The multi-talented Cracker Barrel server whose incredible rendition of "Happy Birthday" recently went viral appeared on TODAY Wednesday, where she got the surprise of a lifetime: a record deal.
Miranda Joy Willmore, who's worked at the Cracker Barrel in Marion, Illinois, for nearly 20 years, thought she was on the show to sing "Happy Birthday" to one of our TODAY colleagues, but then Hoda and Jenna revealed the good news that her employer is sending her and her band to Nashville to record an album.
Willmore was stunned. "That's so awesome," she said, wiping tears from her face.
Cracker Barrel will finance the studio recording of an EP for Willmore and her band, U-Foria, in late July. Willmore has been in the Southern rock band for about four years. While they tour throughout the U.S. and have been working toward the goal of an EP, they hadn't been signed yet.
Willmore's story — and her voice — earned national attention earlier this summer when she belted out "Happy Birthday" to a customer at Cracker Barrel, right in the middle of the restaurant. That customer, Jared Gravatt, then shared a video of the impressive performance on TikTok.
"Find this girl and make her famous please," he wrote. "Best birthday song ever!"
Willmore said that she's gotten plenty of attention since the video went viral, but that she's always been known as a singer locally, and this wasn't her first impromptu performance at the restaurant where she works.
"The servers know that I can sing, so if they have a birthday, they ask me to sing for their table," she said, adding that she's happy to comply "just to make their day special."
Music is clearly a huge part of Willmore's life. She calls her father, who was also a singer before he was diagnosed with throat cancer, her greatest inspiration and biggest fan. She counts Reba McEntire, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Shania Twain among her other musical influences.
Willmore and a bandmate also gave TODAY a mini performance, singing one of their original songs, "Small Town Famous," much to Hoda and Jenna's delight.
"We want more!" Jenna said.