Former Belmont band Judah & the Lion will be stepping onto the national stage on the “Late Show with David Letterman” Friday night.
The band, which features alumni Judah Akers, Nate Zuercher and Brian MacDonald received the “amazing opportunity” after a fan presented their album to the show’s booking team.
“There was a lady on the David Letterman team who became a big fan of us, and she contacted us when we were coming through New York and says, ‘You’re on our radar and we would love to have you out,’” Akers said.
With the approval of the team, Judah & the Lion recorded a performance of “Kickin’ Da Leaves” on Thursday. Although they didn’t expect the opportunity to come this early in their career, the group was excited and anxious to strike out into the new territory of national television.
“I used to play college baseball, and waiting to go on, it felt like we were having to wait for the championship game,” Akers said.
Akers said that, while performing for a national audience is an exciting opportunity for the band, it is compounded by the fact that David Letterman will be leaving the “Late Show” in May.
The airing comes between tours for the band, who finished their European tour earlier this year and who will be touring the United States with Mat Kearney beginning in March.
While being on tour can put a lot of pressure on band members, Akers said that the band works hard to maintain the friendship that they formed during their college years.
“When we started the band, we all became really close if not best friends. We all love each other and know the road can be difficult because if you’re out with people, you can be around people too much and it can get on your nerves. But everyone has an awareness of that being a reality. We love each other through it,” he said.
Akers also cited the group’s Belmont education and experiences as playing a part in their ability to keep up in a music industry that is “drastically moving in a different direction.”
Performing in both the Christian Music Showcase in 2012 and the Best-of-the-Best Showcase in 2013 also helped the band to acclimate easily to performing in front of crowds.
“It’s kind of cool to keep up with people you played with in your Belmont years and keep perspective,” Akers said.
Overall, the band is thankful for the support from their fans at Belmont and beyond.
“The fans are what makes it beautiful. This is a moment worth breathing in, taking in,” Akers said.
The show will air Friday at 10:35 p.m. Central Standard Time on CBS, locally on channel 5.