From small town roots to big-city stages, country duo and The Voice finalists, The Swon Brothers, have had quite the whirlwind ride. After a successful run on Season 4 of the popular television show where they placed third, Colton and Zach Swon have been busy recording, touring and wrapping their heads around it all. From touring with big-name artists like Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood to self-releasing their six-song EP, Timeless, the two are in it together. In between playing The Staples Center and making sandwiches, the brothers chatted with us about life before and after The Voice and revealed some new music on the horizon.
AFM: What has life been like since The Voice?
CS: Last night we played the Staples Center. You dream about these things your whole life and then you wake up one day and you’re on that stage. I get excited when I talk about it because it’s just unbelievable. We were actually watching old home videos the other night of us as kids and we went from our bedroom, with our fake recording studio, where we pretended to record music, to now cutting records in Nashville and singing at the Grand Ole Opry. We’ve been on tour with Brad Paisley and now we’re on tour with Carrie Underwood. It’s unbelievable, it really is. And we’ve worked our whole lives for it. It’s cool to see the work paying off and we still have a lot of work left to do.
AFM: Do you even have time to prepare for those moments or realize you need to take it all in?
CS: A lot of times, in the moment, you don’t realize how big it is or how great it is until you go back. Thank god for smartphones so you can go back and watch videos and pictures and see it from the audience’s point of view. Last night we were in sound check and—I’m not an emotional guy—I kind of teared up when I looked around and saw where we were. And my brother is on the right side of me, it’s amazing. It’s just crazy to think about being in that room as kids to now being on that stage. I don’t think you can fully prepare yourself for that but definitely watch videos of it afterwards.
AFM: When you tried out for The Voice you both kind of tagged along with a friend and were persuaded to try out for the show. Did you ever expect making it as far as you did?
ZS: Yes, we planned on winning the show [laughs]. No, we really didn’t and we were so tired and it just kind of snowballed into “okay we’re going to go to L.A. for awhile.” And it’s a long process; it’s not just standing in front of chairs and singing. There’s a lot that happens before you get to that point, and every step of the way, even after we got on Blake’s team. We were kind of counting our days too. We were like “okay this can’t be happening, we’re going to go home pretty soon.” And we said that all the way up to the day of the finale. Every day we woke up and said what are we doing here? This is crazy. We absolutely didn’t expect it but we’re very blessed it worked out the way it did.
AFM: What was it like working with Blake?
ZS: He’s one of my favorite people on the planet. The No. 1 question we get is, is Blake as cool as he seems on TV and Blake is exactly the same person. Sometimes he can be a little more R-rated but definitely the same guy you see on TV—super goofy, treats you like family. I think that speaks volumes to why he is a superstar, aside from the amount of talent he has. The guy knows how to treat people and it shines through. He’s got great character.
AFM: Colton, you tried out for American Idol a couple years after Carrie Underwood won the show who also happens to be from the same area in Oklahoma as you. What was that like?
CS: I did that on a whim. Zach did not; he wasn’t good enough [laughs]. At the time, I had never seen a professional football stadium and I’m such a football freak. The tryouts were in Dallas in the football stadium and we were there for some other reason and my parents and me just wanted to go in, so we sat in line and went into the stadium and that was really what I went in for. But, I ended up making it to the Top 40 and went to Hollywood. It was fun but it definitely was one of those things that did not feel right; we’ve always been a duo and we always will be, as far as music goes. I almost got sick to my stomach the further I made it. I realized more and more that it wasn’t right. I’m glad it worked out the way it did. It was a great experience but nothing like The Voice. It was so cool to be able to do The Voice with my brother and just kind of have a partner in crime. I can’t imagine being a solo artist at all.
AFM: What was it like growing up in a small town like Muskogee, Oklahoma?
CS: I think it’s a very simple life. You don’t realize how simple it is until you leave and you experience some of the rest of the world. Muskogee is small with little traffic and it’s flat. I’m very thankful for it though. You get close to people and there’s not a lot to get into besides going fishing or going to a Friday night football game. It’s very cliché as far as small towns go but that’s what we did; we hunted, we fished, played football. And of course that affects our music and made us who we are today.
AFM: You recently released your EP, Timeless. What is the next step?
CS: Most people don’t know this but we actually have recorded music that is finished. We have another six songs to follow up the EP so essentially, it will make a full record for the year. We are so excited for this new music. I’ve never listened to our music and thought this is really going to change things. Maybe I’ll look back one day and say that wasn’t that good but this is by far the best music we have done and put down and I’m so thrilled for people to hear it. We’re actually doing the songs live but you just can’t get the music yet. We’re trying to figure out the release date and all that good stuff but you’ll definitely hear some stuff at our show that some people haven’t heard at all.