1 of 7 | Super Bowl halftime show performer Usher speaks at a news conference Thursday at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
LAS VEGAS, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Multi-genre music legend Usher says his upcoming performance at the Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII halftime show will be "a new beginning" for his career.
Usher made the comments during a news conference held Thursday at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The 45-year-old will perform Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.
"I don't have this moment myself," Usher said. "All the fans that are praying with me, each and every person that had anything to do with the music, the creativity. Everybody is part of this celebratory moment."
Usher, who will be the first independent artist to perform at a halftime show, said it was a challenge to squeeze his 30-year discography into a 13-minute performance. He plans to showcase his past, present and future for the 65,000 fans in attendance and millions watching worldwide.
Usher, who won't be paid for the performance, is set to release his new Coming Home album on Friday. His performance Sunday will likely boost his music streaming statistics and concert ticket sales.
"I will be up until this day the only independent artist who has ever performed the Super Bowl halftime show," Usher said.
"So this is the beginning. This is a new beginning for me."
Usher last performed at a Super Bowl in 2011. He said that cameo appearance alongside the Black Eyed Peas drove his desire to one day be the headline performer. The "Confessions" and "You Make Me Wanna" singer did not reveal who could make cameos during his halftime show.
"There have been these fantasy lists that have been going out," Usher said. "People are trying to figure out which songs I'm going to perform first, middle and last, who is going to come on the stage with me.
"What I did is, I was very mindful of my past, celebrating my present and thinking about where we are headed in the future."
Pregame performers Reba McEntire, Post Malone and Andra Day also spoke Thursday in Las Vegas. McEntire will sing the national anthem. Malone will sing "America the Beautiful." Day will perform "Lift Every Voice and Sing." Three sign language interpreters will work alongside each performer.
"I love Las Vegas," McEntire said. "My first time here was in 1983 with the Statler Brothers, when I opened for them at the MGM Grand.
"To come back now, the first time that the Super Bowl has been in Las Vegas. This is a first for a lot of things and I'm just tickled to pieces to be a part of it."
Malone said it is a "nerve-wracking" experience to prepare for the performance.
"I'm very nervous, but excited," Malone said. "I don't know. It's just fun. It's super epic to be able to go out there and sing a song so many beautiful artists have sang before on this stage. I'm just gonna do my best and give it what I've got."
Day said she is also "super nervous," but will try to "honor the moment" with her performance of the song, which is traditionally known as the Black national anthem.
"More than anything, it's an honor," Day said of being chosen to sing "Lift Every Voice and Sing."
"It's exciting and it feels intentional. I like to do things with intention and with purpose. ... It's a hymn of triumph. That's what I want people to encounter when I sing this song. I want them to know that we have victory and we have peace already."
Super Bowl LVIII will kick off at 3:30 p.m. local time and 6:30 p.m. EST Sunday at Allegiant Stadium. The game will air on CBS.
Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association, Lloyd Howell (L) and NFLPA President JC Tretter (R) stand with Vice President Calais Campbell as he receives the Alan Page Community Award at the NFLPA press conference leading up to Super Bowl LVIII at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas on February 7, 2024. The San Francisco 49ers will play the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on February 11, 2024. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo