Oklahoma country singer plans benefit for tornado victims


LOS ANGELES: Oklahoma country singer Blake Shelton is planning a televised benefit to raise money for victims of the massive tornado that swept through Moore, Oklahoma, this week, music magazine Billboard reported Wednesday.

“The Voice” judge Shelton, a native of Ada, Oklahoma, which is 75 miles northwest of Moore, said he would have more information on the NBC concert in the next 24 hours.

“I’m hoping it will raise a lot of money. Obviously it will be televised and will happen really quickly,” Shelton told Billboard after the conclusion of Tuesday’s “The Voice.”

Representatives for NBC and Shelton did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The singer opened Tuesday’s reality singing competition show with his ballad “Over You,” which he sang with wife Miranda Lambert as a tribute to the tornado’s victims.

Shelton, who serves as a judge along with Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, R&B star Usher and pop singer Shakira, said he hoped to “call in some really big favors” for the benefit.

The huge tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb on Monday, ripping apart two elementary schools and a hospital and killing 24 people, including nine school children.

Country singer Toby Keith, a native of Moore, appeared on CNN on Tuesday night as he returned to his hometown

“Always when these things happen, music people get together. I’ve had 500 text messages from people all over the music world saying ‘What are we going to do? We want to help…’” a visibly shaken Keith said on the “Piers Morgan Live” program.

“I’m in and Moore knows I’m going to be here, hopefully in the next couple days we can sort it out,” he added.

Celebrities have been quick to take to social media to voice their support for tornado victims, urging people to donate to the American Red Cross and Salvation Army.

Basketball player Kevin Durant, one of the stars of the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team, has pledged $1 million for tornado relief through his family foundation and encouraged his 4.1 million Twitter followers to help raise relief funds.

NBC’s star-studded telethon with Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel for the victims of Superstorm Sandy in November 2012 helped raise more than $23 million, while ABC’s “Day of Giving” event raised more than $10 million for the American Red Cross.