In just six months, Mason Ramsey went from a small-town 11-year-old boy toe-tapping in a Walmart aisle to a Big Loud/Atlantic Records country artist. Along the way, the Golconda, Ill., native has leveraged viral success into a legitimate platform, performing at Stagecoach, Coachella and even the Grand Ole Opry — all while racking up more than 35 million streams on Spotify. (The original video of his Walmart performance has been viewed more than 77 million times on YouTube and Twitter combined.) Still, the pre-teen swears his almost-overnight fame hasn’t gone to his head.
“You’ve gotta have time to be a kid, you’ve gotta have some time to play around and be goofy … The only thing this is all about is to have fun, and I always have fun,” Ramsey says with a smile. “I’m a person that believes in miracles, faith and wisdom. I believe that someday I could be a big superstar.”
Though he may not consider himself a superstar yet, Ramsey — whose debut single “Famous” landed at No. 4 on the Hot Country Songs chart in May — is well aware that he’s too recognizable to return to his local Walmart where it all began. “I’ve been [back] there once. I just shopped,” Ramsey says. “I’m not allowed to sing any place public anymore, because if I do that, you know how people are — since I am like I am right now, if I sing, I could get kidnapped. Something bad could happen, you never know.”
So far, his age hasn’t held him back: He’s the youngest singer on this year’s edition of Billboard‘s 21 Under 21 list. Next up, Ramsey heads out on his first-ever tour supporting Chris Lane, which kicks off Oct. 18 in Milwaukee. Ahead of his next adventure, Ramsey looked back on his rapid rise and shared his favorite memories since becoming “Famous.”
1. Playing the Grand Ole Opry?
The Grand Ole Opry was my favorite. That’s when I got to discover the stuff inside the Grand Ole Opry, like Hank Williams’ clothes, the dressing room Taylor Swift stayed in and some other things. Then I got to perform. Ricky Skaggs introduced me, and I started to get the idea of what [performing] felt like to other people. That’s when I got my first standing ovation. You should’ve seen the look on my face! Grandpa said that if there’s one thing he wants me to do, it’s to keep going to the Grand Ole Opry. Now that I can go, I think I’m making him proud.
2. Appearing on Ellen
She wanted me on her show, but in order to do that, we couldn’t tell anyone. Then old grandma goes telling five people! At least it was [just people] in our hometown. I was jumping up and down on the couch when we got that call going, “Yeehaw! We’re going to California!” The fact that I sat there in that chair next to her — that was like the best thing I could ever do. I’d just met someone famous.
3. Singing at Coachella
I was singing on the stage, going on with Whethan. 30,000 people were there, and I was singing and singing. Another 20,000 came in, and then it was 50,000 all together. They came to see me [and chanted] “Yodel, yodel,” and I said, “That’s what I want to do [for the rest of my life].”
4. Meeting Florida Georgia Line at Stagecoach
The Stagecoach performance was a miracle. That was when I met BK and Tyler [for the first time]. I’ve hung out with FGL a whole lot. They’re cool, they’ve got a lot of talent.
5. Recording “Famous”
I had a lot of really great times recording “Famous,” because in the studio there’s always a lot of fun things to do. The most cool part about it is it has video games – [including] my favorite, NBA 2K18.
6. Hanging With the Stars
Shawn Mendes was cool. I said, “We should sing together,” and we sang [“There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”]. It was great. I want his voice. I’m gonna trade mine for his, that way he can yodel. And I would like to shout out Blake Shelton — he’s my dream to meet. You hear me, Blake? I would like to meet you!
7. Giving Back
I want to donate. I want to show people that I still love them even though I’m [now] the Walmart yodeling boy. I feel like I should help others — help their communities, help their citizens. It takes one person to [start to] change everything.