El Paso musician competes for votes tonight on NBC's "The Voice"

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 6:49pm

Grandparents feel "very excited and proud"

Twenty-nine year old Jonny Gray from El Paso has been thrust into the national spotlight after being discovered by the NBC's hit show "The Voice."

Jonny hit a home run during a blind audition on the show when he caught the attention of not one but two celebrity judges - Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine.

"Really hasn't sunk in yet. I think when I go home for this little break is when it will sink in," he said.

Jonny was born and raised in El Paso, but left the Sun City at 18 years old to join the Airforce and was deployed to the Middle East shortly after.

He'd been performing for large audiences ever since he was a student at Jesus Chapel High School in El Paso.

"In the military, he would entertain the troops, well, around him. All of his people," said his grandmother, Billie Hershenberg.

Jonny's passion was music and so after the military, he left for San Antonio and later to Austin to pursue that dream - and that's where he was discovered by "The Voice."

"I didn't know how far he could go, it's a one in a million situation, you know. But he had a different voice than anyone," said Jonny's grandfather, Louis "Red" Hershenberg

Jonny's grandparents Billie and Red say they're among his biggest fans, even wearing shirts they had made with his picture on the front.

"Whenever I'm around anybody, I go, 'Do you watch 'The Voice?' I'm Jonny Gray's grandmother. They go, 'Oh! How cool!'" said Billie.

The proud grandparents say their energetic and charismatic Jonny showed a love for music at a young age, and would often imitate characters performing in his favorite movie "Back to the Future."

"Everything that Marty would do with his guitar, he would do with his guitar. He would lift it up over his head, or when Marty was down on his back, scooting around, Jonny would do that too," said Billie.

Last Monday, Jonny passed the final battle round and on Tuesday night, his fate will be in the hands of America.

"Whatever happens, he has made the old folks very happy. We'll all remember this as long as we live. He's given us a lot of memories," said Red and Billie.

Jonny is on Grammy-award winning artist Cee Lo Green's team.

There are 20 contestants total on the show.

"The Voice" airs Monday and Tuesday nights on Channel 9.

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