Josh Weathers Heats Up Thanks To A Two-Year-Old Clip That's Gone Viral.
As we briefly mentioned yesterday, Josh Weathers had something of a busy, if not rather puzzling, day yesterday.
By noon, a two-year-old clip of the Fort Worth-based musician performing a cover of Whitney Houston's “I Will Always Love You” at Oak Cliff venue the Kessler Theater had the distinction of reaching the No. 12 slot on the front page of Reddit. At the time of this writing, the link — simply titled “Guy covers 'I Will Always Love You,' and absolutely kills it” — has received over 8500 upvotes from the site's users. And, to be fair, Weathers absolutely does “kill it” during this 2011 performance, in which we initially worried that Weathers started out too high, only to be later blown away by his flawless upper register. Check it out:
Anyway, the love didn't stop there: The same clip was also featured on popular websites The Chive and The Huffington Post. This added attention has already earned the video nearly 200,000 new views in the past 48 hours alone.
But we don't anticipate the influx of attention surrounding Weathers at the moment to die off all that quickly: When we caught up with the musician by phone this afternoon, he let on about a number of national television outlets already interested in his story. In our conversation, which you can find transcribed below in full, Weathers discusses how a Dallas Cowboys coach encouraged him to first add the song to his set, his previous experience with viral fame, what outlets we might see the video on in the near future and how he hopes to turn the video's sudden popularity into a chance to save hundreds of East African orphans.
When did you first catch wind that your video had been posted to some national sites?
Yesterday, one of my buddies called me — he saw it on Facebook and somebody had posted it to Reddit — and he told me it had gotten like 30,000 views. I was like, “That's crazy, that video is like two years old.” That was the first conversation I had about it yesterday. Within a few minutes, it was a bunch of people calling me telling me it had gotten 40,000 views in the last hour. I'm just kind of waiting to see what happens. I've never been a part of any type of viral video experience.
Besides Reddit, The Chive and The Huffington Post, have you seen it anywhere else?
Somebody sent me a link — it's on some website in Scandinavia or somewhere like that. It's crazy, it was in a language I didn't understand. It's mind-boggling. The Huffington Post one had me linked with James Blunt, which I thought was funny. I haven't heard of that guy in forever.
Have you been contacted by television producers or anyone else at this point?
I've had some national television shows contact me about it and just kind of ask me what's going on. I can't really explain much. Somebody posted it at the right time in the right place and somebody else saw it. I don't know to what extent I'm supposed to talk about these things. I know that ABC has contacted Jeff Liles about them using a clip of the video on Good Morning America. I've been in touch with one of the producers from The Ellen Show. They were actually the first [people to call]. Right after my road manager called me, somebody called me maybe five minutes later. It's funny because, two years ago, when the video first got released, they called me and tried to get me on their show. Just through scheduling and stuff, they couldn't make it work. The same producer called me back and said, “So, this video is going crazy again. What's the deal?”
Do you think you'll try and make the Ellen thing work this time around?
I have no idea. If that's in the cards. Whatever comes, comes. I'm not trying to get too wrapped up in it. It's just one of those things. We live in an American Idol existence: People get real excited for what's hot this very second and then 10 minutes later forget all about it.
That being said, some of these singing competition shows do try to recruit people from viral videos. Is that something you're even interested in at this point?
I've actually had them try to recruit me from this video before it went viral. There was America's Got Talent. And then I also had offers to come talk to people about doing The Voice. America's Got Talent had me a private audition set up in Austin — this was years ago. I went and did it and nothing ever came of it. They're very into making a good TV show. I'm kind of out on that. I'm 30 years old. I've got a family. I'd rather be here with my family. No disrespect to those shows.
Is the song one that's been in your set frequently, or was it a one time thing?
I did it a couple of years ago on a whim just kind of goofing around. This was before Whitney Houston passed away. I saw [The Bodyguard] that day and then I was in a club called Hat Tricks in Lewisville and Joe Avezzano, who owned the place and who was the special teams coach for the Cowboys, was there. He saw me do it — just kind of goofing around. He said, “You need to learn that and get serious about it. If you can do that, you're going to do it the rest of your life.” I thought he was joking. Well, somebody took a video of that performance and somehow it ended up on YouTube. Then I [started to get] asked to do it everywhere I go. I just happened to do it on my mom's birthday at The Kessler that night. That video went up on YouTube, and the next day it had 15,000 views.
From that video — from that first experience — it's been every night of my life. I've played that song virtually every single night. It doesn't matter where I go. I went to Ireland last November, and, as I'm walking in the club to play, the first thing that happens is this dude walking up to me and saying, “Are you gonna play the Whitney Houston song?” I thought for sure that if I got all the way across the pond… It's a blessing. If I'm capable and able to do it then why not?
I don't imagine you're going to be able to escape that song anywhere now.
I know, I know. I'm kind of interested to see where it goes. Who knows? It could die down in the next two days or it could get to a million views. I don't know. I had a friend that had a similar experience happen to her, and she's done some really great things with it. Her name is Sarah Churman and she's one of my real good friends. It was a video of her hearing herself for the first time. She's a good friend of mine; she lives right up the street. She turned that experience into a really positive thing. She wrote a book and she's done some really great things with all that attention she got from it. If that happens for me, then that's my mentality. That's what I'm going to try and do with it. Rather than get a record deal and tour the world, I'd rather just try to do something positive with it.
My wife and I are really involved with a group called the Asante Choir. It's a group out of Africa, and the choir tours to raise awareness for these orphanages in East Africa — Burundi and Uganda. I'm involved with them pretty heavily. My wife and I sponsor a couple of kids. The choir is coming to Texas in January, and I'm going to help them make a record while they're here. That's something I've been really avid about, so I feel like, if this gives me a new platform, then that's something that I can use for those kids. They house and feed 25,000 orphans in East Africa, so that's something I'm really passionate about.