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Macy's 4th Of July Fireworks Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

Macy's 4th Of July Fireworks

This is an interview with Host Nick Lachey and Executive Producer Amy Kule on June 15, 2011 about the Macy's 4th Of July Fireworks show. The fireworks spectacular airs on Monday, July 4, live from New York City beginning 9:00 pm Eastern time on NBC.

Question:
Amy, how will this year's theme, Gift of Freedom, be incorporated into the show?

Amy Kule:
The Gift of Freedom is certainly the freedom that we all experience every day in the United States and we've got an amazing, amazing sound track that's going to go along with this Gift of Freedom that really is a celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. We'll be able to see the statue in all of our advertising for the show as well as in the show itself.

Question:
Nick, how did you get involved with this show?

Nick Lachey:
I've actually had the pleasure of performing on the show in years past and then this year as host of The Sing-Off and part of the NBC family they've reached out to me to see if I would be interested in being the host to this, which I obviously jumped at the chance to. It's one of the marquee events of the year and one I have been very familiar in years past and very, very excited and honored to be a part of it this year.

Question:
When you're not doing a show like this how do you generally spend your 4th of July?

Amy Kule:
Working for Macy's we have the distinct honor of always working on unique American holidays, certainly the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks is one of those. And having been with Macy's for nearly 15 years I barely remember a day when I was enjoying it outside of being part of this magnificent fireworks display.

Nick Lachey:
I don't have any set tradition like that necessarily but some years I've been in New York actually for the fireworks and some years been here in L.A. and had the pleasure of watching them on TV because it usually fogs in here and you can't see a thing. And other years I've been in Cincinnati, so it kind of depends on the year, but I always try to be with friends and family obviously.

Question:
People get excited to want to see the show every year. Can either of you pinpoint why that is?

Amy Kule:
Macy's produces the single biggest fireworks display in America on the 4th of July and we're very pleased to have Nick as a host this year and we've got some great talent to go along with that.

Question:
Who is some of that talent?

Amy Kule:
Beyonce is performing two amazing songs and she's going to be performing right at the Statue of Liberty, we believe. And Brad Paisley, another dynamic superstar is singing two incredible songs as well from a roof top with a magnificent view of the New York City skyline.

Question:
Nick, do you enjoy doing hosting gigs?

Nick Lachey:
I do, I do. It's certainly come to this in the last few years I've been able to do more of and I really have enjoyed it. You know, it gives you an opportunity to kind of be yourself and bring a little of your own personality into the mix. And with The Sing-Off I get a chance to be around incredible - incredibly talented groups. And certainly on this spectacular on the 4th of July there's no place in the world you'd rather be on the 4th of July than New York City right there for the fireworks, so I'm a lucky man.

Question:
The fireworks display has always been not just an uniting event but an entertaining one. Why do you think it's so important that something like the 4th of July is combined with music and art and that in its display?

Amy Kule:
Fireworks itself just lend themselves to the inclusion of music and when we produce the Macy's 4th of July fireworks we've got a very talented, creative team that produces a special musical score that lasts the full 25 minutes of the fireworks. If you're seeing it live in New York you could always tune in to 1010 WINS and have that soundtrack playing over your own loud speakers. And obviously for those tuning in on NBC they'll be able to hear the soundtrack that's been created specifically for this fireworks display simulcast with the fireworks.

Question:
There are tons and tons of fireworks in different colors and how they fall from the sky. Do you have any particular fireworks that you find to be your favorite?

Nick Lachey:
I like the screamers, the ones that make that get real high and they fall from the from the sky. That's probably my favorite firework.

Amy Kule:
I like that. We've got about 50 different shapes that are going to be in the skies on the 4th of July so I'm sure screamers are going to be part of it so Nick will be happy.

Nick Lachey:
That's always the fun thing to me is that every year they seem to come up with new and different shapes and stuff that every year feels like it's a whole new experience.

Amy Kule:
We've got diamonds and hoops and hearts and jellyfish which may be one of my favorites because they shoot up and then kind of hold tight in the air before they disperse and come down in a cavalcade and seem to disperse slowly as they come through the sky. But there's lots of unique shapes up there as well as the traditional ones of huge bursts that everybody expects to see.

Question:
Can you talk about the challenges of doing a live show like this with so much going on between musical performances and fireworks?

Amy Kule:
I think Nick has probably got the single biggest challenge, because he is 100% live and has to roll with the punches of whatever mishaps could in fact happen with the things that we've been planning for a long time. So kudos to him to be able to handle those challenges.

But the fireworks themselves are really computer programmed at this point. With any kind of computer program we all know the frustration with computers, there could always be some kind of mishap. But we've got the most amazing pyrotechnicians in the country working on this show and of course, the most amazing talent so there's really very little in the way that could really trip us up.

Except, of course, for you never really know what kind of weather you're going to deal with. And Nick spoke about June gloom that may in fact live through some of July in L.A. and you kind of have that fear of what it's going to be. You can't control the weather, you can control the fireworks you have great and professional talent working with you, but the unforeseen is the only thing you can't control there.

Nick Lachey:
From my perspective it is that unforeseen which makes it exciting. I actually prefer doing live events to pre-taped because I think there's just a genuine excitement and adrenaline rush that comes from knowing that there really is no turning back. And you just have to roll with the punches no matter what they are or how they come and kind of be quick on your feet. But it's always exciting and I'm sure that the fireworks spectacular will be exactly that. You plan as much as you can and certainly you prepare as much as you can and then once you go live you're just rolling with the punches, so it's fun.

Question:
Nick, flashback to when you were a kid and a teenager. What were your 4th of July's like then?

Nick Lachey:
I think that the fireworks no matter where you are kind of a staple of 4th of July and I have a lot of memories of cookouts and kind of playing football or badminton or whatever it is in the yard with your family and having a big grill-out. And then when it gets dark it's time to track down the fireworks because that's really the way to kind of wrap up the 4th of July holiday. So no matter what my memory was, no matter where it was, it certainly always culminated with a great fireworks show.

Question:
Would you go to the big ones in Cincinnati or the smaller ones at home?

Nick Lachey:
My family was never big into the hold-your-own fireworks show in the backyard kind of thing so we always go to the local park, or wherever the wherever the fireworks are being held that year But I have memories of living in Astoria and getting on the train and going down and watching the Macy's fireworks there in New York a good 15 years ago. So the premier fireworks event of the year and again I'm happy to be a part of it.

Question:
If you could philosophize for just a minute about we seem to see a comeback to the voice. I mean here you're going to be hosting The Sing-Off again this year and there's great voices like Beyonce now and there was a time when everybody just wanted to play guitar that was that. You certainly grew up singing acapella and things like that. Is there like a comeback of the voice in general and the love of singing?

Nick Lachey:
I think the people have an appreciation for genuine talent and singing acapella and that really there's no where to hide with that and so I think you have to have an appreciation for the talent it takes to pull that off well. And you know as a segue I have to say I mean I am just so impressed with the musical guests we have on this show Beyonce and Brad Paisley are two of the premier acts in music right now so great to have them a part of this. But yes I think it's just great that people are celebrating singing and celebrating the voice and it's great to be a part of that on some level.

Question:
Amy, can you please describe the process that goes into planning and producing Macy's 4th of July fireworks?

Amy Kule:
Macy's produces live events throughout the year. The 4th of July fireworks is probably the second biggest thing that we do. And we spend all year really thinking about how we can do it better than we did the year before. And there really comes a time that you can't really surpass that. But you change it up, you look to develop different thematics. This year of course it's our 35th anniversary of the Macy's 4th of July fireworks and the 125th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.

When you look at those things thematically sometimes the partnerships that you have to have in place and the way that you produce the show really lend themselves to these kinds of dynamic milestones that are being celebrated. Last year or two years ago for instance, we were on the Hudson River celebrating the anniversary of the naming of the Hudson and it was a very big deal for us there. So we look at new creative elements, new musical talent that we could be working with.

We worked with the New York Pops for the past several years and this year we're actually working with pre-recorded popular show tunes, so we do change it up every year. But we know that America is watching and when we launch our 40,000 shells from the Hudson River that we've got big shoes to fill from the previous year and the expectations of the American public.

Question:
Nick,what is it like hosting a show like The Sing-Off?

Nick Lachey:
It's great. I mean especially as a musician and singer myself it's such a joy to be around young and talented and enthusiastic singers like we have on The Sing-Off. And it really is a pleasure to go to work every day and kind of be immersed in that. It's actually very contagious it kind of refreshes me as far as music goes. It makes me even more excited to sing myself just being around that. It's very contagious. So I couldn't imagine being a part of a better show or a more rewarding show than The Sing-Off. It's been a blast.

Question:
I noticed that you're heavily involved with a variety of charities. Besides your own, which charity holds a special spot for you?

Nick Lachey:
I'd have to say that I try to focus my charitable work specifically on kids, on children the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organizations, one I've been affiliated with for about eight years. And I have a little brother and that's been - that's probably the most rewarding relationship that I've that I've seen come out of doing charitable work. It's been a joy to be a part of his life and be a part of that program. So I'd probably say them, Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

Question:
Nick, you said you sang on the show before. What year was it and what challenges did you have singing on the show, and what do the other entertainers this year face?

Nick Lachey:
I'd have to say it was probably 2006 when I performed on the East River side. But yes, I think the challenge there is it's tough to keep your butterflies in check it's such a such a dramatic scene and the crowd is very amped up and it's just very exciting. So performers like you say we need to stay within ourselves. It's easy to get overly amped and a little bit out of control. But it's just such a great environment such a great atmosphere it's tough not to have a great time. And I certainly enjoyed my experience performing on the show. Beyonce and Brad are both pros. I'm looking very much forward to hearing them. It'll be great

Question:
When you sang were you on a park on land or were you on a boat, and how big a crowd were around you immediately?

Nick Lachey:
We were on the shore of the East River. I can't remember specifically where we were but it was kind of an open kind of a square area and you have a lot of a lot of bands, a lot of crowd around.

Amy Kule:
There's really no pressure for someone like Nick when they're performing because there are three million people that are watching live in New York itself. So no pressure there when that's going on but three million people are watching at any given time. So I'm sure he's a professional, he gets those butterflies but what a great job he did.

Question:
Nick, is The Sing-Off going to be a weekly show in the fall as opposed to kind of a December event? Your thoughts about being part of the fall lineup?

Nick Lachey:
Well, we're honored and flattered. I think it speaks to the success of the show and to the numbers that we pulled in last year for NBC. So we're very honored that we got the full fall pickup. Obviously there comes some challenges with that and having to expand the show and so we're looking at that creatively and how to best do that. But we're excited. It started out as kind of the little engine that could and here we are with a full fall pickup. So everyone associated with the show is very, very excited and looking forward to it.

Question:
Nick, the Macy's firework event will take up a large portion of your holiday weekend for the 4th of July. But do you and Vanessa have any other big plans for the holiday?

Nick Lachey:
It doesn't get any bigger than what I'm doing. So that's the big thing being in New York and being a part of this event with Macy's and NBC it's just a it's a real honor for me. And you know, selfish dude as I said, there's no where else I would rather be on the 4th of July. So looking forward to it, it'll be a big party.

Question:
Any special things in New York you're looking forward to beside just the event?

Nick Lachey:
I always enjoy the chance to come to New York. It's my favorite city in the world and to be in that city and just be a part of that atmosphere it's always fun. So especially on the 4th with so much excitement in the air it's going to be a great night.

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