Rhett Walker Asked God for A Sign, His 2019 Single “Believer” Delivered

“We came from nothing, so we said yes to everything,” country star Rhett Walker explains over the phone. He was just 24-years-old when he signed his first deal with Mercury in 2012. As a new husband and teenage father, Walker jumped at the opportunity to make a living with his music. “Fast forward,” he says, “you write a bunch of songs to make records and you tour them non-stop.”

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His debut Come To The River in 2012 was followed by Here’s To The Ones in 2014. Walker and his band were nominated for a GRAMMY Award for the single “When Mercy Found Me.” From there, the road warrior spent more nights on a bus than his bed, and too much time away from his family.

“I was exhausted” he admits. “I wasn’t stewarding what I had been given well, and that started to reflect in my touring schedule and music — I wasn’t firing on all cylinders. I was gonna step out, thinking maybe this isn’t for me anymore. Me, my wife, and God made a deal. I said ‘You’ve got to close this door for me if it isn’t what you had in mind. If it doesn’t take off by the end of the year, I’ll know it’s time.’”

In October 2019, his single, “Believer” climbed the charts. As the song landed in the Top 10, Walker realized this was his sign. When it stayed there for nearly 28 weeks, the artist understood where he needed to go from here. The message on his highest-charting song of all time aligned his compass.

“I believe I am who God says I am, not what anyone else says I am,” he explains. “So it’s a message of hope and reminding yourself that there’s peace in the struggle and good times always on the other times if you’re focused right.”

For Walker, it’s always been about faith, family, country. From churches to theaters to the Opry stage, that’s the message he feels he should put out in the world. For “Believer” to be the song to excel and keep him in the music industry, his convictions were confirmed. From there, he continued on this trajectory with his latest single, “Gospel Song.”

About the time everything started looking up, the pandemic hit. Walker jokes, “I was wondering if this was all about me and that deal I made not too long before.”

“Speaking with my wife one night, she said ‘this is a moment where the proof is in the pudding’ — or something along those lines because she’s not redneck like me,” he laughs, and continues. “But basically she asked if I believed in the songs I write. Because if I did, and if I believed there’s still hope and joy to be found in this world, then I better perk up. Let’s find out how we can be of service to others.”

And so he did. 2020 was a year full of writing about that bigger picture. Beyond the fleeting heat of the moment messaging, Walker honed in on joy, peace, happiness, and love — knowing that the sustainable kinds of those feelings come from a higher power.

“Gospel Song” is his first step out of the last year. He says, “It’s about getting back to the basics, rolling your windows down and singing your favorite songs.”

The video features his wife April, and their four kids—Rileigh, Jett, Autumn, and Cash — living these lyrics. The endearing footage includes them dancing around the house, running through the yard, roasting s’mores over a campfire.

I could listen to my heart / I could listen to the world / I could listen to my problems / But what I think I need to hear / nice and loud and crystal clear / is ’bout the One who’s gonna solve them, Walker declares in the opening verse.

As a songwriter, with a firm footing in his artistry, he feels his strength is in “caring less.” He says, “I know it sounds funny, but for so long in Nashville, it’s easy to get caught up in what your peers are doing. There’s a lot of talent and a lot of good music. Watching ‘Believer’ work when I stepped out of the way, I realized there is so much freedom in art and music, and it’s only up to me to write my heart and soul.”

His criteria now is simple. Forgoing fabrication and trying to match “a vibe,” Walker reaches for authenticity in his music. In speaking his truth, he witnessed others finding their own within his story. Had he given up, there would be no one else to share his unique perspectives — to instill the kind of hope that continues to deliver.

“Music is fickle,” he says. “But what I point out to my kids is if you believe in something, have a passion in your heart for it, you can’t pick your future on the way the waves are hitting at that time. They could change at any moment, so you have to stay true to you.”

Listen to “Gospel Song” below and keep up with Rhett Walker, here.

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