Jedidiah “Kid Travis” Wright is a prime example of how life can drastically change in one short year.
In 2018, the Bristol Township native spent his days behind the seafood counter at Giant Food Stores, returning home each night reeking of the fishy stench. As an aspiring musician, this was far from a dream job. Fast forward to September 2019, and we find Travis being called a “gangster” by his hero, music industry giant Post Malone, in an interview with Kerwin Frost.
Talk about saying, “Wow.”
For the 22-year-old, who has become something of a YouTube sensation thanks to his covers of popular tracks by everyone from Malone to Frank Sinatra, this unprecedented shoutout was proof that pursuing a musical career (and quitting his job at Giant) is the right path.
On the heels of his Malone surprise, and ahead of the release of his original album on Jan. 31, The Times caught up with Travis, who talked about his upbringing in Lower Bucks County, steady rise to YouTube fame and upcoming “genre-less” project.
Early creative seeds were planted in Travis during his eighth-grade year at Franklin D. Roosevelt Middle School, where he explicitly remembers landing his first solo in choir.
“That helped me overcome a lot of things like stage fright, stuff like that,” he said. “The teachers there are awesome. I feel like they really care about their kids, and I just grew up with a lot of kids in the area who loved music. It was a really awesome time.”
Even when his family moved to Bensalem in 2011 after their basement was destroyed as a result of Hurricane Irene, his discovered passion continued to grow at Bensalem High School. Here, Travis was mentored by Owls Television Network instructor CJ Mills, who invited him to sing at the annual Celtic Christmas Concert last month.
At the age of 16, Travis launched his YouTube channel, where he began posting covers of his favorite songs. While these early videos did OK as far as views, numbers started to triple following his high school graduation in 2015.
“I felt like we finally found that right pocket where the viewership kind of had an idea of what was coming next in some sense,” he said. “And when you have an audience that knows what’s happening, they show up on time. They’re ready for it.”
By far, Travis’ biggest year of growth was 2018. At this point, he had been unwillingly mastering his seafood craft at Giant for three years.
“There was so much traffic coming through the site that I was making more on the online assets than I was working at my job,” he said, adding how once things picked up on YouTube, he realized there was no reason for him to stay at Giant. “It wasn’t the best job, but it was a job nonetheless. I was grateful. But you have situations where you just know a certain place isn’t for you anymore, and that was one of those moments.”
Ever since, Travis has been relying solely on income generated through YouTube. So far, things are going better than he could’ve imagined. His mashup video “The Evolution of Post Malone” garnered the attention of thousands, one of which was Malone himself.
“This dude, the Kid Travis, he’s a gangster,” Malone said during the two-hour interview with Frost. “He has such a voice and he did a whole mashup and sh*t and I’m like, ‘This sounds awesome.’ He kind of R&B-ed it. It’s really cool. I like watching covers because people are so much better than me.”
Four months later, and Travis is still in awe.
“You never know who’s stumbling across your stuff,” he said. “That’s huge for somebody to actually say your name. That’s super dope, and I’m so grateful. It’s so neat, coming from years going out of work, listening to this man’s album and then he says my name. It’s kind of crazy.”
As Travis continues to post covers, he’s also introducing his following (known as the Groovie Gang) to his original music. His album, which will most likely be entitled No Labels, is slated for release on Jan. 31 and will encompass Travis’ vast musical interests.
“It has a variety of genres. Personally, I don’t believe in genres because I feel like every piece of music has something new. It doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be country, it has to be rap, it has to be pop or hip-hop. I like it all. I don’t know if that’s considered alternative, but I want to have the freedom to make a very hard hip-hop track with a heavy beat, and then switch it up and do a piano ballad or something else,” he said. “I don’t know where I would fit in, especially in today’s music industry, but I like to go with a genre-less kind of direction.”
The rollercoaster that’s been Travis’ life these past few years seems to be only riding up, and he offered some wisdom for kids about to pursue a similar path.
“To anyone young reading, to get into any kind of music program, it’s worth it,” he said. “My life would’ve turned out a lot different if I wasn’t a part of certain things.”
And his final words?
“Bristol represent,” he said with a laugh. “Shoutout to Bristol.” ••
Keep up with Kid Travis on YouTube and all social media platforms.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org