Allstate Sugar Bowl 2021 – National Anthem
This certainly won’t be Amanda Shaw’s first rodeo. Or, better put, first crack at the national anthem. The Louisiana native, who turned – if you can believe it – 30 earlier this year, is an old pro at performing our country’s national anthem.
So when the beloved local fiddle-player and singer brings her famous and iconic Cajun/country style for this year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl national anthem performance, it’ll be old hat for an entertainer who is known for her unique talent. In fact, it will have already happened.
As with most of life during the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Sugar Bowl has had to make many adjustments for this year’s game. Included in that is the national anthem. Shaw had to prerecord her performance. But expect the same energy she always brings when on stage.
“I’ve performed the national anthem quite a bit,’’ said Shaw, whose been in the music entertainment business since she was 10. “I’ve done it at NBA games, the (New Orleans) Hornets and then the (New Orleans) Pelicans. But as a girl who grew up in Louisiana, to go out in the middle of the green field of the Superdome for a Saints game is amazing. There’s nothing more exhilarating than to have all those people come together and cheer at the end of the song. It’s so intense; it’s hard to put into words.”
Shaw said it will be a bit strange to pre-record the anthem, but she looks forward to the challenge of gearing up the crowd for the kickoff in this new format.
“It’s fun when life presents new challenges, so we’ll see how it goes,’’ Shaw said. “But no matter what, I’m truly honored to have the opportunity to perform the anthem at the Sugar Bowl.”
Music has been engrained into Shaw’s world for as long as she can remember. That exposure greatly paid off as she has carved out her place in Cajun culture and has become one of the most recognizable brands in Louisiana music. From national appearances on the Rosie O’Donnell Show, to once-in-a-lifetime performances with Cyndi Lauper, her magnetic presence has helped her build an extraordinary following of fans and supporters.
Younger fans look up to Shaw because of her extraordinary fiddling skills and sassy sense of style while older fans respect her strong work ethic and sincere sensibility. Audiences of all ages agree that Shaw’s musical talent and appealing personality give her a special flair and make her an incredible representative of Louisiana’s melting pot of music.
“I don’t know if I consider myself a leader in the New Orleans music scene,” Shaw said. “There are so many amazing performers in New Orleans. I’m just a girl with my fiddle. I will say this much; there are incredible roots and soil here. It fuels so many other genres and people from all over. I’m proud to be part of this scene.”
Shaw’s award-winning music and high-energy performances with her band, The Cute Guys, produces a unique balance of mainstream harmonies with grassroots charm. She continues to master her technique by putting a personal Louisiana twist on performances at festivals and events around the world – locally, regionally and internationally.
While the coronavirus pandemic has severely limited not just her own live performances but all live music, she has faith in the power of New Orleans music.
“The only thing you can do is be hopeful,” she said. “Music will happen again. Music is ingrained in our culture, nothing will ever take it away from us. Just like with Katrina, when you have something great, that greatness will come back and persevere through anything. We have to have faith.”
Shaw released her sixth album in 2020, titled Joie. It is her first traditional Cajun recording and it celebrates the rich history of Cajun culture infused through her roots in authentic Louisiana music.
“I knew I wanted to call it ‘Joie,’ which is French for joy,” she told Nola.com. “Little did I know that 2020 was going to be an interesting time to have a record called ‘Joie.’ But I don’t regret it at all. I feel like everyone could use a little joy.”
In addition to her music, Shaw has established the Amanda Shaw Foundation, an organization dedicated to serving and supporting local families in the community. The foundation supports efforts to build, sustain and empower strong Louisiana families through music, food and culture.
But music remains her focus. Like her legions of fans, she can’t wait until she can return to the stage, performing at events like French Quarter Festival, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the rest of the amazing music festivals in the New Orleans region.