Barbara Mandrell Congratulates New Opry Member Carly Pearce

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey and AP Photo/John Amis

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.

"When" ended up being 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.

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.

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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]."

More of Pearce's country music heroes have congratulated her since the news broke, be it through a text from Trisha Yearwood or a call from Barbara Mandrell.

"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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Barbara Mandrell Congratulates New Opry Member Carly Pearce