wisdom.
C&I: As a native of Texas, what are some of your favorite places to visit when you go home?
Walker: Texas is the most diverse state. As I’m writing this, I’m looking across a field of windmills in West Texas. I grew up in lush green East Texas. I can’t pick a favorite place to visit because I’ve seen it all and it’s all My Texas.
For more information on Clay Walker and his upcoming tour dates, visit his website.