A TikTok Influencer Poked Fun at Country Music - So George Birge Wrote a Song That May Make Them Stars
"One minute, I'm questioning whether or not I was going to play live music anymore, and then some TikTok video goes and completely validates everything," George Birge tells PEOPLE
George Birge never considered himself the TikTok type. He's not much of a dancer and would never claim to be on top of any viral trends. He's just a guy from Texas who likes to write songs and love on his wife and kids.
On the other side of the spectrum is Erynn Chambers, an influencer and music educator from North Carolina, best known as @rynnstar to her massive fandom who can't get enough of her way of expressing intriguing thoughts into simple melodies.
And then there's country music hitmaker Clay Walker.
And somehow, these three got together one of the most talked-about viral moments of 2020.
It all started when Walker invited Birge to his beach house in Galveston, Texas back in December, after the two had worked together on Walker's recent single "Need a Bar Sometimes." During the many writing sessions that occurred that weekend, conversations would sway back and forth between songs and lyrics and the future of music.
"Clay was like, 'Man, if you really want people to hear your songs, you need to get on TikTok,'" remembers Birge, a former member of country duo Waterloo Revival, in a recent interview with PEOPLE. "When 51-year-old Clay Walker is telling me I need to get on TikTok, I realized I was clearly late to the game."
So after one particular writing session, Birge reluctantly made a TikTok account for himself, and as he was scrolling through the posts under the ever-popular country music hashtag, he came across the account of Chambers, who was spending her afternoon poking some fun at the sometimes-lackadaisical lyrics of country music.
"She was singing about how country music is nothing but 'beer beer, truck truck, girls and tight jeans,' and she makes a very good point," he says with a laugh. "For whatever reason, I decided that I was going to see what I could do to show her that even with the most ridiculous lyrics, a real country songwriter can turn it into something cool."
The very next day, with just 10 TikTok followers under his belt buckle, Birge spent a half hour or so writing up a portion of what eventually would become his current single "Beer Beer, Truck Truck."
He posted himself singing the song - and then his world changed.
That very night, after going to dinner with Walker, Birge came back to find out he had 10,000 followers over a course of just a few hours. The next morning, he was up to 30,000 followers.
He was on to something.
After a week, Birge had 100,000 TikTok followers for the song he wrote as a joke. And as the video was well on its way to 3 million views, he recorded the full version of the song that talks about missing the one you love. And labels up and down Nashville's Music Row came a-calling.
"One minute, I'm questioning whether or not I was going to play live music anymore, and then some TikTok video goes and completely validates everything I was once questioning," says Birge, who has written in the past with country hitmakers such as Matt Stell, Chris Lane and Gary LeVox. "It was really gratifying and special and it felt like it was something that was meant to be and something that I was called to do."
"Beer Beer, Truck Truck" also landed Birge a coveted spot on the roster of RECORDS Nashville and a brand-new EP of songs that are very much him and his ever-evolving brand.
"I moved to Nashville having written songs my whole life," he remembers. "I had played thousands of shows and had felt like I had paid my dues and put in my work and got to Nashville and thought it would be a pretty quick path. And then you come to realize that everybody in this town was the best in their hometown. You're battling against the best of the best when you get here. You quickly come to realize that everybody in this town is insanely talented. It just depends on whether or not you get your shot."
And while Birge's talent for songwriting looks to remain the backbone of his career, the success he has experienced with "Beer Beer, Truck Truck" has given him a renewed sense of determination to get back out there as an artist.
"I think God was looking out for me saying, 'You're not done playing live music,'" he says. "It really turned into something that I could've never imagined, but it's everything I could have dreamed of."
But for Birge, he wants to take it one step at a time, with more grace and patience than ever before. Therefore, on the credits of "Beer Beer, Truck Truck," his name is listed next to none other than the influencer who uttered the words in the first place.
"The second I wrote it, it was really never in question," he says quietly about including Chambers in the writing credits. "Even though she was poking fun at country music, the foundation of the chorus is straight from her mouth. And I felt like she deserves some songwriting credit for that. When it all comes down to it, I hope it's a huge hit and I hope it changes her life too."
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