For years, Ryan Burdick was known as "local musician."

After his daughter Violet, who just turned 5, appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Monday, he jokes, "Now I am "Jamesville Dad.' I feel I have to go buy high-top white sneakers and mow my lawn!"

The world watched Violet belt out the 1974 Dolly Parton hit song, "Jolene" on the show as Burdick played the guitar. They talked about her love of Parton on the show, her book club and the family was surprised with an upcoming trip to Dollywood.

However, getting on the show and being flown to Los Angeles last week was the result of videos going viral and Violet's aunt taking a chance by sending her videos to Ellen.

VIOLET BLOOMS

Burdick's band, the Ruddy Well Band, was performing a few years ago when at age 2, Violet came on stage and sang the ABC song. She was a hit and the clip had semi-viral success.

However, during a small outdoor show on July 26, Violet, now 4, came on stage with the band and sang the Parton song "Coat of Many Colors," and it hit over 1 million views on Facebook.

It didn't end there.

"Dolly Parton grew up so poor in a dirt-floor home with 11 siblings," Burdick explained. "A lady from church dropped off a bag of rags and her mom sewed them together as a coat. Dolly was picked on at school and said 'This is Joseph's coat of colors from the Bible you don't get it.' When the video was posted, a vendor who sells the Coats of Colors, which are sold at Dollywood, contacted us and wanted to send Violet a coat."

The video was then posted to the fan site and had another 4 million views.

Meanwhile, the Ruddy Well Band was going to take a hiatus.

"We keep having babies! Everyone in the band had a round of babies and then the pandemic hit. We were about to drop an album, we had the studio time and were going to record our third album but the pandemic was the final straw," Burdick said of the band, which is popular on Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music.

Burdick, and his wife, Sherry (Mack) Burdick, had a son, Porter.

Ryan decided to keep playing online with Violet. He teaches social studies at Baldwinsville while Sherry is a physician's assistant and has worked in the health care field through the pandemic.

THE PHONE CALL

The viral video moment had slowed down when Sherry's phone rang. It was Ryan's sister, Erin Lawson, calling from college in Brockport.

"Erin was having dinner with her friend Jon Piscitelli when her phone kept ringing with an unknown number," Ryan explained. "After several calls, she got up and took the call and it was Jenny Revell, the producer of the Ellen DeGeneres show. Erin said, 'Um, I kinda did something, I hope you guys are not mad. I sent Violet's video to the Ellen Show.' We had to hang up because the show was calling us back in five minutes. This whole thing was amazing and it's all Aunt Erin's fault!"

FROM NY TO LA

Violet and Ryan had to be swabbed for COVID-19 before leaving New York for Los Angeles and again in Hollywood. They even had to do a rapid test in a car before they could enter the studio.

Once inside, Violet was asked to come down to Ellen's dressing room area backstage.

"We had to apply for a child's working permit for her to be a performer on the show and they had to have a certified tutor on set at all time," Ryan said. "They brought us lunch, went over the questions and down to meet Ellen at her dressing room. They hung out at her dressing room. It was like Child Psychology 101 — Ellen got right down to Violet's eye-level and they talked about the flight and her favorite animals. It really helped. By the time Violet went out there, it felt they were buddies."

In television interviews with the Syracuse television affiliates, Violet talked about how much she liked Ellen.

However, before the show when Ryan was asked to send videos to the producers, it was a different story.

"Violet had no idea who Ellen was before the show. In fact, during one of the videos as we ended the songs she said 'Hi Helen' and on another she called her Ella!" Burdick said.

ON THE SHOW

When the show started (it's online on Ellentube), Ellen asked Violet why she loves Dolly Parton and Violet said, "Because .. she has a beautiful voice and she gives books to kids in need." Ellen said, "Yeah, that's really cool she does that."

Ryan explained how the books from Dolly's library are sent to children in need. Violet always reads the selections Dolly sends out.

Violet took the show over, talking to Ellen about Dolly Parton like a teenager, not a child who just turned 5. She explained why she likes the song "Coat of Many Colors."

Violet said, "Her momma made a coat for her, a coat of many colors for her. And she wore it to school and all the kids laughed at her. And then Dolly Parton told all her friends, but her friends could not understand it."

Violet even impressed Ellen when she knew Parton helped fund Moderna, a vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

Ellen asked them to perform Jolene and Violet explained, "Jolene it's about a girl named Jolene and she .. she wanted to take Dolly's man!"

Ellen said, "Yes, that's right, she wanted to take Dolly's man!"

Ryan and Violet went over to the couch, Violet placed her hands on her knees and sighed. Ryan started playing.

She belted out "Jolene" with a lot of passion.

Ellen said at the end, "So that was really good, I loved you singing that song." Ellen then said "Our friends at Shutterfly want to send you and your family on an all expenses paid trip to Dollywood in Tennessee."

The two flew home and did the local television obligation, the show actually aired online first, then on TV and now Ryan has constant texts, phone calls and social media congratulations.

Being a musician, Ryan was savvy enough to coach Violet through audition videos to get the producers to change their mind from a quick viral segment to going to California to be on the show.

"They had Coat of Many Colors, so I threw 9 to 5 (a 1980 hit song which was the title track to a movie Parton starred in by the same name) in there as they wanted a couple of options," Ryan said. "I told Violet I wanted to record a couple songs with no pressure and to get the silliness out. We sent them "Want You Back" by the Jackson 5 and "Jolene." The producers said that was the moment they said, 'We need to get this kid here and in the studio.' "

HOW IT BEGAN

Ryan's grandparents bought him a guitar at age 9 after he tried to sell them a cassette tape of songs he sang acapella. His dad, Curt Burdick, started teaching himself guitar to teach Ryan.

"We learned together. By the time I was 12 and 13, I was playing gigs with him at the Allegany County (N.Y) Fair," said Ryan, a 2001 Scio Central graduate. "Performing with my dad is something I did as a kid. I told my dad recently, 'I spent my whole life performing and I could never repay you for this gift.' It's been a hobby, I've met my closest friend through music, it was a way to make an extra buck when I was down on my luck, it got me through grad school. How could I ever repay my father? I guess I'll pay it forward to my own kid."

Ryan added, "Now I am performing with her. Maybe that's a torch I can hand off to her and bring joy to other people, and that's the point. That would bring it full-circle for me, personally."

Out of college, Ryan was performing local shows in Allegany County with Jason Marsden with a group called the Genesee River Rats. They did a reunion on Nov. 19, 2019 at Mike's on the Corner in Scio and he said the same crowd from 15 years ago showed up.

Ryan always remembered the lyrics to all songs he heard and wrote. He said Violet has the same gift, but also other talents.

"She started pitch-matching. When she was 3, she could hear a song and find the pitch," Ryan said. "You can't quiet a kid in the backseat of a car. Whatever song is on, she sings along. The part of my brain that remembers song lyrics, she has as well up in her hard drive. She has them down."

Ending performance with smiles.jpeg

Violet Burdick and her father, Ryan, are all smiles after a great performance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show Monday after her outstanding performance of Dolly Parton's song, "Jolene."

However, nothing prepared them for the Ellen show.

"It was a hybrid audience, half audience and half audience members watching from home but in the crowd on big screens. Even though, just watching all the production going on with so many teleprompters and lights and cameras and television screens, it looks like the spaceship in Independence Day," Ryan explained. "The whole ceiling with all of these lights — I can't believe Violet didn't freeze up.

"It was very comfortable the whole time," he continued. "Ellen made it that way and really, it was not about me, so I was fine. It's not like playing at the state fair. You are part of this massive machine. It was a pretty wild experience that way."

Violet at Ellen Show.jpg

Ryan Burdick captured this amazing photo of his daughter, Violet, who just turned 5, before she sings on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

Back home, Ryan's mom, Sandra McQueen-Lawson was at the house ready for her next job.

"Porter is 16-months-old, Grandma Sandy will be staying with him while Violet, Sherry and I go to Dollywood," Ryan said. "It's been good finally being able to post about being on the show. When I was able to post that, seeing everyone who quietly cheered her on get recognition was cool to me."

WHAT'S NEXT

Ryan said even though Violet just turned 5, he is anticipating some more traffic to his YouTube page.

"I hope locally it means good things for us. Maybe people will want to book her through me," Ryan said. "My plan is to get her to learn an instrument and build on it."

They could show up on Ellen again.

"That is one nice thing about that show, they follow up with the child performers and to see them later and how they progressed. That is fun," he said.

(Below, the video that went viral)

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John is a two-time national columnist of the year. He has earned top AP awards for news, videos and sports writing and won the Thomas J. Bulson Investigative Journalism award. He has appeared on CNBC's American Greed, FOX News and CNN.