Keith Walker’s decision to pursue a career in country music can best be explained by a handful of life defining moments:
Father & Family: Keith’s southern born father served in the air force (special forces) and was stationed in England when he met Keith’s mother. The middle of three sons, Keith was born on a military base in Louisiana and spent his early childhood moving around the US. He grew up in a household that valued music and vividly recalls his British mother playing and singing along to her favorites, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. His dad taught him to play acoustic guitar and Keith remembers him being like a drill sergeant. “I had to play my scales perfectly before he would let me go outside and play with friends. I hated those lessons, but looking back on it, I guess I owe my start in music to my dad.”
Keith spent most of his formative years living in the sleepy beach town of El Segundo, California. “We moved there after my dad retired from the air force and went to work as an air traffic controller at LAX,” recalls Keith. “I remember my dad being stressed and not handling the pressure of work very well. This affected my home life. He took his stress out on my mom and us kids.” His father left them soon after a suicide attempt, hospitalization and diagnosis of post traumatic stress. “To this day, my father’s leaving has been the hardest thing to overcome,” says Keith “but I can see now that it was for the best.” Today, Keith doesn’t have a relationship with his father, but he still plays the guitar his dad gave him.
Tim McGraw & Car Accidents: When Keith was in high school, his brother’s girlfriend was in a coma following a severe car accident. Doctors were not sure if she would live or ever come out of the coma. This incident was around the time Tim McGraw’s hit “Don’t Take The Girl” was first out on country radio. Keith remembers listening to this song over and over, and the pure emotion the lyrics evoked from him. “At this moment I understood the power that music can have over people,” remembers Keith. “I knew this was what I was going to do with my life.”
Years later Keith found himself on a college scholarship studying opera singing. He had a natural gift for opera, but he still loved to perform country music and would play local writers nights on the weekends to get his fill. The head of his university’s music department told him to quit singing country because doing so was ruining his “opera voice.” Keith agonized over the decision, as he did not want to quit singing country music. Soon after this ultimatum, Keith was in a car accident, flipping his truck on the LA freeway. He emerged without a scratch and took this as a sign from God to move to Nashville and pursue country music. He transferred the next semester to MTSU where he wound up graduating with a music business and marketing degree.
“I believe that our background and circumstances may influence who we are, but we are responsible for who we become,” says Keith. And if he has anything to say about it, Keith Walker intends to become country music’s next superstar.