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Friday, February 1, 2019

Super Bowl LIII Musical Performers

Written by Jon Williams

This coming weekend, the biggest American sporting event of the year will take place. Super Bowl LIII will determine the year’s NFL championship in a matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots. Beyond its implications for the sport, the Super Bowl has become a huge cultural event, with over a hundred million people likely to watch in North America. Even people who normally don’t follow football tune in—for the camaraderie of sharing the event with friends, for the innovative commercials that air during the broadcast, and, of course, for the halftime musical entertainment.

With such a wide audience, it’s no wonder that the halftime show is such a coveted slot for musicians. The featured performer this year will be multiplatinum rock band Maroon 5. They’ve been a fixture in the music scene since 2004, when singles like “This Love” and “Sunday Morning” propelled their debut album, Songs About Jane, to multiplatinum status. They’ve released five more studio albums since then, all of them selling over a million copies. Their most recent, Red Pill Blues, was released in 2017, driven by singles like “What Lovers Do” (featuring SZA) and “Girls Like You” (featuring Cardi B). Singer Adam Levine has also helped to keep the band in the spotlight by serving as a judge on the hit musical talent show The Voice since its inception in 2011.

Traditionally the Super Bowl halftime show is a collaborative affair, and this year is no different. One musician joining Maroon 5 for the festivities will be rapper Travis Scott. After several EPs and mixtapes, his debut album Rodeo was released in 2015 and went platinum on the strength of singles “3500” and Antidote, as well as guest appearances from stars like Kanye West, Justin Bieber, and the Weekend, to name just a few. He followed that up in 2016 with Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, another platinum outing. His newest album, Astroworld, was released in August of last year and is still a staple near the top of the Billboard albums chart. Scott is nominated for three awards at this year’s Grammys, which will take place a week after the Super Bowl.

Another musician joining Maroon 5 and Travis Scott onstage will be Big Boi, who hails from the Super Bowl’s host city of Atlanta. Along with Andre 3000 as the multiplatinum hip-hop duo Outkast, Big Boi came into the spotlight in the mid-1990s. The duo has released six albums together and won six Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Album and Album of the Year for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below in 2003. Since their last album together in 2006, Big Boi has focused on his solo career. His debut, Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, came out in 2010. He’s followed it up with two more albums, the most recent of which, Boomiverse, came out in 2017.

While the halftime show is the musical focal point of the Super Bowl, it’s also an enormous honour for a musician to get the opportunity to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the game kicks off. This year that honour goes to another Atlanta native, Gladys Knight. With a career dating back to the early 1960s, she is a true R&B/soul music legend, both with her band the Pips and on her own. Known for her early work, she has continued to record, with her most recent album, Where My Heart Belongs, coming in 2014.

With so many people watching the Super Bowl and its musical performances, patrons will no doubt be interested in hearing more from these incredible artists. Make sure to have plenty of their CDs on your shelves, and if your library is a hoopla Digital customer, don’t forget to direct your patrons there as well—they’ll find these artists and more, available with no holds, no waiting, and no late fees.