Joe Nichols Doesn't Prep For National Anthem Performances

(Radio.com) "The Star-Spangled Banner," Joe Nichols admits, is a "scary song." Which is exactly why, when he's invited to sing it at a game or event, he doesn't spend hours and hours practicing and preparing.

In fact, he admits, "I try not to prep at all. I try not to think about it, because if I do I start to get nervous. I kind of breathe deeply, take real deep breaths as many times as I can right before. And try to relax."

Radio.com caught up with Nichols at the Superdome in New Orleans, where he'd been invited to sing the National Anthem during a New Orleans Saints vs. Buffalo Bills game this past Sunday (Oct. 27).

Just before halftime, we found an uncrowded corner in a hallway, where Nichols filled us in on how he's feeling now that his album Crickets is finally in stores and his single "Sunny and 75″ is in the Top 10.

"Sunny and 75," Nichols says, "has really trucked along on the chart, and with radio and fans, to the point where it's built a momentum on its own. There's only so much promotion you can do on a song, and eventually people just have to want it. So what's special about 'Sunny' for me is that people want the song."

And that kind of reception is, of course, "a great way to launch the record," he says (Crickets, his eighth studio album, hit stores earlier this month). "It's a high energy kind of song, it's a new direction for me. And to have everybody be supportive of that, that's another big deal. A lot of people could have said, 'This is nothing like you're old stuff so I'm not going to play it.' But it's been the exact opposite. People have said, 'I love this new direction, it's so fresh.'"

And, he says, "it's a good setup for what we got coming up. We got a song called 'Yeah' that will be our next single. I think it's going to be a special song for us."

So now that "Sunny" has spent a couple weeks already in the Top 10 on the country singles charts (both Billboard and Mediabase), Nichols says that the reaction to the song when he plays it live is "electric."

"It's a great moment of the show. You can feel the crowd just…to me it feels like the energy goes someplace else. Lots of my hits range back to 2002, and you can feel that people are excited, and they love 'Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off' and 'Brokenheartsville.' But when we start playing 'Sunny,' it becomes something electric." More.

Radio.com is an official news provider for antiMusic.com.
Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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