Musical artists and singers are often invited to sports competitions to open the event with the National Anthem. But rarely do they make the headlines for good reasons, as some performances are often met with criticism.
This wasn't the case for Christian singer Natalie Grant, who performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" during Monday's college football championship game. Her performance earned her widespread acclamation, even making waves on the Internet and appearing in trending searches on Google and Twitter.
According to the Christian Headlines, Grant's powerful rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the national championship game between Georgia and Alabama drew applause from both sports and non-sports fans. The Christian singer's name then trended on both Twitter and Google following her Monday night performance.
It became the fifth-most searched term on Google, likely because of the people looking to learn more about the nine-time Grammy nominated artist.
Grant, who hails from Seattle, Washington, rose to fame in the late 1990's when she launched her solo career after her beginnings with the traveling music group Truth. As a solo artist, the Christian singer was honored four times with the Gospel Music Association's Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year for several consecutive years, from 2006 to 2009. Grant is also a nine-time Grammy nominated vocalist.
Both viewers and celebrities were blown away by her rendition of the National Anthem on Monday. Actor and talk show host Arsenio Hall took to Twitter to share that the Christian singer "crushed it!" while Cincinnati TV reporter Trevor Peters shared, "Top-5 National Anthem. Bravo, Natalie Grant!"
Before her outstanding performance on Monday, Grant had taken to Facebook to ask her supporters to pray for her before she took the stage. The 50 year old singer shared, "Tonight is the night!!! I'll be performing our National Anthem for the national championship game! ...Would you say a prayer for me?! That my voice would be strong, and everything about me would shine the light of JESUS!"
As a Christian, Grant had always been vocal about her faith. In 2020, the singer spoke with American Songwriter about how she kept God close during her most trying times. The Christian singer shared that she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2017, during which she leaned on God to guide her through her struggles.
"The Bible talks a lot about how God is near to the broken hearted, that He's near to those who are crushed in Spirit," Grant shared advice, which is useful to this day. "For me, it's one thing to know those verses and that concept, but it's another thing to experience it for yourself."
Grant added that God is no stranger to human hardships and is ever present. The Christian singer shared, "[God] invites me into His presence. He'll be with me, and He'll never leave me. That's a mind blowing concept that I'm not sure we'll ever fully understand in our humanity, but that we still can use as an anchor in our life."