Sporting events typically start out the same, with the crowd standing and respectfully listening to the national anthem. This, of course, happens at high school football games too. But what if there isn’t someone there who can perform the anthem? Some events will just use a recording so the show can go on.
But at one high school football game, there was a student who wouldn’t allow that to happen.Jackson Dean Nicholson was a high school football player at Arundell High School in Gambrills, Maryland, and believed playing a recording of the U.S. national anthem would not do it justice.
So, he removed his helmet, grabbed his guitar, and stepped up to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” live in front of his school.
Let’s just say he knocked it out of the park.
He definitely did the national anthem justice with his smooth, country-style voice.
The football player had a great time performing the song too.
“It was very cool,” Jackson Dean shared with The Baltimore Sun. “I probably knew 90 percent of the people sitting in those stands, and they had no idea I was doing it ‘til I brought my guitar out.”
And everyone who watched him was astounded by his performance. Who knew this football player could sing so well?
Jackson loves music.
He may have grown up working in his family’s construction business but he also grew up in the woods near his home, where he learned to play music.
“I spent more time there than I did with other humans, really,” Jackson Dean told Billboard. “There was a gap between me and my siblings so I was by myself a lot. Pops was working and mom was ‘el presidente’ of the company so she was working payroll and keeping the books. I was a little country kid, just worked my whole life and played all the sports.”
He’s been writing and singing songs since he was a high school freshman. He even recorded a few tracks for his album by the time he was a high school senior.
Only his second performance.
That impromptu performance was the second time he’s performed in front of a football crowd.
“I’m not really nervous when I have to sing in front of people. First five times you do it, the butterflies just go away. It’s all good after that,” Jackson Dean admitted to the Capital Gazette. “We knew we were going to videotape it, and I think I was more anxious about that.”
Well, it’s a good thing he stepped up and didn’t let the butterflies get to him.
The performance led to bigger things.
That video was uploaded to YouTube where it became a viral hit and got him an appearance on The Steve Harvey Show.
Since then, music executives have been banging on his door. If you check out Jackson’s Instagram, you’ll see the former high school football player has gone to another level with his music.
And his family is very supportive.
His dad was the one who pushed him to perform live at the age of 14 at a local bar.
“My dad was in the back of the room and that was one of the first moments I watched him stand there and cry,” Jackson Dean recalled to Billboard.
Since his viral performance, Jackson Dean signed with the record label, Big Machine Label Group, which released his debut full-length major-label album, the 10-song collection, Greenbroke.