Country music singer, Clay Walker gained popularity in the early 90s with his hit songs “What’s It To You”, “Live Until I Die”, and “Dreaming With My Eyes Wide Open” to name just a few. He’s had 11 No. 1 country hits, has sold more than 10 million albums, and Clay is currently working on a new album which will be out in the next few months.
In 1996, Clay Walker had the scare of a lifetime when he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, an incurable neurological disease at just 26 years of age. It’s been nearly a decade since his diagnosis, he’s currently on tour, the host of Trophy Hunters TV on the Outdoor Channel, and is still going on strong.
Clay Walker was kind enough to join me for an interview recently to discuss his new album, summer tour, how he manages Multiple Sclerosis, World MS Day, and the Twitter chat he is participating in on Wednesday, May 27th.
Candace Rose: Clay, you’re a brilliant country music singer with numerous chart topping hits, and you’re an inspiration to all of us. Can you tell us about your latest projects?
Clay Walker: “I’ve been working on a new record – the first one in three years, so we’re excited to get the new music out. We’ll have a new song coming out in a couple of weeks, and we’ll also have a new album out some time in the next few months. I’m very, very excited about getting that new music out.
I’m also the host of Trophy Hunters TV on the Outdoor Channel. I’ve enjoyed that a lot. Growing up in the woods hunting and being a hunter gatherer. I really enjoy that role of my life.
As a person who lives with Multiple Sclerosis for the last 19 years, I’ve partnered with Teva to be able to bring education and awareness, and to be able to encourage people to start a dialogue (who have MS) so they can gain all the knowledge that they need so that they can do everything they can for MS. For me, I’ve been relapse-free for 17 years straight.
We’re touring every year, I’ve never missed a show. This is going to be an incredible year for us, but it’s all due to being able to manage my MS.”
Candace Rose: How have you managed to achieve so much in spite of living with RMS for almost two decades?
Clay Walker: “The key has been first finding a great neurologist who is a great MS specialist. He’s helped me really formulate a game plan. We’ve been able to customize it as time has gone by, but for the most part I’ve stuck to one steady thing – we found a medication that worked for me very early on (17 years ago). Once we found that, it seems like we have a really good foundation to build on. I have a pretty good diet and I do specific exercises and stretches for MS, for spasticity and for strengthening, and that has been great for me because I’m a sportsperson. I love golf, I love riding horses, and my golf game has actually improved quite a bit.”
Candace Rose: What are you looking forward to most on your summer tour?
Clay Walker: “The tour is going to be great! This year is going to be different in the sense that we have a new album, which is always exciting. We have a video wall behind us which has a lot of personal content on the wall to see during the show, which adds a whole new visual experience to our live shows. That’s been the biggest change and the biggest excitement.
We’ve worked on that on the past three or four months, getting that content ready to go especially with the new songs. I think the live shows, we’ve upgraded it quite a bit and we’ll be doing all the hits, as well as the new music, so folks need to come out and feel the energy and become interactive and be a part of the show with us.”
Candace Rose: What advice can you give to someone who is newly diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
Clay Walker: “The most important thing that a newly diagnosed person can do is to find an MS specialist close to them, and start the dialogue and be very open with it and very real about what they’re experiencing emotionally, physically, psychologically. Really express yourself and don’t be intimidated because that person is a doctor or an MS specialist. Even if the doctor is a bit stoic (not really animated) he or she is probably just listening very intently to what you’re saying, so don’t be intimidated by that. Get out what you need to say.
I hope people will visit our Twitter chat on World MS Day, which is again, May 27th. At 7 pm. central time, you can watch the dialogue between myself and Dr. Singer, who is an MS specialist and patients who are trying to get answers questioned by us. I think you can learn a lot from that.”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you so much, Clay. Where can we go for more information on MS, and to see you on tour?
As far as our tour goes, ClayWalker.com will get you about all the information that you want. Follow me on Twitter, and like us on Facebook. I spend a lot of time on Twitter and a lot of time on Facebook. I actually enjoy the direct dialogue with the fans.”