Back in late 2016, Kris Jones was just another dad driving around town with his daughter in the passenger seat headed to Home Depot to pick up a few things. But then, his teenage daughter decided to turn her phone his way, and their lives changed forever.
Flash forward to 2018, and Kris and his daughter Dayla have become stars thanks to the viral video Dayla shot that day of her dad singing, along with a slew of follow-up videos.
“We were on our way to Home Depot and I was like ‘Dad, you want to sing a video for me?’” Dayla recalled during a recent appearance on the “Pickler & Ben” talk show. “He was a little iffy at first but I convinced him.”
She certainly did, and Kris’ front seat performance of George Jones’ “Tennessee Whiskey” almost immediately became a sensation, receiving more than 50 million views.
“My mom posted the video, and next thing you know it went viral,” Dayla said. “It’s exciting.”
On Jan. 29, after being introduced by his daughter, Kris performed the song in front of the “Pickler & Ben” studio audience, and proved he can still amaze with his incredible voice. In fact, before he had even finished his last note, hosts Kellie Pickler and Ben Aaron were already on their feet, giving the vocalist a much-deserved standing ovation.
Of course, this performance wasn’t Kris’ first big break. In fact, fans will probably remember that talk show host Ellen DeGeneres took notice of Kris’ vocals, and invited him to come perform on her talk show at the beginning of 2017. “If this is all it ever does and this is as far as my career goes, being on your show makes me feel like I’ve reached the top,” Kris told Ellen in an interview before his performance, also admitting that he was close to crying.
“This is just the beginning,” Ellen told him after a big hug.
In fact, it was the only beginning for Kris, who has gone on to do a ton more covers, many of which were done from that recognizable front seat of his truck. His voice shines on songs such as “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” “Georgia on My Mind,” “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” “In Case You Didn’t Know” and “Simple Man.” He also has a new original song titled “Big Black Truck.”
And that famous truck where that first clip was shot? Well, even it has had a makeover of sorts.
“It was barely making it,” Kris said in an interview about his vehicle before a number of local businesses in his town worked together to make some necessary improvements to the truck that certainly played a part in the viral videos. “The front end sometimes would turn on its own. There was some squeaking noise coming from the back. I think the people who used to have it before me used to take it mudding.” As for the makeover, he said, “I am loving it. We hear all the time all the ugly things that go on in the world whenever we turn on the news. This kind of enlightens me to see that there’s still beautiful people here in this world that do things out of the kindness of their heart.”