Cynthia Erivo talks National Memorial Day Concert, Incredible Career

Pop Culture Weekly: Grammy, Tony & Emmy Award winner & two time Academy Award nominee Cynthia Erivo talks with Kyle McMahon about National Memorial Day Concert, Harriet, Bad Times at the El Royale & so much more.

Cynthia Erivo burst onto the scene in 2015 starring as Celie in the revival of The Color Purple on Broadway. It's been a whirlwind from there, winning a Grammy Award, a Tony Award, an Emmy Award and getting two nominations for the Academy Awards, where she also performed an original song in February. In just five years, Cynthia Erivo has made her mark as a powerhouse.

I sat down with Cynthia to discuss her incredible career, including her upcoming performance on the 2020 National Memorial Day Concert on PBS. The special, now in its 31st year, will look a bit different from years past due to the coronavirus pandemic. Erivo is performing two songs, broadcasting safely from her home. On the two songs, she says, "One for the heroes of COVID-19. Those who are working to make sure that we are well, saving lives everyday. Making sure that we're fed. All of those people. And the other for our heroes in general (in the military)".

Erivo feels honored to come back once again for the PBS special. She states, "It's a great honor to be included in that. As a British woman to be able to help celebrate that moment is quite special. Especially now that we're using Memorial Day to also celebrate people who are risking their lives right this second. That is really special to be able to say thank you that way."

Erivo's white hot run includes playing Harriet Tubman in the Oscar nominated film Harriet, starring along side Viola Davis and Liam Neeson in the thriller Widows, and my personal favorite - Darlene Sweet in the Neo-thriller Bad Times at the El Royale with Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Bridges, Tom Holland and Jon Hamm. And that's just the movies. On the TV side, she guest starred on American Idol, is on the Stephen King HBO series The Outsider and portrays Aretha Franklin in the upcoming series Genius on National Geographic.

We chatted about all of these career highlights and she even sings a line from Bad Times at the El Royale for me, as she recounts how many times she had to sing the song live (27 takes). You can check out my interview with Cynthia Erivo on the Facebook video above or watch it on YouTube.

PBS National Memorial Day Concert 2020 airs live Sunday May 24 at 8pm EST and simultaneously on PBS YouTube & the National Memorial Day Facebook page. It will be available on demand to view following the broadcast. You can listen to the special Memorial Day episode of Pop Culture Weekly including interviews with Joe Mantegna, Mary McCormack, Trace Adkins and Cynthia Erivo for full coverage.

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Check out Kyle Mcmahon and subscribe to the Pop Culture Weekly podcast. You can follow him on FacebookYouTube, Twitter, Rizzle and Instagram.

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