It's like the old inspiration for performers asking how you get to Carnegie Hall. The answer's always the same: practice, practice, practice.
But when it comes to hitting the stage of Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, 10-year-old aspiring country star Mason Ramsey found a short cut. It's a cool formula, actually, consisting of busking at WalMart, getting discovered by Ellen Degeneres, landing a spot on her daytime talk show, and letting the host work her magic to land that coveted Tennessee stint.
Seriously, though, the kid deserves it. His take on the Hank Williams chestnut "Lonesome Blues," was classic, and the yodeling bits came naturally to his young pipes. With that impressionable voice and some pretty competent strumming on his acoustic guitar, young Mason charmed the audience in the studio and at home, leaving the throngs melting in his wake.
Since the show's airing on Tuesday, the Ramsey video's totally gone viral with more than 300,000 likes on Facebook, while Spotify reported that the streaming of the Williams song has multiplied by more than 2,500 times.
The instantaneous recognition hasn't turned the rural lad's head at all so far. For starters, the kid from a town of 700 folks had never been on an airplane before. And while he liked the experience of being in Los Angeles, where the Ellen show takes place, he's still proud to be a country boy.
"Out in the old country, all we do is bale straws of hay," he said, "and next thing you know, you're sitting under a tree, taking a nap with your hat down and a weed in your mouth."
Sure, it was cool to ride in a limo, but Mason was more taken by the fact that the driver had the same first name as his grandfather. He wasn't all that impressed with the sparkling water in his luxury trip to the studio, though.
As for future plans, once Mason hits stardom, he plans to save his cash, get a college degree, relocate to Florida, and work out of a motor home.
For now, the kid whose only gig experience was in front of the WalMart in his home town of Harrisburg, Illinois (because young Mason says it's the only store they have), not only has a set this Saturday at the Opry, he's also been given another followup concert.
It'll be a live show to be broadcast by the same company that's putting on the event. Yep, you guessed it, that very same WalMart in Harrisburg, which will also provide 15 big ones for his tuition.
Even with Mason's young career in full swing, he's already come full circle. Guess you can't outgrow your roots, boy...