Belmont University Students Back Ed Sheeran During Elvis NBC Special

Ed Sheeran with Belmont University students

Several students from Belmont University’s School of Music recently made an appearance on NBC, providing background vocals for Ed Sheeran during the Elvis All-Star Tribute that aired Sunday (Feb. 17).

Belmont University Associate Professor of Music Dr. Jeffery Ames, who led the students during the performance, received a message from Pat McMakin, director of Ocean Way Nashville Recording Studios (which is owned by Belmont), that Sheeran’s team was looking to assemble an ensemble to contribute background vocals on a song the artist was recording.

Ames contacted 16 School of Music vocalists, both undergraduate and graduate students, and wrote the arrangement. The group rehearsed three times before taping a version of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” with Sheeran at Ocean Way last fall.

“Now that it’s aired, I had no idea of the magnitude and scope this production would have,” said Ames. “It truly was an opportunity to allow Belmont to shine on a national platform. In addition, it was a tremendous learning experience for all of the students involved, allowing them to record professionally in the studio with a highly skilled and popular artist.”

The national broadcast of the recording occurred last night as part of the Elvis All-Star Tribute. The two-hour program on NBC was roughly timed to mark 50 years since Presley’s historic ’68 Comeback Special, which resurrected the singer’s music career. The lineup for the performance included Sheeran, Kelsea Ballerini, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Darius Rucker, Little Big Town, Pistol Annies, Dierks Bentley, host Blake Shelton, John Fogerty, Jennifer Lopez, John Legend, Shawn Mendes and more.

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at jnicholson@musicrow.com.

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