Gladys Knight will sing the national anthem at Super Bowl LIII, the NFL announced on Thursday, January 17.
“I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta,” the Empress of Soul, 74, said in a statement. “The NFL recently announced their new social justice platform Inspire Change, and I am honored to be a part of its inaugural year.”
While Knight sings “The Star-Spangled Banner,” deaf activist Aarron Loggins will sign in American Sign Language on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf. He will also sign “America the Beautiful.”
“I hope that this anthem will touch people in a different way,” the R&B legend said in a video released by the NFL on Thursday. “We’ve been singing it forever, but this time I would hope that [people] will feel it so deeply that it will lift them to a higher place. That’s what I feel when I sing this song. This is who we are, this is how we are and this is what we do. Get ready, Atlanta. I’m coming home!”
Knight started her career with Motown Records in 1966 with her group, Gladys Knight & The Pips, and is best known for her two No. 1 singles, “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “That’s What Friends Are For.” She is a seven-time Grammy winner and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with The Pips in 1996.
“I really didn’t have an idea that I had a talent and, to be honest with you, I wasn’t thinking about singing. But I kept going in that direction until I matured enough to understand what that gift was because that’s what my parents always taught me that it was,” Knight said in the NFL video. “They said, ‘God will give you special gifts. You may not understand it in the beginning, but just do all that you can do and you’ll get your rewards. As you grow up, you’ll understand what this is all about.’”
Us Weekly exclusively revealed in September 2018 that Maroon 5 will headline the Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show. The Adam Levine-fronted band will be joined by special guests Travis Scott and Big Boi.
Knight joins the ranks of many performers who have sung the national anthem at the Super Bowl, including Pink (2018), Luke Bryan (2017), Lady Gaga (2016), Idina Menzel (2015) and Christina Aguilera (2011).
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Super Bowl LIII airs live from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on CBS Sunday, February 3, at 6:30 p.m. ET.
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