Rachel Platten had every singer’s nightmare become a reality when she forgot the words to the national anthem at a sports event on Saturday.
The 36-year-old singer, best known for her 2014 single “Fight Song,” restarted her performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” twice at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, minutes before the NWSL soccer game between the Utah Royals and the Chicago Red Stars.
Two days after her national anthem fumble, Platten tells PEOPLE exclusively what happened in the moments leading up to the performance and how she felt immediately after.
“I feel really embarrassed, honestly. I’m having a hard time forgiving myself but I’m working on it. It was incredibly, incredibly embarrassing,” Platten, who released her latest album Waves last fall, says. “I’ve been trying to retrace steps of what happened … it has just been hanging over me,” the pop songwriter admits.
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“I was so nervous going into it. The anthem is such a big deal; it’s probably the most important song for our country. I always get nervous because it means so much, because it is so powerful. I always want to do it justice, do a good job and give people the exact version they expect and they want,” says Platten, who previously sang the national anthem before Game 1 of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians.
“I have done it a bunch of times but I stepped in front of the people and I felt the expectation. I was ready to open up and do it and my mind just went blank,” she shares. “I was trying to explain it to my husband : It was like a test that you know all the material to, you study so much and you get in there and your mind just goes blank; it doesn’t cooperate.”
While breaking down, an emotional Platten recalls how she felt after completing the national anthem on the third try.
“I was proud that I was able to finish … I actually can’t believe I didn’t forget more words and that I was able to complete the song. So I’m kind of shocked,” she says while fighting back tears, even remembering telling herself: ” ‘What I’m not going to do is run away. I really want to run out of the stadium right now but I’m not going to do that. I’m going to finish this song.’”
Platten, who performed a previously scheduled concert for attendees after the soccer game concluded, shares that she had an hour and a half to kill between gigs, most of which she spent overcome with emotions.
“I went back to the stadium and it all just came rushing at me, what I had done and not delivering what people were owed. My band was really kind. I was just sobbing,” she says looking back.
“My husband was so sweet, saying, ‘Rach you know people mess up all the time in …read more