Nashville Sibling Duo Bring Howie Mandel to Brink of Tears on ‘America’s Got Talent’ with Mental Health Awareness Ballad

The Reklaws, a brother and sister country duo from Canada, brought judge Howie Mandel close to tears on America’s Got Talent on Tuesday, June 11, after giving a heartfelt performance of an original song they wrote, dedicated to their late mother, to help bring attention to mental health, “People Don’t Talk About.”

A pin-drop silence fell as the Nashville-based siblings, Stuart and Jenna Walker, took turns singing through their revealing lyrics—I grew up playin’ house / In a house that was broke / I wish we talked it out / Now I don’t know why—and both joining on the chorus together: When it’s 2 am you’re talking to yourself again / You’re digging a hole People don’t talk about / Trying to be yourself / But feeling like you’re someone else.

Before their performance, the siblings shared that they grew up in a town called Kirkwall in Canada on the Yee-Haw Adventure Farm. The amusement-style farm featured hay rides, a pumpkin patch of 10,000 squash, a 10-acre corn maze, and more. The siblings would also perform at the farm during the half-time show of the pig races with Stuart on banjo and Jenna singing.

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In a pre-recorded interview, Stuart revealed that their mother, who died in 2022, named the band The Reklaws, their last name spelled backward. “We were going back and forth on what song to do,” said Jenna in the pre-audition interview on AGT. “We wanted it to be a song specifically about our mom. We lost our mom to mental health, and that shook up our world.”

He brother added, “It was a very tough time for our family, and we just want to acknowledge that, for people who are going through tough times. Mom would be very proud right now.”

An emotional Jenna added, “The whole reason we’re here—it’s because of her. I hope that she can see us here.”

The siblings revealed that they wrote the song following their mother’s death. “Our family’s been through a lot of stuff that we didn’t feel comfortable talking about,” Jenna told the judges before their performance. “And we wrote it about that. We felt like if we had this opportunity to get on this stage and if we had one song to play this would be the song.”

Stuart added, “Us at 17 would have loved to hear this song.”

America’s Got Talen “Auditions 3” Episode 1903, Pictured: The Reklaws (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

After their performance, Mandel was the first judge to praise the duo for the message in the song. “Your singing and your writing [are] impeccable,” a visibly moved Mandel told the duo. “I usually don’t respond to lyrics like I’m responding to this. I’ve been very open and my soapbox is mental health and there’s a stigma attached.”

Mandel added, “The thing that allows me to survive is the ability to talk about it. This song is an important song, and I think you’re going to go a long way in this competition.”

Before auditioning on AGT, The Reklaws released their debut album Freshman Year in 2019, featuring their first No. 1 hit on the Canadian Country chart with “Feels Like That” and their follow-up, Sophomore Slump, in 2020. That year they had second No. 1 hit with “Can’t Help Myself,” featured on Dea Brody’s album Boys. The Reklaws’ 2022 album Good Ol’ Days included another chart-topper, “11 Beers,” featuring Jake Owen and written by Michael Hardy, Ashley Gorley, Hunter Phelps, and Ben Johnson.

In 2023, The Reklaws also released their fourth No. 1 single “Honky Tonkin’ About” featuring season 17 AGT-alum Drake Milligan.

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Photos: Trae Patton/NBC

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