Rachel Dupard’s voice is her calling card. She sings gospel hymns in church and has appeared on America’s Got Talent. The daughter of a former NFL running back, the Texas native also performs in the NFL’s “Super Bowl Babies” commercial, which will air during the big game Sunday between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos.

The commercial riffs off the NFL’s claim that research shows there is a huge increase in birth rates nine months after the Super Bowl. As Dupard delicately put it, “After the Super Bowl, parents get excited and all warm and fuzzy because their teams won, and nine months later, their children are born because of that happiness.”

Dupard, who will perform in a Cowboy babies choir in the commercial, since she was born in Dallas, came a little early — in August 1995 — but her parents insist she was indeed a Super Bowl baby.

Music has been a big focus of the singer’s life for many years. The Santa Fe University of Art and Design student plans a career as a jazz singer. But in the first four years of her life, she couldn’t speak, and when others spoke to her, she said, it sounded as if she were underwater and they were above the surface.

The family discovered that she suffered from an inner ear dysfunction in both ears. “Lots of water had built up in both my ears,” said Dupard, 20. “I couldn’t understand anybody around me.”

Speech therapy helped, but she was 6 before she could really start talking, and she had to spend a lot of time playing catch-up.

Her faith as a Seventh Day Adventist kept her strong. And it helped that a church choir leader believed in her and made her stand in the front row of the choir, she said.

“When you sing gospel, you get to feel religious clarity,” Dupard said. “It’s just like you don’t care what is going on around you. It’s just you and God, even if you are singing in a stadium full of people.”

After graduating from high school, Dupard chose to study music at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design because of the small community offered by both the campus and the city. “It makes me focus and gives me the push to do what I want to do,” she said. “If I were in a big city studying, I wouldn’t have had time to focus.”

Her mother, Lachanda Dupard — who also is her manager — got wind of the “Super Bowl Babies” commercial through a church associate who had seen a notice about auditions for the gig on the Internet. Rachel Dupard got some online face time with one of the commercial’s producers, sang a little bit and got a call shortly thereafter telling her she got the job.

In the video, small choirs of Super Bowl babies of all ages sing a tune extolling the virtues of that big game when it comes to encouraging reproductive activities. The song is set to Seal’s well-known ballad “Kiss from a Rose,” though, of course, the lyrics are changed. Seal himself appears in the video, framed against the backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the Super Bowl will play out Sunday.

Rachel Dupard’s father, Reggie Dupard, a former running back for both the New England Patriots and the Washington Redskins in the late 1980s, is happy to see his daughter involved with this year’s Super Bowl festivities.

Rachel Dupard said she shot the commercial in both New York City and San Francisco. It involved lots of standing around and waiting, singing and dealing with crying babies who were none too pleased to be taken out of the loving arms of their mothers during the shoot. (The infants’ real-life sobbing also appears in the commercial.)

Dupard plans to graduate from the local university in the spring of 2018 and then move to New Orleans to perform jazz in nightclubs and in musical-theater productions. She has no plans to have a child of her own any time soon.

“My plan is to take care of me first and figure out who I am,” she said. “And then I’ll give that to another being.”

Contact Robert Nott at 986-3021 or rnott@sfnewmexican.com.

Watch the video

• Watch the NFL’s “Super Bowl Babies” commercial on our website, www.santafenewmexican.com. Rachel Dupard, a Texas native who attends the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, appears performing with the Dallas Cowboys choir.