Martina McBride made history Friday (Oct. 14) night: The first artist to perform atop the Empire State Building, the country singer said it was an honor.
“It’s something I never dreamed of. It’s just really humbling to think that I’m performing on top of this iconic, world-famous building,” McBride told Billboard.com before the show.
In partnership with Stanford Women’s Cancer Center, McBride’s 30-minute NYC set included her powerful new single, “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” a song about a woman battling breast cancer. She went on to explain the importance of singing it to a room of breast cancer survivors.
“I think it’s going to be one of the most memorable moments of my career,” she said. “It’s so powerful to be among these strong, courageous women and sing a song that means so much to me and I’ve been told means a lot to survivors as well. You can never really judge what impact a song is going to have, but I just felt in my heart that it would make a difference to someone. I felt like it would lift someone up, give someone hope and that’s why I did it. That’s what music should do.”
The private show followed McBride’s lighting the Empire State Building pink, an ode to breast cancer awareness. Shortly before 10 p.m., the country singer took the stage and performed “One Night,” the first track off her eleventh studio album, “Eleven.” Released Tuesday (Oct. 11), McBride said the album differs from past records because she took the time to focus and write, penning six of the eleven tracks off “Eleven.”
The fun, laid-back “Always Be This Way” was written over “some good Mexican food,” she told the audience. “I wanted to write a song that you could play ukulele on. That was pretty much the criteria for it,” she said. Her eased vocals and steady percussion captivated.
The sassy “Whatcha Gonna Do” followed suit with poignant pedal steel accompaniment, while the sexy “You Can Get Your Lovin’ Right Here” switched gears with McBride’s sultry singing style and a striking electric guitar solo.
“It became not just about promoting an album — it became something bigger, which was raising breast cancer awareness and I was so thrilled that we were able to do that,” McBride explained while introducing “I’m Gonna Love You Through It.” “This event tonight, partnering with the Stanford Women’s Cancer Center, and having you all here atop the Empire State Building, it doesn’t get any better than this.”
After she concluded the emotive track with a dedication “to all the breast cancer survivors out there and everyone here tonight,” fans screamed for an encore. McBride re-entered with an impressive cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin.'”
Ending the night on a positive note, McBride reflected on the power of music.
“Music should do a lot of things,” she said. “Sometimes we just want to have fun, but it’s also important to sing about real life.”