Eric Church took the stage to perform the National Anthem with Jazmine Sullivan ahead of Super Bowl LV on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 7). Church kicked off the performance, accompanying himself on guitar. Sullivan then sang solo for a few lines before joining Church for a powerful duet. The performance marked the first time two artists have performed the National Anthem at the Super Bowl since Aretha Franklin and Aaron Neville performed at the 2006 Super Bowl in Detroit.
The "Springsteen" singer says he never planned to perform The Star-Spangled Banner on such a public stage before this year. Then the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot happened.
"I've avoided it forever," the country star told the Los Angeles Times. "It's an incredibly hard song to sing. And I'm not a vocalist -- I'm a stylist. Somebody like me, you take some liberties with it, then you've gotten too far away from the melody and suddenly you're a communist...Honestly, there's just more to lose than to gain."
Church said the Capitol riot caused him to reassess "risk versus reward," adding that singing the Anthem with Jazmine Sullivan is an opportunity for an important patriotic moment.
"With what's going on in America, it feels like an important time for a patriotic moment," Church told 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."
Church will release his triple album Heart & Soul in April. He recently released his new single "Heart on Fire."
Jazmine Sullivan released her latest album Heaux Tales earlier this year.
Church and Sullivan will perform together for the first time publicly on Feb. 7.
Brief History of Super Bowl National Anthem
The U.S. National Anthem has been performed at all but one Super Bowl. In 1977, Vicki Carr sang "America the Beautiful."
The Anthem has been performed by various famous recording artists, including Diana Ross, Billy Joel, Aaron Neville, Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Hudson, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys and Kelly Clarkson.
Whitney Houston's performance of the National Anthem with the Florida Orchestra in 1991 in Tampa remains one of the most iconic performances of the song.
Super Bowl LV
The Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced off in the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Sunday, Feb. 7.
The Weeknd headlined the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show, produced by DPS and executive produced by Roc Nation and Jesse Collins.
Grammy winning artist H.E.R. performed "America the Beautiful" during the pregame show.
Warren "Wawa" Snipe, a recording artist and deaf rapper, performed the National Anthem and America the Beautiful in American Sign Language.
Church, Brandi Carlile, Luke Bryan, Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Brittany Howard, H.E.R. and Jazmine Sullivan performed during Verizon's Big Concert for Small Business, which aired after the Super Bowl.
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