For the first time in 49 years, Babyface took the stage during the Super Bowl LVII Pre-Game Show to perform a live rendition of “America The Beautiful.”
Wearing a classic black suit with a customized guitar befitting for the occasion, the 12-time Grammy-winning crooner revived the melodic ballad on Sunday (Feb. 12), ahead of the night’s big game. During the Super Bowl press conference, the 63-year-old singer-songwriter admitted he was “surprised” to receive the call to perform, but was nonetheless thrilled and dedicated his performance to his late mother.
“This was not on my bucket list. And it was not anything I ever imagined that I would do, so to get that call… ’Are you sure? Me?’ But I’m so honored,” he stated. “I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t know it was coming, but God brings things to you that you don’t look for… The melody in that song, it’s a lot easier than ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ but [Chris Stapleton] is gonna kill it, so I ain’t worried.”
When speaking about who and what inspired his arrangement, he explained that he made it work to fit him. “I just gotta be me and not try to be anybody else. That’s the whole thing,” he told TMZ. “There’s been amazing arrangements throughout history and of course, Ray Charles […] The biggest thing you can do in any case like that is only be yourself and be honest. So, no matter what anyone says about it, you know that you were honest and gave it everything. It’s one of my favorites. It’s really a beautiful song.”
Babyface’s Super Bowl Pre-Show performance followed Sheryl Lee Ralph’s rendition of “Lift Every Voice And Sing.” Later in the evening, Rihanna returned to the stage as the headliner for Apple Music’s debut Halftime Show.
Watch his soulful performance of “America The Beautiful” below.