Eric Church will sing the National Anthem at Super Bowl LV next weekend (February 6), teaming up with R&B/hip-hop talent Jazmine Sullivan for a can’t-miss duet. But the news means Church has to make an exception to his rule about never singing “The Star Spangled Banner.”
It’s not that Church has never wanted to sing the Anthem, the patriotic country singer told the Apple Music Country podcast Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen. It’s that he didn’t think he could. “The Star Spangled Banner” is notoriously difficult, since it forces singers to use their entire vocal range — from the very bottom in it’s opening notes to the top — and its also normally sung without any other instruments to help. Every little mistake is obvious, and the fallout of messing up has been brutal in the past.
Plus, Church doesn’t really have the bombastic singing style you usually think of when it comes to the Anthem, so for all those reasons, he figured he’d never get a chance to do it. But that all changed this year, and now he’s stoked. Speaking with Bannen, the “Hell of a View” star first expressed how excited he was to sing with Sullivan, saying he was “floored” by her talent.
“No, I’ve not met her yet,” Church admits about his partner. “Let me tell you something. She may be the best singer. I was floored. And you know what, the best thing about this, no matter what happens, because that’s a nervy thing that we got to do, but what a fan, I’m a fan. I’ve went in and listened to everything she did. And I had heard her name, but full disclosure, I had not listened.”
Church went on to praise the unlikely pairing, which was put together by producer Adam Blackstone, a driving force behind projects for The Roots and Justin Timberlake in the past. But it sounds like Church was shocked by the Super Bowl invitation.
“And here’s what I said … I’ve said this forever, ‘I will never, ever sing the National Anthem,’” Church said. “It’s so hard. Except the Super Bowl, and I fully assumed. I mean, I’m not Chris Stapleton. I fully assumed they’re never going to ask me. So, this is the first.”
The whole world will soon find out how it goes, when Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan sing the National Anthem before Super Bowl LV on Sunday, February 7. Airing from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, the kick-off show begins at 6 p.m. ET on CBS, and Church will release his triple album Heart & Soul in stages April 16, 20 and 23.