Chocowinity man becomes viral sensation in Florida town

Published 7:51 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Chocowinity tree cutter became the talk of Bartow, Florida, last week when a video of him singing on the job went viral.

Victor Robert Wright, a tree cutter with Lucas Tree Experts, got a glimpse of social media fame while helping restore power to Bartow after Hurricane Irma. Wright was part of the crew that traveled down to Florida with City of Washington utilities workers on Sept. 12.
Wright’s deep voice attracted attention while he was gathering supplies one day, and the result was a video posted to Facebook by Bartow resident and volunteer Trish Pfeiffer.

“My voice is kind of unique. The ladies noticed it, and they asked me if I sing,” Wright said.

While Wright tried to duck the conversation, Wright’s cousin, Dalton Whitehurst, stepped in and assured them Wright does sing — and well — and the audience wouldn’t let Wright walk away until he gave them a sample of his talent, according to Wright.

Wright’s videoed rendition of a verse of “Long Black Train” by Josh Turner has since garnered more than 52,000 Facebook views, earned him the nickname “the Singing Tree Trimmer” and a few invitations to relocate his talent to Bartow.

It all came as a complete surprise to Wright.

“Honestly, it was the last thing that I expected,” he said. “We went down there to, obviously, to help out with the power getting back on, and this was just an extra thing. The way I look at it, if people enjoyed it, I’m happy to do it, to distract them while they’re waiting for the power to come back on.”

Once the video was posted to Pfeiffer’s page, Wright gained a reputation around Bartow.

“People started recognizing me and asking me to sing,” he said.

On one such occasion, Wright was recognized before he and coworkers walked into a restaurant and asked to do an on-the-spot performance before dinner. Another was while he was filling up at a gas station.

“I was star struck for a little while,” Wright laughed.

Wright sang with his Carteret County high school choir and got a full-ride scholarship to East Carolina University for vocal performance. However, he said that didn’t work out. Nowadays, he said he sings “every now and then.” Every now and then turned to quite often in Bartow. Wednesday, Wright and the City of Washington crew were making their way back to North Carolina from Florida, where power has been restored. He said the hospitality of Bartow residents made an impact.

“I guess I want to say thank you to the citizens of Bartow for their support — not just me, but to Lucas Tree Experts and the City of Washington,” Wright said. “We came down expecting almost nothing, but they were really so kind to us. All the people out on the street bringing us water; bringing us food. They really did so much for us.”

To listen to Victor Robert Wright’s rendition of Josh Turner’s “Long Black Train,” click here.