Before country music websites called him the “Tennessee Whiskey Dad,” and appeared at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Kris Jones was just a simple man. Before he shook hands with Chris Stapleton and decided to give his dream of singing professionally one more shot, Kris Jones was just an Alvarado father. He was just sitting in his truck in the parking lot of a Home Depot, singing for his daughter.

Viral video stars seldom have a shelf life longer than a few weeks. They’d be lucky if they stay famous until another big thing comes around. However, the case of “Tennessee Whiskey Dad, Kris Jones, is an exemption. It is a genuine story that took years to progress, with many ups and downs along the way. 

Standing Up Once Again After Tragedy

His wish to sing started at age 10. Kris Jones grew up in Fort Worth, the youngest of five siblings. He wanted to sing in the church choir, but his mother would not allow it. She thought he was too young. To prove he could, Kris wrote and sang her a song. Since his mother was white and his father black, he found it hard to fit in with any group at school. When his parents were separated, Kris’ mother supported the family. Whenever there was no water at home, she would tell the kids to put on their swimsuits and take a bath at the car wash. Young as he is, music was his solace. He sang with his church choir. On the weekends, his father would take him to karaoke contests, where he repeatedly won.

However, things started to go wrong when he moved out at age 17 and had himself in trouble. He was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon at his apartment. He spent the next six years in and out of jail. Because he was either too white or too black for the gangs, he felt he did not fit in there. Nevertheless, he sang for the inmates a variety of R&B hits and some Garth Brooks song every night.

Leap of Faith

He was released at aged 26, found a job, and got married. His wife insisted that he try out for American Idol, but he was just outside the age requirements. Also, he had an unsuccessful The Voice audition. He never lost his dreams of becoming a singer, but family and work is his main focus. Having decided he could not support his family on his musical dreams alone, Jones returned to his day job, with hopes that his music would live on where it was exposed. Jones returned to his normal life, but the opportune video recorded by his daughter singing “Tennessee Whiskey” led him to an unexpected door.

From there, he was invited to sing on Ellen, and following that, he was accepted by The Voice, as well as new competition The Four. Jones just released his debut self-titled EP on March 22, 2018. Listen to one single in his album in the video below.