Northwest Florida country musician Casey Kearney goes viral singing at Atlanta Braves game
In 2020, Casey Kearney performed the national anthem for an Atlanta Braves game; she just had to prop her phone against a mac and cheese box to film it.
You know, COVID-19 stuff.
This year, though, the Northwest Florida country singer was invited to Truist Park on May 8 to sing “God Bless America” at the seventh inning stretch when the Braves played the Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves won.
Kearney’s performance won, too. She not only garnered a strong live audience reaction, but also captured a virtual audience with a video that racked up 579,000 views on Facebook.
“I think that everybody was responding to the patriotic moment,” Kearney said. “I think it truly was America just really wanting that moment. They were together; they were unmasked; they were just having fun; and they were experiencing a patriotic moment of saying, ‘God bless America, and we're just happy to be here.’ With the comments and the shares, that seemed to be what resonated with everyone.”
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Kearney recently performed at the first Moon Crush festival in Miramar Beach on a lineup with many famous musicians such as Sheryl Crow, and opened for Deana Carter on Thursday at the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation in Destin. She will return to the Braves’ stadium to perform the national anthem before the game against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 18.
Performing at the Braves’ stadium is special for Kearney; she is a lifelong fan.
“I had a poster of Javy Lopez on my wall when I was a teenager,” Kearney said. “He was a catcher in the '90s. They've just always been my team. My husband was a Braves fan, so when I married him that was fun.”
Kearney contacted the team multiple times about performing at a game, but didn’t hear back until she sent a video of her singing the national anthem at an event in Las Vegas. She was excited that they played her homemade video at one of the 2020 games, but even more so when they invited her back in 2021.
That she gets to perform twice this year was a matter of luck.
“They needed to change my national anthem date,” Kearney said. “When they changed my national anthem date, I said, ‘Well, I still have some shows already scheduled up there, so I’ll be up there.’ So she was like, ‘Well, do you want to do ‘God Bless America’?”
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Kearney was nervous the days leading up to it.
“(On) the drive up there, I would have these panic moments like, ‘Oh, my gosh, what am I doing?’ ” she said. “But that day, when I woke up Saturday morning, I was fine. I wasn't nervous.”
She sang to her biggest crowd yet of 39,800 people. It was only the stadium’s second day being able to hold 100% of its capacity.
The audience reacted.
“As soon as I finished and I walked down the tunnel, the girl helping said, ‘I had to come up here and see what was going on. The crowd doesn't usually react like this,’ ” Kearney said. “She's like, ‘They don't ever respond like that,’ because they started cheering in the middle of the song.”
As Kearney climbed the stairs, the audience continued clapping for her.
When she first posted the video singing it; it received a response on par with that of her other videos. While on her way to a gig the following Tuesday night, she saw it had reached 8,000 views.
“I came out from my show at nine o'clock; it was at 46,000, and I was like, ‘What in the world is happening?’” Kearney said. “By the time I get home, it was at like 75,000. By the time I went to bed, it was 100,000. I don't know what happened. I have no idea how or why.”
She was glad it did. The video was filmed modestly on a cellphone with no editing. And the performance had obstacles. Kearney had to be “laser focused” on the song, she said.
“It was challenging, because I have not experienced that lag time delay in a stadium of that size,” Kearney said. “You have to wear earplugs and you can't really hear yourself. And so you have to really make sure that you're really focused on everything to make sure you get it right. So I was with dealing with all the elements for the first time. I was happy it went as well as it did.”
Kearney hopes the video will draw people to her original music. She is currently filming a music video for her song “Red Tide Sky.”
“The vision for this one is really cool,” Kearney said.
Learn more about Casey Kearney at CaseyKearney.com, Facebook.com/CaseyKearneyMusic or Instagram.com/CaseyKearneyMusic. Her music is available on all streaming platforms and videos are available on the Casey Kearney YouTube channel.