It's been two weeks since Pawnee/Choctaw brothers known as Mike Bone had their audition aired on American's Got Talent, where they received unanimous approval from the celebrity judges. Yet their success wasn't overnight. The Oklahoma City brothers — Lil Mike and Funny Bone — have been honing their act within the 405 (that's Oklahoma City's area code) for the past 16 years. Such experience makes Funny Bone, 27, confident that his act will gain new fans.
"After the first episode aired, my phone blew up," Funny Bone recalls. "I got text messages. I got calls like crazy. I kinda expected that. My number was online for a while, like on my Facebook page and some flyers online. I had to take that down before the episode aired. I knew that would happen."
Since their performance aired July 2, Mike Bone are getting booked in Florida, Arizona, Alaska and Canada, in addition to their Las Vegas auditions as part of AGT.
"It's good — it's good to actually feel noticed," says Funny Bone. "We've been doing it locally for the past 16 years. We've done out-of-state shows before, but when you get national exposure, it's good to feel like it's actually paying off."
Funny Bone and his older brother, Lil Mike, 32, have several songs that they use in their performances, whether it's in an Oklahoma City club or a church. These include "Dream Big" and "Bobo's Chicken," a song about an after-hours chicken shack on OKC's east side that is only open on the weekends.
They have also been promoting a new album through YouTube, where their original video for "Rain Dance" can also be found. Another YouTube video, "Ellen Walk," is a promotional piece Mike Bone hopes will get them on Ellen DeGeneres' daytime talk show.
Yet it is their song "Rain Dance" that wormed its way into judge Howie Mandel's head, and got them to the next level of AGT. Funny Bone came up with the song when his high school canceled their annual talent show his senior year. To cultivate his creativity, he joined a school club that required him to write songs that were both cultural and educational.
"I dug into my roots," Funny Bone recalls. "This was the first time I actually started digging into my culture, my heritage, and learning about my people. We're from the city. A lot of people have been saying we're making a mockery of our culture. That's not what that is. This is our thing — of our heritage — coming out of city Natives."
Mike Bone said that they made many friends during the audition sessions of AGT, including a "down to earth" Nick Cannon. "We saw him as a friend," say the brothers. "We saw him as a homeboy."
When a worldwide audience sees the next episode of AGT, Mike Bone will be back in the 405 near the TV, waiting to see if their Las Vegas audition footage will be shown on this particular episode.
"Keep watching for us," Mike Bone tells Indian country. "Pray that we make it all the way. We need everybody's support on this one. I believe we're the first Native Americans to make it through America's Got Talent. We definitely need everybody's support."
The "Las Vegas Week" segment of America's Got Talent airs Tuesday, July 16, ad Wednesday, July 17, on NBC at 9 PM eastern.