Marc Anthony on singing 'God Bless America': 'If I'm not qualified, I don't know who is'
Marc Anthony may have just released his 11th studio album, but he's calling it "3.0," in part a clear reference to a reinvention of his public persona. The Grammy winner trotted that new, upgraded self onto the TODAY plaza Tuesday to rock out with a brand new salsa-flavored song, "Vivir Mi Vida" ("It's My Life") — and talk to Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie about the controversy that popped up over another tune he recently sang.
Marc Anthony performs hit ‘Vivir Mi Vida’Play Video
Scotty McCreery performs 'See You Tonight' on TODAY
Cast of 'The Color Purple' performs title number live on TODAY
Cast of Sara Bareilles' 'Waitress' performs on the TODAY plaza
All-4-One performs 'I Swear' on the TODAY plaza
"It's like a whole new and improved me," he joked about "3.0," noting it was a "little tongue-in-cheek" reference — and that someone else had taken "2.0" already.
But he was more serious in responding to Lauer's question about Anthony's performance at Major League Baseball's All-Star Game on July 16, where he sang "God Bless America" and surprisingly drew some criticism on Twitter and the Internet, with some non-fans who apparently didn't think he was "qualified" to sing that famous anthem.
"If I'm not qualified, I don't know who is," said Anthony. "I was born and raised in New York; I'm an American; I'm Puerto Rican. And for those who don't know, Puerto Rico is a territory of the US to start with.
"But if you think about it," he added astutely, "Irving Berlin was a Russian-Jewish immigrant who wrote 'God Bless America.' Just think about that for one second." (Berlin was born in modern-day Belarus, which at the time was part of the Russian Empire.)
Anthony didn't linger on the controversy, however; he was ready to get his music out. And even 11 albums in, he says he feels younger than ever. "I literally feel like I'm 18 all over again, and I have so much more to do!" he said.