“It could be a hit,” country artist George Birge said with a shrug and a smile at the end of a TikTok video from last year. He was stitching up a video posted by fellow TikToker Erynn Chambers, in which she satirizes the subject difference that the men and women of mainstream country music typically sing about. Birge added a melody and some extra lyrics, as well as a shy slogan: “If it explodes badly [sic] finish the song and release it. ”
Birge was right on both counts: his TikTok has exploded, and the full version of the song, which he released in June, is currently a minor hit. It was one of the 10 most added new singles on country radio the day it hit the stations last week.
“Beer Beer, Truck Truck” isn’t the first song to hit TikTok on the radio, but here’s how everything has been over the past 10 months.
“Girls in Tight Jeans” vs. “I Destroyed Everything He Loved – Then I Killed Him”
In “Boys’ Round Here” Blake Shelton sings about how he and his friends aren’t like your normal guys who listen to the Beatles or do the Dougie. Blake and his boys guard the countryside, drinking ice cold beers while “running on red dirt roads, raising dust.”
In “Before He Cheats,” Carrie Underwood laments her partner’s infidelity using her writer’s pen, set of keys, and a Louisville Slugger in a passionate crisis of property damage.
Meanwhile, in “Body Like a Backroad”, Sam Hunt sings about how her partner has “hips like honey” and “the way she fits in her jeans.”
And again in “No Body, No Crime,” Taylor Swift and HAIM tell the story of a woman avenging her best friend’s murder at the hands of an unfaithful husband – then destroying all the evidence.
“A lot of men’s country is ‘beers’ and ‘trucks’ and that sort of thing,” says Erynn Chambers. “And then the land of women is like songs of revenge on their unfaithful husbands.”
Chambers, a music teacher with a popular TikTok account where she posts content related to education and social justice, decided to poke fun at this stereotype. In October 2020, she posted a video of herself depicting a male country artist, singing the lyrics “beer beer, truck truck, girls in tight jeans,” with the caption “men in country music”, above of his head. As for his country artist wife? Yes, she killed her unfaithful husband.
The video has gone viral; it currently has 1.8 million likes, over 67,000 shares, and over 27,000 comments – many of which were polarized, praising Chambers for her humor and cultural insight or criticizing her for what they believed to be an unfair reduction of the kind.
A self-published songwriting challenge
When country artist George Birge, one of 5.6 million viewers, first saw the video, he was at a crossroads in his career. Until February of this year, Birge was one half of the country duo Waterloo Revival, but was not happy with their level of success; at that point he had a better chance of writing for other artists and was considering ending his singing career.
It was during a writing session with country artist Clay Walker, one of her idols, that Birge first discovered TikTok as a tool to develop her platform.
“We were done writing for the day and he was like, ‘Dude, you just need to get on Tiktok and put your songs in there’, which was like the last thing I got over there. waited, “says Birge – but he ended up taking the Council.
“As musicians, we’re going to fight and play in front of 100 or 1,000 or a few thousand people a night,” he says. “But if you do something that catches fire on TikTok, you can instantly put yourself in front of a million people, so that piqued my interest.”
Birge found Chambers’ video in the country music hashtag, one of the first places he went after creating his account.
“My first reaction was, ‘Yeah, she’s making a really good point’,” he says. “But my second reaction was like, ‘OK, that would be fun to take that as a challenge and see if I can write a legitimate song using its branch at the top. “”
For Birge, Chambers’ TikTok parody poking fun at the genre her life revolves around had all the makings for true country success.
“We always say the best country songs are the ones that stick in your head, are easy to remember, that you can pick up after a [listen]he says. burn in your brain and be a big country hook, so I kind of took it and ran with it. ”
That same day Birge wrote a melody for the choir and added a few more lines. He posted a point of him singing the new version in December 2020, and it quickly took off. People have made it clear that they want to hear a full song.
TikTok indeed did not kill the radio star
In early January, Birge called her friend and producer, Ash Bowers, and asked him to come and help her record the song.
“So we went to his computer and recorded a demo in about three hours,” says Birge. He posted another TikTok of himself playing the full version of his car speakers – which got 2.6 million views – and that’s when “almost all of the record labels in Nashville started calling me, asking me to take meetings, ”he said. Birge signed with RECORDS Nashville and recorded a studio version in February.
What emerged was “Beer Beer, Truck Truck”, in which Birge takes Chambers’ joking chorus and turns it into a truly sweet ballad. With new lyrics about driving on dirt roads and summer nights star gazing, the song’s narrator tries to convince his lost love – who gave up his country life for the big city filled with lights. vivid life and endless opportunities – this country life is not all beers and trucks.
When he published the first TikTok, Birge says he had six followers. Now he has just over 160,000. Likewise, Chambers’ account has swelled to over 700,000 subscribers, with just over 70 million likes.
“I certainly didn’t think I was going to develop a large following with it,” she says. As someone who grew up loving country music and just wanted to do a fun parody, she says the success of her TikTok “was never something I thought was going to happen.” She never imagined that she would have writing credits on a song in radio rotation and with over 4 million streams either.
“It’s really an honor, a privilege and a shock to see something that I imagined on the fly, really connect with people and come out like that,” she says.
Mia Venkat and Patrick Jarenwattananon produced and edited this story for broadcast.