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Lady Gaga is opening up about singing the national anthem at President Joe Biden's inauguration

By Jeff Nelson
February 04, 2021 11:50 AM
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Lady Gaga performs the National Anthem during the inauguration of Joe Biden as US President in Washington, DC, USA, 20 January 2021
Lady Gaga
| Credit: Greg Nash/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Lady Gaga is opening up about her powerful national anthem performance at President Joe Biden's Jan. 20 Inauguration.

"It was the honor of my lifetime," the pop star and humanitarian, 34, tells PEOPLE.

President Biden was sworn into office as the coronavirus death count surpassed 400,000 — and just two weeks after a violent, pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol in a deadly riot.

"I wish to send an extended prayer out to all the people that live on this land, that you will feel whole, that you will feel loved, that we all work in the interest of building the beloved community together," Gaga adds of performing "The Star-Spangled Banner" during such a divisive time in American history.

lady gaga
Lady Gaga
| Credit: Win McNamee/Getty

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The star singer a similar sentiment on social media the day before her performance.

"I pray tomorrow will be a day of peace for all Americans. A day for love, not hatred. A day for acceptance not fear. A day for dreaming of our future joy as a country. A dream that is non-violent, a dream that provides safety for our souls. Love, from the Capitol," she posted on Instagram at the time.

Gaga and Biden have a history of working together. In 2017, they teamed up for a PSA advocating for sexual assault survivors. And last November, she campaigned for the then-Democratic Presidential nominee at his final rally in Pittsburgh.

Gaga's smash 2020 album Chromatica is nominated for two Grammys this year. But the star has spent much of the pandemic focused on COVID-19 relief rather than album promotion. Last spring, she and Global Citizen raised more than $127 million with the One World: Together at Home concert to support health care workers.

And now the Grammy and Oscar winner has partnered with the International WELL Building Institute to promote the WELL Health-Safety Seal, which verifies that buildings have taken the necessary steps to prioritize the health and safety of visitors during the coronavirus crisis.

"The WELL Health-Safety Rating and the WELL Health-Safety Seal being put on doors and windows when entering buildings is going to really make it possible for us to get back to life the way that we need to," she says.

And while Gaga hopes to return to some semblance of normal eventually, right now she is focused on helping essential workers and small businesses.

"I think about places like Yankee Stadium re-opening and how wonderful it will be for fans to be able to go and see their favorite teams, to go see their favorite artists perform. We'll be able to do lots of things," she says. "But what I'm looking forward to most is making sure that people get back the work that they've rightfully earned to have in their lives, and make sure that they can go back to work, earn their money, and be able to take care of their families without this deep suffering that they're all experiencing."

For more on Lady Gaga, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.