17-year-old Hailey James was in store for a real surprise while attending Country Fest with her parents in Wisconsin. Little did she know that she'd have the opportunity to get up on stage and perform "Thinking 'Bout You" with Dustin Lynch. And to think that she didn't typically attend the annual festival with her parents but decided to this year. It's a good thing she did because the aspiring singer has now gone viral.
"Thinking 'Bout You" was the perfect choice for Lynch to invite someone up on stage since he released the song as a duet with Lauren Alaina in 2020 for his album Tullahoma and later re-released it with Mackenzie Porter. Funny enough, when he was looking for someone to collaborate with the second time around, he had a blind audition process. Porter is a Canadian actress/country music artist whom he had never heard of prior to the audition so he clearly has a soft spot for helping up-and-coming artists.
At Country Fest back in June, Lynch asked the crowd if anyone wanted to come up on stage to sing with him. Since her parents regularly attended the festival, Hailey James was well known for having a great voice...she even attends a performing arts high school back home in Cottage Grove, Minn. So everyone around her tried to attract the country star's attention by pointing at the teenager.
"I wasn't paying attention, so [I] didn't hear him say that," James admitted in an interview. "The next second I hear Dustin say onstage, 'They're all pointing at you ... Do you want to sing with me?'"
She may have been nervous, but Hailey James got up on that stage and performed like she knew exactly what she was doing.
"Dustin Lynch took my hand, and I was just walking him across the stage like I literally owned that stage," James recalls. "My parents were blown away at how I took the stage ... and I did it. I remembered the words, I acted like I was supposed to be up there, and they were super proud of me."
But Hailey didn't stop there. She posted footage of her exciting duet on Facebook which now has over 1 million views. She even posted two videos of the performance on her new music TikTok which now have 10 million views between the two. It definitely helped that Lynch shared her performance on his Instagram stories as well for his 1 million followers. She's now regularly uploading her own original music to her TikTok account as well as her YouTube page. We have no doubt that she'll end up in Nashville soon enough.