George Birge Owes Career to “Crazy Genius” Clay Walker and His “Beautiful” Wife

George Birge thought TikTok was just for twerking until Clay Walker made him pay attention

Written by Cindy Watts
George Birge Owes Career to “Crazy Genius” Clay Walker and His “Beautiful” Wife
George Birge; Photo Credit: Dustin Haney

George Birge quit his duo Waterloo Revival and walked away from his record deal without a backup plan. It was 2020. The world was locked down. And the singer – like a lot of people – was frustrated.

He wasn’t fulfilled, and it was terrifying because he had dreamed his entire life of being in that exact professional position. Now he wanted out.

“After a lot of sleepless nights, I found peace in the fact that I’m gonna just see what’s next,” Birge says. “I kind of relegated myself to the fact that maybe I’m just gonna write songs for other artists.”

Less than 18 months later, Birge is one of 2021’s runaway success stories. His debut single “Beer, Beer, Truck, Truck” accumulated 11.5 million audio and video streams. He signed a new record deal as a solo act with RECORDS Nashville, and he just released his self-titled solo debut EP on which he co-wrote four of the five songs.

Getting to this point was scary for more reasons than risking his artist career. Birge is married to his college sweetheart, and the couple has two young sons. When Birge took a step back in 2020 and started over, he did so with his family on his shoulders.

The limbo didn’t last long. Birge started writing songs, discovered he was decent at it, and began building relationships with artists he hoped would record one of his songs or co-write with him for their album. Clay Walker, one of Birge’s heroes, was among the first to give him a chance. It changed his life.

Birge went to visit Walker at his Texas home in December of 2020. They spent the day writing songs, and Birge told him he wasn’t sure he would be an artist anymore. He thought he might pivot to solely being a songwriter. Walker made him sit down on the couch for a talk.

Birge expected advice that would change his life – and that’s what he got. But, his words of wisdom weren’t what the young singer anticipated.

“He’s like, ‘I’ll tell you exactly what you need to do,'” Birge says. “He’s been around the block. He’s got hits. He’s got a career that I would kill for. He tells me that I need to put my songs on TikTok. Clay Walker’s the last person you’d expect that from, right?”

Birge was unsure and even more uninterested in TikTok. He thought it was just “twerking,” blew off the suggestion and went to his room to get cleaned up for dinner. He was sitting on his bed with about an hour-and-a-half to kill and thought, “What could it hurt?”

He started a TikTok account.

@georgebirgeofficial Catching up with the whiskey side of me #whiskey #texas #nashville #countrymusic ♬ original sound – George Birge

Birge clicked on #countrymusic. The first video he saw was making fun of the genre, amplifying the stereotype that every song by a male artist was about beers and trucks. The singer/songwriter wanted to prove them wrong, so he reached for his guitar to write a rebuttal.

“I was already in a great headspace from writing all week with Clay,” Birge says. “I was like, ‘Man, I’m gonna write a little song using her words to show her that a real country songwriter could even take words that mundane and turn it into something.'”

He spent 30 minutes working through a verse and chorus, recorded himself singing it and then went to find Walker’s social media manager to help him post it to TikTok because he didn’t know how.

When the video went up, Birge had six followers. Three hours later, he logged back in to check on it and had 20,000 followers.

“That’s crazy’s genius,” Birge says. “It’s the best advice I’ve ever gotten.”

He thought that little pop of interest would be the end of it, but over the next week, his 20,000 followers turned into 100,000 with thousands of comments asking him to finish the song.

“I’m like, ‘Man, I’ve kind of got myself into a pickle because now I’m gonna have to put out a song called ‘Beer, Beer, Truck, Truck’ with my name on it,” he lamented. 

Birge spent the next day trying to write “Beer, Beer, Truck, Truck” in a way that he could be proud of it. Then he called his friend and asked if he could come to his house and record a solid song demo. He posted the new recording on TikTok and accumulated 2.7 million views in 24 hours.

“All of a sudden, every record label in Nashville is calling my phone,” he says. “They’re asking, ‘What are you doing? What kind of music do you got? What’s coming out next?’ And so Clay Walker gives really good advice and absolutely changed my life.”

@georgebirgeofficial “Beer Beer, Truck Truck” out everywhere🙏 thank you all for making this happen. Stream it at the link in bio! #countrymusic #fyp #beerbeertrucktruck ♬ original sound – George Birge

Birge’s path seems destined. In addition to his accidental TikTok launch to fame, his career as an artist happened by chance, too. He was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and played in bands on the weekends. He never toured or pursued it professionally, and one day, he says, he just “got lucky.” He often played in a small bar in the music town on the weekends, and one night some people from Nashville were in the room. Word of him made its way to Music Row.

“That’s how I got my first interest out here, got my first record deal and kind of got things off the ground,” he says. “So it’s pretty crazy. Your passion will lead you sometimes, you know? Sometimes it doesn’t happen as fast as you hope it would. But you know, eventually, we all end up in the right place.”

In addition to “Beer, Beer, Truck, Truck,” the other four songs on Birge’s EP are:  “Reason To Go” (written by Thomas Archer, Michael Tyler and Lalo Guzman); “Mind On You” (written by Birge, Jaron Boyer, Michael Tyler and Colt Ford); “Whiskey Side” (written by Birge, Jaron Boyer, Michael Tyler and Matt Stell); and “Didn’t Think I’d Miss” (written by Birge, Michael Tyler, Ben Stennis).

“Mind on You” will be Birge’s next single. He wrote it in the summer of 2020 and says he and his friends sat down to try and create a great song. When they were finished, they all felt like it was something special – and so did Jason Aldean’s producer Michael Knox. Aldean put the “Mind on You” on hold to record before Birge had a record deal. Birge says it was the “best thing that’s ever happened in my life.”

Six months later, Birge solidified his relationship with RECORDS Nashville and, at the encouragement of label executive Barry Weiss, worked up the courage to ask Knox for the song back.

“(Weiss) is like, ‘This is gonna change your life. This is a hit for you,'” Birge says. “My wife and I talked about it, and it’s just like too many stars of aligned, too many lucky breaks, too many coincidences here. We rolled the dice to get this far. What’s my one more? If you can’t bet on yourself, who can?”

Birge says Knox was “super gracious” and let him have it.

“I was so proud to put it out with my name on it,” he says. “Out the gates, it’s been the biggest thing I’ve ever released. The momentum has been insane, and I’m so excited and taking a country radio this summer.”

But more than anything, Birge wants to be known as a good husband and father. He says his family is “my biggest blessing in this whole world.”

“I’ve got two little boys, a 5 year old and a 2 year old, and I’ve got a beautiful wife who’s been with me way before any of this ever took off,” Birge says. “They’re what I take the most pride in. It’s a stressful industry, and there’s definitely been nights where I worry I’m not good enough to be here. She has been my rock. She always keeps me going.”