Superstar headliners like Beyoncé, The Weeknd, and Eminem had tens of thousands of festival-goers beginning to flock to Indio, California, for 2018's Coachella Music Fest on Friday, April 13. But on opening day, all eyes were on the Sahara Tent where 11-year-old viral Internet sensation Mason Ramsey a.k.a. the Walmart Yodel Kid performed alongside DJ Whethan. And then the rest of our eyes were glued to social media as video of the Yodel Kid's performance at Coachella 2018 began hitting the web.
What a difference a month makes! Within a matter of weeks, the youngster went from crooning the Hank Williams classic, "Lovesick Blues," in a cowboy hat and boots, a large belt buckle, and a red bow tie for a handful of customers at a Southern Illinois Walmart to performing in front of more people than even live in his small hometown of Golconda, Illinois (population 700), at the widely popular annual event.
In fact, during his appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show April 10 he said that he'd never even been on an airplane or tasted sparkling water before he traveled to California to perform on the daytime hit. (His adorable verdict on the water, by the way: "Tastes kinda funny.") Now that his viral Walmart yodeling video has racked up more than 20 million views and spawned countless memes. Watch his performance at Coachella in the video below.
So it was hardly an understatement when DJ Whethan announced to his audience that his next guest needed "no introduction" before bringing out the boy, who was wearing his now-famous bow-tie and cowboy garb. The crowd went wild, of course, as waves of hands — and cell phone cameras — went into the air.
He even made a Belieber out of a certain pop megastar, with videos surfacing of a Hawaiian shirt-clad Justin Bieber kicking up his heels and singing along near the stage. Later on, fans even shared snaps of the pair taking selfies together, according to social media.
And it wasn't long before the other audience members, collectively losing their minds, declared Ramsey Friday's must-see act. (Apologies to The Weeknd and SZA.) "I just saw Walmart Yodel Boy perform at Coachella, my life is never going to be the same," one audience member tweeted.
Another concert-goer chimed in, "YODEL BOY I JUST MET HIM IM CRYING REAL TEARS IVE NEVER FANNED OUT BEFORE." While a second attendee called the surprise "the most 2018 thing that will ever happen in 2018," a third was so shocked he claimed he was "retiring from music."
While his appearance was certainly a treat for fans, it wasn't exactly a surprise. Before the show, Ramsey announced his Coachella appearance on his Instagram page , posting, “Can’t wait to see California again! Hope y’all are ready cause we’re bringing the country to @coachella,” along with snap of himself shaking hands with an excited crew of admirers.
So how did his unlikely collaboration with a famous DJ come about? Apparently it all began with an April 3 tweet in which Whethan playfully joked about fans' insistence that the young yodeler mad just be his doppelgänger. "Stop saying I look like the walmart yodel kid," he wrote for his more than 27,000 followers.
After his Coachella debut, Ramsey gave Whethan a shoutout for the invite, sharing a sweet Instagram photo of himself grinning ear-to-ear (hand on hip and all) alongside the DJ, calling the gig "a dream" in the caption.
But those who watched his interview on Ellen this week will recall that Coachella was just a warmup for the performance he'd really been fantasizing about. "My dream is to sing at the Grand Ole Opry," he told the talk show host during the sit-down. And true to her big-hearted form, DeGeneres surprised him with the news he'd be hitting the stage of Nashville's storied Ryman Auditorium on April 14.
"Oh my," an emotional Ramsey — who estimated he'd performed at his local Walmart "like 50,000 times . . . because that's the only store we've got" — exclaimed in the video before dabbing his eyes.
That's right, the boy who just took his first plane ride this month, had to jet from his Coachella debut to perform at the Grande Ole Opry. Aside from the joy we all get from seeing him perform, he's also certainly living proof that anyone's dreams can come true in an instant.