R&B legend Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds is happy his Super Bowl performance is over — sort of.
“I feel relieved — now I can breathe,” he told The Hollywood Reporter outside his suite following his moment on the field Sunday. “Before it was moments of nervousness and then I’d be chill and then I’d get a little nervous again. Right before they introduced me [I was like], ‘Oh shit, there it is.’ I just have to be chill and just try to concentrate on the song.”
“You know the words, but it’s a different kind of song. It’s not something that you sing every day and you’re on the spot,” he added of singing “America the Beautiful” at the State Farm Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
“If you go wrong in this, you go wrong forever. I’m thankful that we made it through it good,” he said.
Babyface strummed a custom-made guitar featuring the American flag during the performance.
The singer/songwriter/producer has won 11 Grammys, written all of his own hits and also written for Beyoncé, Toni Braxton, Boyz II Men, Ariana Grande, Mary J. Blige, TLC, Mariah Carey, Usher and Whitney Houston, whose 11-year death anniversary was Saturday.
“I can only say that Whitney was always fun. She was silly and that was the relationship that we had when we were in the studio. We always had fun with each other,” he recalled.
Babyface is still penning hits today: He recently co-wrote the track “Snooze” on SZA’s critically acclaimed album SOS, which is spending its eighth week at No. 1 on Billboard’s 200 albums chart.
“SZA is great. We worked on two songs, actually. Hopefully one day she’ll let us put out that other song, but she’s amazing,” he said. “I don’t know any artist that’s like her, male or female. She is truly one of the best that I’ve ever written with.”
The 64-year-old debuted in the R&B group The Deele, who released their debut album 40 years ago. He said he’s happy to still have a career strong enough to bring him to the Super Bowl.
“I just find it interesting that I’m here at this event doing this. I didn’t see this coming and so it’s such an honor to be here,” he said. “I was honored that Roc Nation and Jay-Z thought I was worthy of doing it. It’s great.”
Watch SZA’s “Snooze” lyric video below.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.