Carly Pearce Will Sing the National Anthem at the 2023 Kentucky Derby
Carly Pearce is ready for the Kentucky Derby. The Bluegrass State native will be singing the National Anthem ahead of the race, and she's already secured the most important part: Her hat.
The country singer teased her performance on social media with a video unboxing of her headpiece. The wide-brimmed hat is red with black trim, and the top features an ensemble of flowers and feathers. She lifts the dramatic piece out of the box and sets it on top of her head with a wink. Her song "Diamondback" plays over the video.
"Hmmm what could this mean?? Place your bets below for what it could be," Pearce writes alongside the video.
Pearce tells People that she likely won't wear the hat while singing the anthem, however, she will certainly have it on for the rest of the festivities. It's actually her first time to attend the Derby.
"This will be the first time that I've actually gotten to go," she confesses. "Being from Kentucky, this is definitely a really cool thing to get to be a part of."
Her invitation was quite unexpected.
"I was speaking with a Kentucky news reporter about my show, and they asked me if I had ever done the Derby and I said, 'No, but if you know somebody, let me know,'" Pearce explains. "And I'm not kidding, maybe a week later, I had a phone call from the head of the [Kentucky] Derby asking me personally if I would do it. I don't know who that news reporter knew, but she knew somebody."
It's no surprise a country artist has been asked to sing the National Anthem. Several artists have handled the tradition at various sporting events, like Chris Stapleton, who captivated the nation with his bluesy rendition at this year's Super Bowl.
Many say the song is risky, and over the years we've seen our fair share of flubs when it comes to the lyrics. However, Pearce says she's not intimidated.
"I am one of the weirdos that isn't afraid to sing the National Anthem," she admits. "You either enjoy doing it or you don't. I really enjoy singing it and it's not something that scares me. I'm pretty comfortable with it. And I don't know if that's my background singing bluegrass where there's a lot of a capella. I just think that I'm very aware of my voice, and I'm very aware of how to sing a capella."
"I've been fortunate to get to do it several times, most recently at the World Series. It really feels like probably the coolest anthem that I could ever do, maybe besides the Super Bowl," she adds.