By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer
Before becoming the Swon Brothers, a very young Zach once performed as Elvis in his family’s musical variety show while a little Colton sported a mullet.
Parents Tammy and Kelly Swon sang with a gospel group for many years, and the brothers’ earliest performances were with their parents. Then, Tammy and Kelly started a musical variety show in Wagoner in 1994.
Zach played drums and performed, while Colton more often focused on wooing the ladies while singing “When a Man Loves a Woman,” former show performers say.
The Swon Brothers, who perform on NBC’s “The Voice” at 7 p.m. tonight, aren’t a musical variety act any longer, and neither has a mullet or an Elvis cape.
Instead, Zach, 28, and Colton, 24, have become a popular country duo with fans from across the country, even the world.
Zach and Colton have become so popular their music has soared on the iTunes charts, both in country and overall, as they’ve gone from auditioning to being among the top three finalists competing for the grand prize.
And while the brothers have said over and over they couldn’t have gone this far without their parents, family, church, band and friends, their father said they had a drive all their own to become who they are today.
Kelly Swon said it was probably about 2000 when Zach, then 15, began “sequencing” songs with a keyboard to make it sound as if he and Colton had a full band playing behind them.
“I remember he had written ‘The Swon Brothers’ on the keyboard,” Kelly said. “In other words, they didn’t want to be part of the music show anymore, or the sons of Tammy and Kelly. They wanted their own identity.”
The brothers started singing at area Christmas shows, Fourth of July events, barbecues, weddings — any gig they could get, with their father acting as their roadie and sound man.
Zach and Colton wrote songs in Nashville with well-known songwriters, played for Keith Urban, met many famous names, faces and artists, made connections in the music industry and released albums on iTunes long before becoming national television stars on “The Voice.”
“They have paid their dues,” said Ronald Boren, a close friend who was one of the brothers’ drummers when they first started out. “And here they are now on the television rubbing shoulders with Sheryl Crow, Blake Shelton and Usher.”
Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or email@example.com.
If you go
WHAT: “Swatch Parties” for the Swon Brothers in the finals of “The Voice” competition.
WHEN: 7 p.m. tonight and 8 p.m. Tuesday.
WHERE: Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, 401 S. Third St.