Tori Kelly to sing national anthem at Kentucky Derby

Tori Kelly

Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Tori Kelly will sing the national anthem at the 147th Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve on Saturday, May 1, 2021.

The announcement from Churchill Downs Racetrack occurs just as Tori is coming off of two collaborations with Justin Bieber. The powerhouse singer will perform The Star-Spangled Banner live at the Kentucky Derby. The performance will take place just after 5:00 p.m. EDT and be broadcast live as part of NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage.

“Tori Kelly is one of music’s most vibrant, versatile artists, and we look forward to her national anthem performance as we come together this year to celebrate the Kentucky Derby,” said Mike Anderson, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “We are excited to welcome Tori to Louisville to help us kick off the Run for the Roses on the first Saturday in May.”

Two-time Grammy Award-winning and platinum-selling Tori Kelly debuted with 2015’s breezy, soulful “Unbreakable Smile,” which entered the Billboard 200 at No. 2. In 2018, with her multi-octave range and emotional might, Tori took home two Grammys – Best Gospel Album and Best Gospel Performance/Song – for her passion project Hiding Place and the uplifting single “Never Alone.” Most recently, she released her fourth full-length album, A Tori Kelly Christmas, in October 2020.

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Tori is the eleventh major artist to perform the national anthem at the iconic horse race and first leg of the Triple Crown series. Past artists who have performed include Jennifer Nettles (2019), Pentatonix (2018), Harry Connick, Jr. (2017), Lady Antebellum (2016), Josh Groban (2015), Jo Dee Messina (2014), Martina McBride (2013) and Mary J. Blige (2012).