Raised in Bethel Acres, OK, Wade Hayes grew up around country music. His father Don was a professional musician who played bars and honky tonks across Oklahoma. Through the influence of his father, he began playing music as a child. Initially, he played mandolin for a while, but he switched to guitar at the age of 11. Inspired by honky tonk, outlaw country, and bluegrass, Hayes developed a distinctive style at an early age.