A Hattiesburg woman has gone viral during the COVID-19 pandemic – but in a positive way.
On Thursday, Kelsey Walsh posted a two-minute “quarantune” video to her Facebook page, and, since then, the video has earned more than 1.5 million views and 78,000 shares.
The music is set to the tune of “Dance Monkey” by Tones and I, but Walsh, 28, wrote new lyrics to chronicle the unique pains of quarantine life, she said.
“It took me 20-25 minutes to write the lyrics,” she added.
Walsh performed her version of the song – complete with lyrics like “Social distancing has made me lose my mind” and “I said, oh my gosh, I’ve watched too much TV” – with household instruments. She used a Tupperware bowl with rubber bands as a bass and a jar of peanuts, a water bottle, Clorox wipes and a salt shaker for other effects.
Throughout her video, she sprinkled in pop culture references – including a Carole Baskin reference from the hit Netflix documentary “Tiger King” – and also advised her audience to “Wash your … hands for me, hands for me, hands for me, oh, oh, oh” and “Don’t touch your face, and lock yourself behind your door.”
The project was initially designed for Walsh’s job as creative arts director at Venture Church in Hattiesburg.
“Our college team asked me to do an Instagram takeover, and I was thinking through funny content that college students would enjoy,” she said.
She never expected the video to become a viral sensation.
“I’ve been contacted by radio stations asking to play the song, and so many teachers have reached out – music teachers, special education, all different levels of education – to ask if they can use the song and challenge their students to make their own versions,” said Walsh.
The video is also being used to encourage medical professionals during this difficult time, she said.
“An administrator in a COVID-19 medical support group on Facebook with 200,000 members reached out … and said the video was such an encouragement to the medical community and a great way to laugh during a difficult time,” said Walsh.
Walsh has been in her role at Venture Church for a little over five years, she said. She heads up the church’s worship, production and studio efforts.
The McComb native is a 2014 graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, and she said she has been around music her entire life.
“I come from a musical family,” she said. “My dad was a music minister, and my mom sang in the choir.”
Ultimately, Walsh said she hopes the video leads people to laughter and hope.
“These are crazy times, but there are ways we can find hope and joy,” said Walsh. “I’m hoping this brings a lot of traffic to the bigger hope we have in Jesus, and if people were exposed to Venture as a result of this, that would be great, too.”