A high school senior whose rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” has sent chills down spines from coast to coast said a recent video of him singing the anthem not only showcases his talent, but his patriotism.
“I’m an American, and I’m proud of my country,” Jackson Dean Nicholson, who performs under the name of Jackson Dean, said Saturday on “Fox & Friends Weekend.”
Nicholson attends Arundel High School in Gambrills, Maryland, where he plays defensive end for his high school football team. Recently, he sang the anthem with only his guitar accompanying him in a video that has been shared more than 175,000 times on YouTube.
Nicholson has been posting songs on YouTube for several years and plans to take his guitar on the road when he graduates form high school in January.
“We’ve got some things in the pocket that have been working that I can’t really talk about,” he said.
High school football player's national anthem wows internet
Jackson Dean reacts on 'Fox & Friends' to his pregame performance going viral. https://t.co/0DETqPtFvs
— William B. (@willbarrett_1) October 27, 2018
Nicholson said he adapted his name since “Jackson Nicholson” seemed a bit much and “Jack Nicholson” was taken, the Capital Gazette reported.
He said that growing up in a rural area around Odenton, Maryland, music was his most constant companion.
“Spent more time in the woods than with actual people,” he said. “I was always drawn to music.”
In fact, his enthralling anthem performance was one of his rare public singing appearances, and only the second time he had sung before a high school football game audience.
“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,” Nicholson said. “We knew we were going to videotape it, and I think I was more anxious about that.”
Despite having performed live in Baltimore and Nashville, this was something special, he said.
“But that was … it was something people don’t normally get,” Nicholson said. “It was very cool. 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.”
The success of the video has overwhelmed him.
“It’s definitely been a buzz and it’s kind of been crazy,” he told The Washington Post.
The high school senior noted that he adapted the anthem so that it fit what he could sing.
“I changed it so it fit me to where it would sound good,” he said. “I did it the way it allowed me room to sing.”
He said he’s ready for the transition that is rapidly approaching.
“This is my last year, then I’m done. I’ve got until January, I’ll have all my credits done, and I only have to be enrolled for this semester. I got a waive by my principal and she’s very supportive of what I do,” he said. “I’m going to go for it.”
Jack Walsh, his football coach, said the singer-athlete has a lot of people rooting for him.
“There’s life after football and a lot of our guys are starting to realize that as the season winds down,” Walsh said. “We’re all supportive of him taking the next step towards his future and his goals.”
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