The Five Question Challenge with Lee Greenwood

Lee Greenwood God Bless The USA

Ahead of the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, Grammy-winning singer Lee Greenwood dropped by “Jake’s Take” to take “The Five Question Challenge.” (Photo courtesy of Webster Public Relations)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

It is beyond an honor and a thrill to have Lee Greenwood visit Jake’s Take.

Since he began his legendary career back in 1962, Mr. Greenwood released 30 albums, had seven #1 hits and 25 charted songs including “She’s Lyin’,” “Going Going Gone,” “Somebody’s Gonna Love You” and his duet with Barbara Mandrell: “To Me.”

However, one of the greatest songs that Mr. Greenwood contributed to American culture was the patriotic “God Bless the USA.” Since its release on May 21, 1984, the inspirational track has become an unofficial anthem for the United States, has been covered by artists ranging from Beyoncé to American Idol finalists and even been the basis of a highly successful children’s book: Proud to Be An American.

In this edition of The Five Question Challenge, the Grammy award-winning artist opened up about “God Bless The USA’s” impact on American culture and his thoughts on the ever-changing music industry.

Jacob Elyachar: 33 years ago, you released “God Bless The USA.” What was the inspiration behind the track?

Lee Greenwood: I have always been inspired by people who juggled their private lives with public service. It is the hardest thing I do as well. In writing “God Bless the USA,” I felt the need to express my gratitude for being born in the United States. Being born in the USA, gave me the right to travel freely from state to state and earn a living in a profession I chose without having somebody telling me I could not do it. Our defense forces that have paid for it in blood also guarantee my freedom. I wrote USA to inspire others—and it has.

JE: How has the song evolved as the unofficial anthem for the United States over the years?

LG: “God Bless the USA” has had an amazing ride since I first wrote it in 1983. It was just an album cut on the 1984 record, You Got a Good Love Comin’. In the mid-1980s, several things happened that pushed the song in front of the public. First was the 1984 election of President Reagan. Next, the US Armed Forces adapted the song as part of its Spirit de Corps. I toured over 300 days a year as well and it was requested every night everywhere in the country. We did six USO tours during that period which also bonded my career with the military. Finally, there was 9-11 and Katrina. Every event that required something to bolster American pride, there was a call for “God Bless the USA” and for me to sing it live. It continues today and I do not see it stopping anytime in the future.

 

Lee Greenwood Proud to Be An American

Illustrator Amanda Sekulow beautifully brought Lee Greenwood’s patriotic anthem to life in their children’s book: “Proud to Be An American.” (Photo property of Clovercroft Publishing & courtesy of the Webster Media Group)

JE: What were some of the challenges that you faced creating your book: “Proud to Be An American”? How did you overcome them?

LG: There really were not any challenges to the release of the new children’s illustrated book: Proud to Be An American. The only difficult decisions were who to partner with for the illustrations and when would be the best time to release the book.

JE: In your opinion, how has the music industry evolved over the years? Did it change for the better or the worse?

LG: With the emergence of so many new and talented artists, I feel the music is as good as it ever was. Our lives move along at a much faster pace now and all music formats reflect that motion. Country has evolved with greater rhythm and a blend of Pop, R&B and even Rap. However, each format has remained true to its roots and the instruments that are identified with it.

JE: If you had the chance to meet with aspiring musicians who want to have a career in the entertainment industry?

LG: If I would advise any new musicians or singers about today’s music industry, I would tell them the same thing I am telling my son, Parker, who has recently declared an interest in making music his life. Follow your passion, be true to your art, ignore the completion and never compromise when striving for greatness.

To learn more about Mr. Greenwood, visit his website!

You can also connect with Mr. Greenwood on social media by visiting his Facebook & Twitter pages.

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