High School Wrestler Steps Up to Sing National Anthem When No One Else Can
A 17-year-old high school junior has belted his way into the hearts of thousands after he stepped to the mic at a wrestling match and sang the national anthem.
A 17-year-old high school junior has belted his way into the hearts of thousands after he stepped to the mic at a wrestling match and sang the national anthem when no one else could.
Isaac Bryant, who loves Hank Williams and his small Ohio town, became a social media sensation when video recently surfaced of him confidently, and proudly, singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" to open a district championship meet.
The footage, taken by local poster Mia Richardson, has been seen more than 600,000 times and sparked an outpouring of affection from viewers who were heartened by the young man's sense of duty and patriotism.
"That was awesome!" wrote one Facebook user. "Very well done, young man!" Another enthused, "Holy cow!!!"
Bryant has become famous, which is more than a little embarrassing to the polite, soft-spoken teen from a village in the heartland of Ohio.
"It is very, very strange to me," Bryant told InsideEdition.com from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where he is on a school trip with his choir. "All this attention is very strange to me."
At least a half-dozen people have approached him at the amusement park, asking if he is a wrestler and if he is the kid who sang the national anthem a cappella at a wrestling match.
"Hey, honey!" one tourist from New York yelled to his wife. "It's that wrestler!"
Bryant said he had been sleeping as the match was about to start when one of his buddies shook him awake. An adult was on the public address system, asking if anyone knew how to sing the national anthem. Someone had set up a cellphone to play the Francis Scott Key tune with its dizzying array of big words and bigger vocal range, but the connection had broken.
Bryant's friend said, "You sing." And so, a little dazed, the teen stood up, walked to the microphone and sang the national anthem in a booming baritone.
Coaches and contestants stood with hands over hearts. At the end, the crowd went nuts, and Bryant quickly and humbly handed over the microphone.
He'd sung "The Star-Spangled Banner" with the choir at Mechanicsburg High School, but he'd never performed it solo outside of the shower.
So why sing it cold, with no accompaniment, before an audience?
"I'm an American," he said simply. "Anything I can do to help America and not worry about myself for a little bit ... is the right thing to do."
He means that with all of his young heart.
He started singing in the eighth grade, he said. His grandpa and his mother sang at church. He loves the music of Hank Williams, the jug-eared Alabama country music legend who recorded 35 singles before he died at age 29 en route to a concert, ravaged by years of alcoholism and drug abuse.
Bryant says "Lovesick Blues" is his favorite Williams tune, though he has performed many of them, with a guitar strapped to his shoulders and cowboy hat tipped back on his head.
Music is the love of his life. He hopes to make a living at it one day. Next week, he will travel to Washington, D.C., to sing before an audience of Medal of Honor recipients. He was invited to perform after his video went viral, his mother said.
He and his grandpa are trying to come up with plan to sing bluegrass music at Kentucky's Renfro Valley, an entertainment center where stars such as Williams, Hank Snow and Red Foley played in their younger years.
That's about as far as he's gotten in strategizing his career in music.
"I don't really have a plan at the moment," he said sheepishly. He just knows he wants to play music more than anything else.
He also likes having fun. His newfound fame has put a bit of a damper on that, though.
He's pulled a baseball cap low on his head and is trying to not attract attention as he and his buddies roam Disney World in search of teenage adventures.
'I've been trying to hide, so I can enjoy this with my friends," he said.
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