Jackson Dean Nicholson learned that there are more ways to wow a crowd on the football field than by scoring a touchdown or coming up with a big defensive stop. In fact, the Maryland teen did so when he performed his own country rendition of the national anthem before strapping on his helmet.
Nicholson, who is a senior at Arundel High School just outside of Baltimore, posted the video of his performance on YouTube and it has since received more than 330,000 views. Before it went viral, however, it impressed everyone under the Friday night lights.
“Oh, they went insane. They went insane. It was cool. The team had no idea that’s what it was going to be,” Nicholson told CBS News. “They weren’t expecting it to be that different and they didn’t know that I could sing.”
His team went on to win, but it was his time on stage, at the 50-yard line, that meant the most to him that night.
“A lot of kids that go here, their parents are active military. It was really an honor really to be able to go out there and do that for them,” he said.
Nicholson recorded his version of the national anthem, and just announced that he will be launching a fundraiser on Veterans Day in which all proceeds from downloads will go to a veterans’ charity.
Nicholson plans to pursue a music career after high school. According to his Facebook page, he began performing in small local establishments right after turning 14 years old. He describes his musical style as “a fusion of Americana, Old Country with a bit of Blues.”
He writes his own music, has multiple CDs out and dreams of performing at the Grand Ole Opry one day, like so many of his musical idols. Once football winds down and he has more free time, he plans to play at local venues before touring next summer.