Carly Pearce is set to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. The “Next Girl” singer’s surprise invitation from longtime member Dolly Parton was made public during her Tuesday night Opry performance.
The invitation initially happened offstage last week when Pearce thought she was filming a promo for Parton’s Dollywood amusement park, where the Kentucky native once performed as a teenager before heading to Nashville. In video clip capturing the moment, Parton pops out to surprise Pearce and gently teases her about playing the Opry more than 80 times and not yet being a member. Parton then hits her with the invitation, at which Pearce collapses in tears. The video was replayed for the Tuesday night Opry audience.
For Pearce, getting to the Opry has been one of her main goals.
“It’s been the greatest love of my life since I was a young girl listening with my grandparents,” she says in a statement. “All of the greatest writers, legends and pioneers have been on that stage, and I feel them in my bones anytime I walk in the stage door… To actually be asked to join the Opry family, there are no words.”
Pearce’s formal induction to the Opry will take place August 3rd. She follows recent new members including Gene Watson, Rhonda Vincent, and Lady A.
Earlier in 2021, Pearce released the excellent EP 29, which chronicles a journey of heartbreak and acceptance at a critical juncture in her life. “To me, it was the year that was going to be my best and ended up completely taking a turn at the time for the worst,” she told Rolling Stone. “If you would have asked me then, ‘Are you sure you want to go there in this song?,’ that was the only true way to describe just exactly how heartbreaking that was.”
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