LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Churchill Downs Racetrack announced that GRAMMY award-winning country music singer, songwriter and Kentucky native Carly Pearce will sing the national anthem at the 149th Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve on Saturday, May 6, 2023. In addition, singer and songwriter Rachel Platten will kick off Derby weekend by performing the national anthem and her hit “Fight Song” during the Kentucky Oaks Survivor’s Parade at the Longines Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 5.
The announcement is exciting for Carly, who made history in February with her first GRAMMY Award win for “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” with Ashley McBryde, becoming the first female pairing to win an award category. The singer’s live performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” will take place just after 5:00 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live as part of NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage, expected to reach more than 16 million fans worldwide.
The reigning ACM Awards Female Artist of the Year recently earned her fourth career No. 1 song with “What He Didn’t Do” which she performed at the CMT Music Awards earlier this month in addition to a standout performance of “Just a Girl” with Gwen Stefani. Carly released her first live album, 29: Written In Stone (Live From Music City), last month and is currently on the road touring.
Carly joins a distinguished list of major artists to perform the national anthem at the Kentucky Derby. Past artists who have performed include Brittney Spencer (2022), Tori Kelly (2021), Jennifer Nettles (2019), Pentatonix (2018), Harry Connick, Jr. (2017), Lady A (2016), Josh Groban (2015), Jo Dee Messina (2014), Martina McBride (2013), and Mary J. Blige (2012).