Country Music Icon Lee Greenwood is one of the headlining acts to perform at the former presidents’ concert “Deep from the Heart: The One America Appeal”. On October 21, 2017, in College Station, Texas, this relief concert sponsored by the five living former presidents will benefit hurricane recovery efforts for Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma in Florida, and in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from Hurricane Maria. Lee Greenwood has won multiple awards, including a Grammy in 1985 for Top Male Vocal Performance on “I.O.U.”, numerous CMA and ACM awards. He has twenty-eight studio albums and 7 hit singles, including “God Bless The USA”, “ It Turns Me Inside Out“,” “Ring on Her Finger Time on Her Hand,” to name a few. He is also a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s National Patriot’s Award.
The Hype Magazine had the opportunity to speak with Country Music Star Lee Greenwood about his upcoming performance. Lee shares what fans can expect during this historical event, what it means to him as a performer to have this opportunity and how he began his career as a country singer.
How were you selected to participate in the hurricane relief concert?
My public relations company received the request from the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation. I reviewed the participants and found out that they were the five past presidents. I said yes without any hesitation, and it is my understanding that they wanted me to perform “God Bless The USA.” I was not aware that I would be emceeing the event until about a week later as “I’m a personal touch as an entertainer and I have had the opportunity to perform this song in this kind of setting before with the Ronald Reagan Library Foundation. That event featured five presidents (Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon B. Johnson.
It will be a very interesting event and certainly anything I can do to help with the hurricane relief efforts, which was originally just for the victims in Houston. Then Florida and Puerto Rico happened, which was devastating, and the relief efforts expanded to help all the individuals in need. I was fortunate to watch the game last week featuring the Houston Texans and JJ Watt, a local hero. He was injured during the game and was taken to the hospital and I hope this injury does not end his career. He is an individual that is beloved in Houston. Watching the audience stand up for him, number 99 will always be remembered for his efforts with the hurricane relief fund. His original goal was “$200,000” and now it is over $37 million. So, this fundraiser featuring five presidents following JJ Watt’s contributions may be the largest fundraiser in the history of this country. This is a great opportunity to be involved in this prestigious event with the President George H. W. Bush Library Foundation.
What can the individuals in the audience expect from your performance at Texas A&M on October 21, 2017, during the relief concert?
The only surprise with this rendition which is different during my performance of “God Bless The USA” is that the Texas A&M Cadets may be a part of the show. It has not been confirmed yet, but this would be a wonderful tribute to the university.
The Relief concert will feature the five living former presidents, as a performer what does that mean to you?
Every time I get the opportunity to perform for anyone that has sat in the oval office, I’m reminded that this individual, whether he is there for four or eight years is still a citizen of the United States. In addition, they are all concerned about this country. Each one of them I have met in the past, but to know that these patriots are human beings and not robots is a wonderful thing to see.
Were you formally trained in music?
Not really, but I was fortunate enough to have an excellent high school music teacher and I had three or four classes. I went to school in North Sacramento and then a year in Anaheim, California and my music teacher made sure that I was equipped and prepared. I received a scholarship to attend college, but I elected to move to Las Vegas at the age of 17 to begin my career as an entertainer. I achieved success, but it took me 20 years to get national success. So, without formal training, I learned along the way. I have a son that is currently attending Texas Christian University and is a theater and a musical comprehension writer. He is also a Chancellor Scholar and he is living the dream. He will follow in my footsteps, but not as a commercial artist. Parker, Greenwood might pursue a career on Broadway or go the film route. We will have to wait and see, but he has elected to attend college to receive the proper training.
Several well-known artists have crossed over into pop culture music. Have you ever participated in such a project and if not, would you consider it?
We had several songs that have crossed over into pop culture like “I Owe You” which was our first Grammy winner, “Wind Beneath My Wings” which was made in England rather than in America because I was the first artist to record it. Finally, “God Bless The USA” is nationally known. So, to have that crossover into pop culture gives your career longevity beyond the format that you recorded, but I am happy to be a country artist and without moving anywhere I am content with my career path.