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.
Keep on reading and watch the emerging star tackle smash hits from some of country music’s biggest stars.
1. “Tequila” by Dan + Shay
Bear Bailey kick-started his gas station series with Dan + Shay’s award-winning ballad “Tequila” from their self-titled third studio album. With a candy bar and protein shake in hand, the Louisiana local crushed the drinking-inspired anthem acapella. Since its release, the minute-long video raked in thousands of views and received praise from the country music duo in the comments. “Killed it, man!” says Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney from the band’s official TikTok account.
2. “‘Til Summer Comes Around” by Keith Urban
On Saturday, July 17, Bailey rolled into the gas station to serve up a groundbreaking rendition of the 2009 hit single ” Til Summer Comes Around” by Australian heartthrob Keith Urban. Once the star-in-the-making started singing, a Super Serve customer standing behind him in line had a hilarious reaction and was blown away by his incredible country pipes. With the help of over 9.7 million views, it got around to Keith Urban. The country music legend tweeted the cover on Twitter.
— Keith Urban (@KeithUrban) July 21, 2021
3. “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton
Bear Bailey was feeling confident the night he sang “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton, as he walked right up to the checkout counter to deliver his premium take on the fan-favorite country ballad. His vocal control on the riffs and runs that the challenging tune partakes, had everyone in the store dead in their tracks. The positive reaction quickly came when Bailey belted out the chorus. “@bearbailey1 just brought an entire store of people together. If you get strangers to come together, you can change the world,” says a TikTok user in the comments.
4. “Even Though I’m Leaving” By Luke Combs
Bear Bailey fans had the chance to see the cashier behind the camera, as she showed her excitement to see the rising star walking towards the register to purchase his items. In the upbeat viral video, Bailey brought the heat by singing his own version of “Even Though I’m Leaving” by multi-platinum recording artist Luke Combs. The video proves that Bailey is a performer at heart and a risk-taker, as he plays with his incredible vocal range on the chorus.
5. “In Case You Didn’t Know” by Brett Young.
With Brett Young’s 2017 single “In Case You Didn’t Know” blasting over the gas station speakers, the talented musician jumped right on in and brought a beautiful rendition to the table. In the caption, he encouraged his followers to tag @brettyoungmusic in hopes that the country music star would duet the video. While we still wait to see if Young will acknowledge Bailey’s talent, Trevor Holmes from American Idol and ABC’s The Bachelor: Listen To Your Heart admired his chilling cover comments. “I sang this song on American Idol, it change my life. You Killed this bro.”
Fans can follow Bear Bailey on TikTok, HERE.