Jennifer Nettles to Sing National Anthem at 2019 Kentucky Derby
By Liz Calvario
Jim Spellman/Getty Images
Jennifer Nettles is set to perform the National Anthem at the 145th Kentucky Derby!
The GRAMMY-winning country superstar will sing "The Star Spangled Banner" in the Kentucky Derby Winner’s Circle just after 5:00 p.m. ET/ 2:00 p.m. PT prior to the historic race presented by Woodford Reserve on May 4. The special presentation will be broadcast live on NBC. Nettles will also be a guest of the world-famous Barnstable Brown Derby Eve Gala.
The Sugarland singer is the 11th artist to perform the National Anthem since Churchill Downs began the tradition in 2009. Previous artists who have had the honor include Pentatonix, Harry Connick, Jr., Lady Antebellum, Josh Groban, Mary J. Blige and Lee Ann Rimes, among others.
"We are always tempted to dissect things and quantify them into these dualities. To distill them down into something that’s easier to hold: this is bad or good; this is right or wrong; heaven or hell; boy or girl. All these pieces," Nettles said of the inspiration for the song. "And the reality is, we live most of our lives in a very deep, rich and complex gray and in between area that doesn’t fall into either of those stark categories."
Nettles also shared that "one of the most rewarding parts" of her work comes from hearing stories from people all over the world about how her songs have affected them.
"If something that I write can do that, I think that, for me, is probably the highest compliment," she said. "Because I think it means that I've tapped into something that is wholly human and that’s what we're constantly striving to do as artists, is really tap into something that is human."