Eric Church on Why He Wanted to Sing Anthem at Super Bowl LV: ‘Important Time for a Patriotic Moment’

by Suzanne Halliburton

Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan, two Grammy-nominated artists, will sing the national anthem, together, at Sunday’s Super Bowl. He believes it’s an important time “for a patriotic moment.”

And Church, the country star, said the collaboration between the two of them also is something the country needs to heal some of its divides.

“With what’s going on in America, it feels like an important time for a patriotic moment,” Church said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “An important time for unity. The fact that I’m a Caucasian country singer and she’s an African American R&B singer — I think the country needs that.”

The two singers have yet to practice together. That will happen sometime soon, when both fly to Tampa, Fla., for their pre-game performance at Raymond James Stadium.

Sullivan, in an email exchange with the LA Times, said she’s excited for her performance with Church. She wrote that the two will blend their styles “to create something original and new.”

Eric Church Also Will Perform At Super Bowl After Party

Church will have another performance after the game. He’s set to be part of a livestream after-party sponsored by Verizon. The concert, featuring some of music’s biggest stars, will help raise money for small businesses struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic. Comedian Tiffany Haddish will host the event.

Other stars expected to perform include Luke Bryan, Miley Cyrus, Brandi Carlisle and Alicia Keys. H.E.R, who will sing “America the Beautiful” in pre-game, also is expected to perform at the after-party concert.

ROC Nation, owned by the rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z, is producing the pre-game and halftime shows.

Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan already have their unique styles. And they’ll also be the first duo to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl in years. The only other time it’s happened was in 2006, when Aretha Franklin and Aaron Neville, accompanied by Dr. John on the piano, sang the anthem at Detroit’s Ford Stadium.

No Pressure On Church Or Sullivan, But Best National Anthem Already Happened In Tampa

And, no pressure on Church or Sullivan, but the best-ever Super Bowl national anthem performance happened in Tampa in 1991. Whitney Houston rocked it in a time when the country needed another patriotic moment. After all, the United States was 10 days removed from the start of the first Gulf War.

Houston’s performance was so well received that her record label released the anthem as a single and donated all profits to help the troops.

A decade later, after 9-11, Arista records released Houston’s national anthem again. It peaked at No. 6 on Billboard’s Hot 100. And once again, Houston and the record label donated all profits, this time to funds that helped the first responders and victims of the terrorist attacks.

Want to know more about past Super Bowl anthem performances? Outsider recently ranked the best. Check it out here.