Luke Bryan kicked off Super Bowl LI in Houston Sunday night with a standout performance of the national anthem. The award-winning country crooner hit every note of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a notoriously difficult song to sing—especially a capella.
To prepare for the high-profile gig, Bryan told Rolling Stone he committed himself to an intense regimen of singing around the house. "I've kind of just been hanging around the house, singing," he said. "Singing in the stairwell, singing in the shower, singing for my boys. I just tried to get a lot of—I know it sounds like a sports reference—but get a lot of reps in."
The performance was a big deal for a number of reasons. Bryan, 40, was the first male artist to perform the anthem since Billy Joel in 2007, and the first male country star since Garth Brooks in 1993.
The Super Bowl is the most-watched television event of the year, but the “Kick the Dust Up” singer did his best not to let his nerves get the best of him. "You have to not think about what's going on outside of the stadium," he says. "It's only a little over two minutes long. Get up there and do what I've always loved to do: sing for people. And try to take it at that – don't overthink it."
If you missed it, or just want to watch it again, check out the full performance below: