For a while now, it's felt like a matter of "when," not "if," a veteran performer would invite Carly Pearce to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry cast. Pearce has appeared on the Opry House stage in Nashville more than 80 times over the past six years, and her award-winning music connects with both old souls and pop-country aficionados.
On Aug. 3, Pearce was officially named the newest member of the family circle when she was inducted with help from Opry members Trisha Yearwood and Jeannie Seely, who joined the "Next Girl" singer for a performance of Kitty Wells' "Making Believe."
"This is not a club that you can just join," Yearwood told Pearce during the induction (quote via People). "This is a very special family that you have to be invited into, and when they ask you to become a member, it means they know that you 'get it.' You're doing something great, but you also get what came before."
Yearwood, who also performed her hit "How Do I Live" with Pearce, presented the singer-songwriter a mini version of the Opry mic stand. But that wasn't the only keepsake Pearce now has to remember the special night. The 31-year-old told reporters her mom made her a Carly-Barbie, complete with the pink and white ruffled gown Pearce wore for the occasion.
"Y'all, my mom actually got a Barbie made with a dress that looks like this, and an Opry mic," Pearce told press before the show. "Like, literally a Barbie that looks like this is at my house right now. It's pretty awesome."
Pearce, who's performed on the Opry stage over 80 times, reflected on what the induction means to her.
"You can have hit records, you can sell out shows, you can be on award shows," Pearce said. "But all of that can fade, and this is something that I will have forever -- and a place that I can come to, and a stage that I can sing on, and a circle that I can stand in, and a family that I can be a part of, and that can never be taken away from me."
Carly Pearce's Opry Invitation
Pearce was invited to become a member of the Opry on June 17, 2021, and the established Opry star sharing the opportunity of a lifetime happened to be one of country music's all-time great singers, songwriters and performers: Dolly Parton.
A video clip the Opry shared on social media on Tuesday (June 22) shows Pierce taking part in what she believed was an interview about her experiences performing at a young age at Parton's East Tennessee theme park, Dollywood.
— Carly Pearce (@carlypearce) June 23, 2021
Pierce, a Kentucky native, played bluegrass music at Dollywood as a teenager. She's since debuted on top with 2017's "Every Little Thing" and started filling up her trophy case with CMA and ACM awards for Lee Brice duet "I Hope You're Happy Now."
The Dollywood interview proved to be a ruse, in the best possible way, when Parton surprised the "Next Girl" singer.
"You should be a member of the Grand Ole Opry! What's the matter with them?," Parton told Pearce.
Parton followed that quip with a long-overdue invite that'll make Pearce's next appearance on the Opry stage a life-affirming moment.
"Dreams come true ... sometimes even better than you dare to dream," Pearce wrote on social media. "I couldn't be more happy or honored the be the newest member of [the Opry]."
"I got a random phone call ... and picked it up, and it was Barbara Mandrell," Pearce told Taste of Country. "She had this long conversation with me about becoming a member, and how excited she was for me and giving me some of her insight."
The Opry's post adds that Pearce's official induction will be held on Aug. 3.
During one of Pearce's most recent Opry appearances, she unveiled a new song about one of her songwriter heroes and one of Parton's most revered peers, Loretta Lynn.
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