Retired sheriff's deputy Ezra Harris of Chattanooga, Tenn. gained national headlines after a YouTube video of his mangled rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at a memorial service went viral and gained over 1.3 million views as "worst rendition of the national anthem ever."
Recently, Harris got a second chance of sorts and some backup. The vocal support came from the Stellar Award nominated urban inspirational music ensemble J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise. The group stopped by the New York studios of ABC's "Good Morning America" for a special makeover week music segment.
Producers of the No. 1 rated morning show decided to give Harris a chance to redo the anthem during its "do over" week makeovers this past week. Staffers called in J.J. Hairston and country music star Dierks Bentley to individually coach Harris on how to sing the song and to memorize the lyrics.
Standing in front of a colored guard with Hairston conducting and Youthful Praise backing him up, Harris delivered a much more satisfying performance this time.
Hairston and his choir, affectionately known as YP, have been popping up in the media a lot lately. Members of the group recently performed with Miss Piggy on a Lady Gaga holiday TV special and Hairston will also perform on the upcoming primetime "Celebration of Gospel" BET TV special.
The choir's energetic new radio single "Pushing Me" is slated to hit gospel radio formats this spring. Meanwhile, Hairston is putting the final touches on the group's seventh CD "I See Victory" that is scheduled for release on August 5th.