Christian artist Lauren Daigle has spoken out in response to a controversy over her appearance at an outdoor worship gathering led by Sean Feucht.
Feucht's worship event was held last month in the New Orleans French Quarter in violation of Covid-19 public health guidelines.
Daigle says her participation was not planned but rather "spontaneous" when she was asked to sing after running into the event while out cycling with her friend.
"I'm disappointed that my spontaneous participation has become part of the political discourse and I'm saddened by the divisive agendas of these times," she said in a statement to New Orleans news site Nola.
"To me, that is the very moment when music serves its higher purpose.
"It's what gives people encouragement, hope for a better future, and it's what can usher joy into their hearts. My involvement was focused on lifting spirits, providing hope, and encouragement, during these polarizing times."
Her appearance triggered a letter from New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell demanding that Daigle not be allowed to perform in the New Orleans segment of "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" because she had "endangered lives" by participating in Feucht's worship event.
"I ask that you immediately remove Ms. Daigle from the lineup for New Year's Eve," Cantrell wrote.
In her statement, Daigle insisted that she had never received any official invitation from producers to appear in the annual New Year's Eve broadcast.
"I would have been, and still would be, honored to represent our city on New Year's Eve and although I was aware of discussions regarding my involvement, an offer was never made," Daigle said.
"We need unity when people are desperate, suffering, starving or out of work," she added.