Rockers Kings of Leon received the Rising Star Award from the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in a special ceremony at Tulsa’s BOK Center Friday night before playing a concert at the arena.
The awards ceremony was followed by a near-sellout crowd of fans that filled the BOK Center later Friday night, reports Tulsa World music writer Jennifer Chancellor. The Grammy-winning band has sold more than 6.5 million albums in the U.S. and won four Grammy Awards since its debut in 2003.
The band includes the three Followill brothers – Caleb (vocals and rhythm guitar), Nathan (percussion) and Jared (bass) – and their cousin Matthew Followill (lead guitar).
The family spent most of their childhood in the ’80s and ’90s crisscrossing the Bible Belt between Memphis and Oklahoma City, riding in a purple ’88 Olds with the brothers’ traveling Pentecostal minister dad, Leon, and their mother, Betty-Ann, in the ’80s and ’90s. Caleb and Jared were both born in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., while Nathan and Matthew were born in Oklahoma City. The band is now based in Tennessee.
“Me and Matt were born here. We’re all Sooners at heart,” Nathan Followill said as the bandmates hoisted their Rising Star trophies and smiled.
The band often mentions its Oklahoma ties. For instance, the title of their new rock documentary “Talihina Sky: The Story of the Kings of Leon,” which will be shown as a special work-in-progress screening during the 10th Annual Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, is taken from a hidden track on the family band’s 2003 debut album, “Youth and Young Manhood,” which in turn is taken from an Oklahoma town whose welcome sign is glimpsed in the trailer.
“Wow, this is crazy,” said Caleb Followill after receiving his Rising Star Award statuette. “I mean, we had heard something was happening, but we didn’t know it would be this.
“It’s great. Oklahoma is always in our heart,” Caleb added. “We love it more all the time. … We’d love to buy homes here.”
To read more of Jennifer’s great story about Kings of Leon’s Rising Star honors and how Oklahomans feel about the band and its Sooner State ties, click here.
And congratulations to the Kings!