The 23-year-old Grammy winner is set to perform “America the Beautiful” at Super Bowl LV on Sunday, an opportunity she feels “blessed” for, even if she’s admittedly nervous.
“Honestly, I am so excited to just be performing at the Super Bowl. It’s a huge stage and it doesn’t get any bigger, you know?” she told Entertainment Tonight in a recent interview. “But I think the goal, for me, is to make [the song] my own. I’m a huge fan of the different versions of ‘America the Beautiful,’ but I really want to bring some different elements in there … make it H.E.R.”
“I’m just going to try to tell myself to have a really good time. But I’m going to be in there, getting my warm-ups in, and just praying that everything goes well,” she added.
Elsewhere in the pre-game lineup will be Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan, who will perform the national anthem and The Weeknd will be the halftime show headliner.
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H.E.R., whose real name is Gabi Wilson, expressed what it means to be taking the microphone at the major event as a Black woman. “I think the No. 1 thing I think about a lot is the fact that I’m a young Black girl from the Bay area that never imagined that I would be on a stage like that. I think it’s a message to other young Black women that you can do it too,” she said. “There’s nothing that you can’t do. Reach for the stars.”
Last month, Eric Church who vowed never to perform the national anthem — revealed the reason why he agreed to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl with Sullivan in an interview with Apple Music Country’s Today’s Country Radio.
“I’ve said this forever: ‘I will never ever sing the national anthem…’ it’s so hard. Except the Super Bowl,” he said. “I’m not Chris Stapleton. I fully assumed they were never going to ask me.”
“My first response was ‘Mm-mm. I’m a stylist, not a vocalist,'” Church explained.
But then … he heard Sullivan’s voice and he was sold.
“And then I heard her and I’m not missing a chance to sing with her. And that was it,” the singer said. “Once I heard her voice, I said, ‘Okay, I’m in.'”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs are facing off at Super Bowl LV on Sunday in Tampa, Florida. The game will air on CBS at 6:30 p.m. EST.