Kingsport's Jevonte Lyons headed to California for singing auditions

Marci Gore • Sep 11, 2015 at 3:01 PM

KINGSPORT — Jevonte Lyons began singing his freshman year in high school. And, last year, at the age of 17, he was named the overall winner in Kingsport Idol.

Next week, the 18-year-old will travel to California to meet with and audition for the producers of a long-running singing competition show. Because of the show’s confidentiality guidelines and rules, Jevonte says he cannot publicly reveal the name of the show.

Jevonte sings with Kingsport’s New Vision Youth — a group of Tri-Cities children ages 8 to 17.

“I’m a supervisor at Merry Maids and one day last month I was cleaning an apartment and just decided to stop and make a video while I was cleaning,” he said.

He sent in the video, singing Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” and was called back to meet with the producers on Sept. 16.

“Music has always been a big part of my life, but I guess I seriously started singing my freshman year of high school. Something was just in the back of my mind to give this a try. I didn’t know what to expect when I sent in the video. I’d love to see this lead to more exposure of my music, where people could hear my music on the radio,” said Jevonte, adding that two of his musical inspirations are James Blount and John Legend.

When he arrives in California next week, Jevonte says he will be prepared to sing several songs, including “I Don’t Wanna Be” by Gavin DeGraw, “Chains” by Nick Jonas and “Brand New Key” by Melanie.

As exciting as all this is for Jevonte, a trip to California does not come cheap. Johnnie Mae Swaggerty, who works closely with the kids in New Vision Youth, has known Jevonte for several years. Swaggerty contacted the Times-News, seeking help in getting the necessary funds to send Jevonte to California.

Swaggerty asks that anyone who wishes to help Jevonte, send donations to Kingsport Idol, c/o Mark Kilgore, 853 Bays Mountain Park Road, Kingsport, Tenn. 37660.

Mark Kilgore serves as Kingsport Idol’s coordinator and host and says although Kingsport Idol is not sponsoring Jevonte to go to California, he is super excited for the young man he worked with during last year’s competition.

“Jevonte is an amazing vocalist with so much ability and talent,” Kilgore said. “I hope to hear him on the radio someday. As coordinator of Kingsport Idol, I am proud to have him represent the competition.”

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