The Yodeling Kid Is Famous
You’ve probably heard of Mason Ramsey. In March he let loose the yodel heard ‘round the world from the humble stage of a Walmart convenience store, dubbing himself “The Yodeling Kid.” Fast forward to May and Mason is still yodeling away, but on much larger stages. Having recently performed at Coachella, Stagecoach, and the famous Grand Ole Opry, Mason is in the midst of a meteoric rise to fame. And while the kid himself is a new face, the situation can’t help but feel familiar.
Virality like this is nothing new. From Marquese Scott aka the “dubstep dancer” to Danielle Bregoli aka Bhad Bhabie, digital video virality has been spawning legitimate careers in entertainment since its inception. What’s new is the sheer speed of Mason’s rise. Scott’s famous video was his 53rd. He’d been posting for years and eventually one stuck. Even Bregoli had more than a year for her memedom to simmer after her initial outburst on TV with the infamous “cash me ousside, how bout dat?”
Mason is a different story, he yodeled some Hank Williams in a Walmart and then played Coachella 3 weeks later. This is what virality 3.0 looks like. When these internet sensations first hit the industry, they didn’t know how to properly leverage their digital stardom. Now, 15 years in there’s a blueprint. Both Bregoli and Mason are actually signed to Atlantic Records. Mason’s launch to the big time was a perfect storm. While we have seen this phenomenon in pop and urban genres, this country catapult to fame is a first.
One advantage Mason holds is the increasing number of internet connected devices. With the increasing number of digital platforms this allows artists to instantly intertwine their digital presence with their fans. Whatever the nexus of circumstance, Mason Ramsey is crushing it. His new single ‘Famous’ is written by the Florida Georgia Line team and it’s already done more than 10 million Spotify streams and charted on the Billboard hot 100. With so much adulation it begs the question, what makes it different with Mason than the others? How did he do it in 3 weeks? Even Bieber took longer than that. Speaking of Bieber, their chance encounter at Coachella was very fitting. There’s a new kid on the block and Justin is passing on the torch of youtube video, turned superstar.
Maybe people just like to see a kid make it. Perhaps it’s the convergence of the growing digital population and the need for hope of upward mobility to fight the despair of the widening income gap. The bottom line is that although internet virality has been around since the 1990s each individual case has its own je ne sais quoi. Shoveling marketing dollars across platforms can make a snowball but only the consumer can create an avalanche. Today, Mason Ramsey may be the Walmart crooning avalanche du jour, but lord knows what Taco Bell beatbox genius will claim the throne next.