While Rihanna’s highly-anticipated performance at the Super Bowl halftime show has dominated headlines, Chris Stapleton will be among a trio of singers also taking on important roles during football’s biggest night.
Stapleton, 44, has landed the coveted yet daunting task of performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs facing off at Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona.
He counts himself as one of three non-Rihanna stars adding their vocals to the proceedings on the night, including Abbott Elementary star Sheryl Lee Ralph, who will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and veteran musician Babyface, who will share his rendition of “America the Beautiful.”
For Stapleton, fate could well be tied to his performance, as he was reminded at a press conference this week that he once said he would only ever sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
“I think I said it because I thought I wouldn’t get asked,” he told Apple Music. “The national anthem is not an easy song for singers and it’s one that you can, you know, it can go horribly wrong as we’ve seen many times in the past. Hopefully, it won’t happen for me, knock on wood, but yeah, if you’re going to do it, this is the place to do it.”
Stapleton joins a long list of stars who have taken on the task at the Super Bowl, including Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Billy Joel, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Natalie Cole, Diana Ross, Garth Brooks, Neil Diamond, and Gladys Knight.
And while NFL fans settle in for the big game, some may reach for their phones to learn more about the night’s musical performers.
Who Is Chris Stapleton?
Before being catapulted to country superstardom through the success of his 2015 debut solo album Traveller, Stapleton was one of music’s best-kept secrets.
The Kentucky native moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2001 and earned a living by writing scores of songs for other performers. Among those who have performed tracks touched by his penmanship are Adele, Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Joss Stone, Darius Rucker, Josh Turner, Sheryl Crow, and George Strait.
As the years went on, Stapleton served as the frontman of the bluegrass group The SteelDrivers between 2008 and 2010, before becoming one half of the Jompson Brothers. He went on to sign a solo deal with Mercury Nashville in 2013.
The “Tennessee Whiskey” singer’s career has seen him collect a host of honors, including eight Grammy Awards, 10 Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM), and 14 Country Music Association Awards CMA). In 2019, he was named ACM’s Artist-Songwriter of the Decade.
Away from his glittering music career, Stapleton has a busy home life. The musician and his wife Morgane, to whom he has been married since 2007, are parents to five children.
However, he has chosen to keep his kids out of the spotlight, explaining backstage at 2018’s CMA Fest, per The Boot: “I signed up for this, my children did not. I am a very private person, and in that respect, I keep my children out of it. They’re children, and they deserve the chance to be children.”
In December 2020, Stapleton shared a peek inside his home life during the COVID-19 pandemic, telling Country Now: “Well, you get a lot better at changing diapers. You get out of practice sometimes, when you only get two or three days a week of it.”
Sharing the home routine at the time, he added: “I get ’em all up every morning and make ’em breakfast and watch ’em run around, you know? It’s a special thing to get to do. What a privilege and a gift in a year that on the surface might seem very devoid of gifts.”
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