licia Keys will sing “America the Beautiful” prior to this year’s Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. It will be just the third time the song is sung at the Super Bowl – previously performed only by Vicki Carr and Ray Charles. Accompanying Keys will be 150 students from the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, which Charles attended as a youth in 1937.
“I’m very excited to be playing at the Super Bowl for the first time especially because I will be singing a song made famous by an artist I admire, miss and respect, Ray Charles, along with the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind,” said Keys in a statement released Thursday. “I know that this is going to be a very touching and memorable moment.”
The game’s halftime show will feature a performance by Paul McCartney. Last year’s mid-game celebration with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake produced widespread controversy after Jackson’s breast was exposed.
This year’s game, Super Bowl XXXIX, takes place Feb. 6 at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville.
Earlier this week, Keys, 23, announced a tour of 34 U.S. cities that will kick off in South Carolina on Feb. 25. The R&B singer and piano player is currently nominated for eight Grammys.