Gregory Porter performed a cover of America the Beautiful ahead of NASA’s launch of the Mars Perseverance rover on Thursday.
The Grammy Award-winning jazz singer and songwriter joined the live webcast to perform the song from his living room in California, accompanied by solo piano.
It’s the first time that NASA has invited a recording artist to perform for a Mars mission launch.
“I feel honoured to be invited by NASA to perform before this historic launch,” Porter said. “I have always been inspired by space exploration ever since I was a boy, and it continues to fill me with awe when I look to the sky at night. It is wonderful to be part of this spectacular event and share in a collective moment of interplanetary adventure with millions around the world.”
You can watch the performance below.
A week earlier, Porter released Concorde, the latest single from his upcoming album All Rise. The upbeat, soulful ode to flight is accompanied by a space-themed music video starring Porter, dressed as an astronaut, and his young son Demyan.
Concorde is the fifth single from All Rise. Porter wrote the song aboard an airplane, and the opening lyrics reflect his fascination with flying: “With a million stars in the galaxy / When I’m floating with them it’s hard for me to see / I’m holding on to this dear Earth as it spins around with me.”
After an initial delay, All Rise will arrive Aug. 28 via Blue Note.
“With this environment of fear, I wanted to put out some music of comfort,” Porter said in an interview with JAZZ.FM91 last month. “I hope the joy, the optimism and the thoughtfulness is in the music.”
You can watch the music video for Concorde below.