It’s no secret that TikTok has become a powerful platform for aspiring musicians, making it filled with dream chasers. The popular application has forced artists to think outside the box to capture the attention of music fans. TikTok user James “Bear” Bailey, quickly adapted to this strategy and made a name for himself by serenading customers at a Super Serve gas station near his home in Houma, Louisiana.
In less than two weeks, Bailey has generated a massive following on social media for his checkout counter covers. Melissa McGee, also known as “Mama” to the locals, challenges Bailey to a new song request daily within the viral clips. Without any hesitation, Bailey breaks out into song, showcasing his impeccable vocal range and unique sound.
According to HuffPost, the 33-year-old welder has always dreamed about becoming a professional singer since he was a kid. Now, he thanks cashier Melissa McGee and her two daughters Renee Hayes and Ashley McGee, for his newfound stardom.
They found out I could sing, you know, just from living around here, and so on the days that I would go in there to get a snack or whatever, they’d say, ‘Hey, Bear, you’ve got to sing, you’ve got to sing for me,” Bailey previously told HuffPost.
He continued to share his thoughts on his rapid rise to fame and how it feels to be experiencing a pinch-me-moment later on in life. “It’s a very humbling feeling,” he says. “I’ve sang my entire life, and you know, I’m 33, and you just get to an age where you kind of give up on your dream because you’re like, ‘This is never going to happen.”
While he shares an array of covers from top-charting musicians in different genres, his renditions on country tracks are what put his name on the map and captured the attention of notable artists within the industry.