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Maren Morris rocks anthem at Gillette Stadium

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Photo by Dwight Darian 

The Patriots celebration of Super Bowl LI brought some big names to Foxborough on Thursday night. It was an exciting night for everyone that was in the stands and watching from home, but it was especially thrilling for those participating in the pregame ceremony in which the Patriots fifth Super Bowl banner was revealed. 

For Grammy Award winning country artist Maren Morris, the opportunity to perform the national anthem during the ceremony was the perfect ending to an already crazy week. On Monday, Maren was nominated for three CMA Awards -- Female Vocalist of the Year, Music Video of the Year and Musical Event of the Year. On Thursday night, she was in Foxborough, belting out the anthem for the first time at an NFL stadium. 

With the success of her major label debut album "Hero," which featured hit songs like "My Church and "80s Mercedes," it's been a whirlwind. She is wrapping up a tour with Sam Hunt before kicking off a tour of her own in October, yet a moment like singing out the Patriots game still managed to give the singer butterflies. 

Lifestyle sat down with Maren before rehearsal on Wednesday night to talk CMAs, football and advice from Thomas Rhett. 

Lifestyle: You've had a big week, being nominated for three CMAs. What was your reaction when you got the news?
Maren Morris: It was obviously such an honor. Being nominated in Female Vocalist, I think that's always been my true passion is just being able to sing. Being honored as a vocalist, especially in the ranks of Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire and Kelsea Ballerini, it's just a very cool thing. I just can't wait for that night. And I felt so proud for my bro Thomas Rhett for our "Craving You" video and event of the year. All the nominations are really humbling and it's just going to be a really fun reunion that night.

L: Speaking of Thomas Rhett, he was just here with Kenny Chesney. Did you talk to him at all before coming here? Gillette Stadium is a special place for Kenny.
MM: I can see why. I did talk to Thomas yesterday about this opportunity actually. He's so supportive, and I think he's so into the "home team." He's got that whole mantra with his touring home team, and I was just asking him what his take on everything was when he comes and does events like this. This is next level for me. He was just like, "Don't be nervous. Just do what you do, and you're going to do great. It'll be the best time."

L: Have you ever sang the anthem at an NFL game before?
MM: No, not at an NFL stadium. I've done it at some Texas Rangers games and Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR events, but I've never done a football game, and this is like *the *football game to do it at.

L: What were you thinking when you got the phone call to sing at this game?
MM: I was just wondering if they had the right person. I was really excited. I think this game, except for the Super Bowl, is the best game to do it at. This is an incredible time to be in Boston. The first game back after winning, it's just going to be a very special evening. I'm just so honored that the Pats invited me to come and do this, and I'm excited to help represent them and also the NFL.

L: Are you a football fan yourself?
MM: I always follow the Texas teams, definitely the Dallas Cowboys. I obviously didn't play football or anything growing up, but it's sort of in your blood, especially when you live in Texas. All of my boyfriends in high school and my cousins, they all played football. I think pride-wise, I have to rep for the Texas teams. Now I live in Nashville so the Tennessee Titans, but I still haven't been to a game so I feel like a bad Nashvillian.

L: There is going to be quite a show here Thursday night. What does it mean to be a part of this moment?
MM: It's very rare that you get to do something so patriotic. I think this is one of the coolest, most American things you can do. To sing the anthem not only to the tens of thousands of people that are going to be in the stands tomorrow night but also everyone home watching, just to have that minute and 30 seconds to really sing a song that I've sung since I was a little girl, it's never really meant more to me.

L: Any nerves?
MM: Oh, yeah. It's kind of nice to be here a day early just so I can see what it looks like without people in it. I can just slow down my breathing and just focus on the meaning behind the words, but there are always butterflies – this time especially.

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