May 26--Colton and Zach Swon, aka Muskogee's Swon Brothers, took to the stage for Monday's live performances on "The Voice" with "heavy hearts."
The brothers, who were voted into to the top eight Tuesday and will perform again Monday, knew there were storms in their home state but not the extent. No one wanted to tell them, said Colton Swon, 24, in a phone interview from Los Angeles.
Even their mother, Tammy Swon, didn't want them to know about the horrific tornadoes that devastated parts of central Oklahoma, killed 24, injured more than 260 and destroyed or damaged 1,100 homes.
"Colton heard it somewhere, and he called right before they went on stage and asked me if we were OK," Tammy Swon said in a phone interview. "I didn't tell him the magnitude of it. I didn't want to tell them until the show was over. I didn't want it to affect them. ... They have family across the state. They both wanted to know if we were all right, and I sure didn't tell them about the children who were killed. I knew they would just really be upset over that."
It was a reporter on the red carpet at "The Voice" on Monday who told Colton and Zach about the horrific damage back home.
"We had heavy hearts that night," Colton said. Zach was put on "vocal rest" temporarily and wasn't available for the interview.
"Home is where the heart is, so it was something that we had to take on stage with us. But, ultimately, we still had a show to do, and that's kind of how we deal with things anyway -- prayers and music. We felt like we did the best we could under the circumstances, and obviously it was enough to get us through. We feel pretty blessed."
On Monday, the top eight -- including Team Blake (Shelton) artists the Swon Brothers, Danielle Bradbery and Holly Tucker -- take the stage again in a bid to show the viewers why they should be voted into the top six in the reality singing competition. They find out who advances on the live results show at 8 p.m. Tuesday on NBC.
Last time Colton talked to the Tulsa World, he mentioned that they weren't ready to leave the show yet -- they had more to show America. He said their next performance will show what he meant.
"We think you are going to see a song that represents who we are as artists," said Colton, who joked that his brother not being able to speak was the best thing that has happened to him in a long time. "It will be the best we've done on the show and the kind of music we would want to put out there. ... We're pretty excited about Monday. This song is going to be the direction we want to go in after the show is over."
For their parents, Tammy and Kelly Swon, watching the brothers on TV every week is like "watching a home video," their mother said.
"It's not even real. We just look at each other and say 'God has really blessed them and given them what they have wanted for so long.'
"I think it has just been the right time and the right place. They probably weren't really grounded and ready before this. It's just amazing to know we've been given a gift, and I know they appreciate it, too."
She said from the time the boys were little, they traveled with their parents' gospel group, toured on a bus, sang in a variety show and knew how to perform in front of crowds. That probably explains their apparent ease at being on camera in front of millions on the TV show.
"They have done it since they both could stand up on stage and talk," said Tammy Swon who, with her husband, has flown out to watch their sons perform several times but probably won't be able to fly back to L.A. again for Monday's show.
"They have sung all their lives, held a mic, and that's what they always do at home. They would play, get out their little play guitars and set of drums and use all kinds of things to enhance that talent that was coming out. We've always been in music. It's never been a huge deal for them to be in front of a crowd.
"I know they joke around all the time. They try to find the best in life and they laugh about it, and that's how they deal with a lot of things. We're really proud of that -- that they choose to find joy in everything, and I think their joy comes from being grounded in their faith."
It's that faith, their talent and the support of friends, family and fans that will hopefully keep moving them forward in country music. But music isn't everything, Colton said.
"Ultimately, we want to end up in a place where we just have relationships with people. Ultimately, this is what we want to do. Once the music part of this show is over, we want to make a difference in people's lives even more off the stage than on. And, even if we get in a place of influence and example, that's our goal.
"We have had people help us. Everyone back in Oklahoma has helped us, and we would like to return the favor. ...
"That was the way we were raised."
Rita Sherrow 918-581-8360
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