Chapel Hart Recall How Tanya Tucker Made Them Cry [Interview]
Chapel Hart know their emotions got the better of them, but insist it's not their fault. Sisters Devynn and Danica Hart and cousin Trea Swindle will try to convince you it was a setup.
Of course, the three women can't keep from grinning as they share another self-effacing story with Taste of Country.
This is the kind of family conversation you see in movies, where one person starts a story and another picks up mid-sentence, as if it was scripted that way. A second later the third hits a punchline and the room erupts in laughter. You find yourself looking left, then right, then left to keep track of all the playful quips and subtle snark.
The only comparison to a conversation with Chapel Hart is a song by Chapel Hart, where the three-part harmonies are rehearsed to perfection. The trio's new Glory Days album has has 11 such songs, and most are just as fun and spontaneous as the chat you can watch above.
"I've never been so annoyingly p----d in my life," Devynn Hart says, following Swindle's impression of the male turkeys that thoroughly eluded them during a recent hunt. "They knew!"
Hunting (for snakes usually, not turkeys) and fishing are two passions the Top 5 America's Got Talent finishers share. Tequila — or at least watching Devynn swig tequila — is another they discussed with ToC Nights' Evan Paul.
After earning a Golden Ticket during the fall 2022 season of AGT, Chapel Hart waited for the final rounds, but couldn't deliver when they needed it. Judge and CH stan Simon Cowell defended them, praising their collective emotion during "American Pride," a song on Glory Days.
Howie Mandell was less effusive, pointing out that it's a competition and voters have to vote on what they saw.
It's what voters didn't see that tells the full story, however. Hart, Hart and Swindle were in tears at the start of their performance because two people who mean a whole lot to them popped up — literally in one case — to surprise them. Long story short: they were not prepared for that, but trust us when we say you'll want to ingest the long story.
The following Q&A is a portion of their Taste of Country Nights, On Demand interview. Listen to the full chat here:
Taste of Country: In New Orleans, you used to do some busking. What's the secret to that?
Danica Hart: Be good, honey.
Swindle: Be good.
DH: Because people will let you know (Laughs).
Swindle: It's so funny, because we wanted to do country music, but if we had any dang sense we would have went north instead of south to New Orleans. Maybe the Mississippi compass was mixed up. New Orleanians are the most brutally honest people that you will every meet in your life. And busking on the street is a thousand times more brutal.
DH: No one is coming to see ya ... but it was definitely some of the best times for us because there was no limitations. We'd go out and we'd sing "Islands in the Stream" and all the things and people would just — it literally got to the place where the police would have to come and shuffle people out of the way because there were so many people standing and watching.
Devynn Hart: Good, wholesome street workers.
Swindle: I never thought it'd get to the point — the days we didn't busk we'd walk through downtown and people would be like, "Where were you? We were waiting for you to come."
DH: People who worked on the street would be like, "That man has been here for two days. Y'all come or I'll put a chair out for y'all."
Swindle: Because, if you know the busking game, it's first-come, first-served. If you don't get the good corners before others — now (laughs).
Devynn Hart: I told y'all. You're street workers.
Swindle: We weren't street workers. We worked on the roadside.
How have those skills helped you get to where you are right now?
Swindle: We can fight (all laugh).
DH: I think that goes back to that connection with people. If you watch the busking show, it translates in a theater show. We still get to be, in a sense, up close and personal with a thousand people, just like we were with 50 people gathered around the piano.
You guys earned it. You put in the work.
DH: I tell you, we gotta figure out a better reaction when people are like, "They're overnight sensations." (laughs). We've been in this bad boy about a decade.
Is that frustrating when people say that?
Devynn Hart: I don't think so. Probably not as much, because we've gotten it a lot now. I think it's because people just didn't know. People who knew us know that isn't true, but for people who was just introduced to us on AGT — well, I take that back because people on AGT swore we were signed and stuff like that.
Simon Cowell loved you guys. When you left did he offer any parting words of advice?
Swindle: Simon had words of advice throughout the competition. We were all super nervous to meet him, but he was the nicest judge. In between he'd be like, (in a British accent) "You know I love trios ... just come, it's gonna be alright."
It's like, "Who is this comforting man?"
DH: I'm still waiting for him to say something mean. But Simon, he was such a huge supporter because, our finale song, we were so emotional. It had been an emotional day. We took the song out of the set list because we kept crying every time we would sing it. And so we were like "We're ready." No, we still cried the whole time.
After that, Howie was like, "That sucked. This is a competition and so it should be treated as such." Simon, even afterwards, he came up ... like, listen, "After this is over I want you to go backstage, pull yourself together and I want you to sing this chorus and post it on Facebook. Because this song is incredible."
He said, "It's a hit, but I need you all to sing it so people can hear it."
Swindle: We're like (fake crying) "OK, Simon."
Devynn Hart: I mean, we got up there and cried like babies.
Swindle. Now, they were wrong because they didn't tell us during the finale there's this whole montage of baby Trea, Dan and Dev —
DH: Nobody told us. After we came off we were boo-hooing, like, "We were watching the screens" and they were like, "You're never supposed to watch the screen!" You should have told us that before!
Swindle: And before we even saw all of this nostalgic pictures —
DH: Tanya Tucker sends us a video, like, "I love you girls. Keep up the good work."
Swindle: It's not just a regular video either. It's a Proto Hologram, so this is life-size Tanya Tucker in front of you. It was a lot.
DH: Then our uncle, he's a vet, so he shows up in the most random parts of the world and he's like, "I'm here to support ya!" And then he showed up in the box and said, "Something came up and I couldn't be there." Then he walked from the back ... so we're like, (all fake a cry).