On April 10, 2012, Keith Urban was addressing a crowd of about 16,000 at his annual All for the Hall benefit at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena when his co-host, Vince Gill, stepped on stage with a black duffle bag and introduced it as a gift to the confused Urban. Following behind Gill were the members of Rascal Flatts, Diamond Rio and the Oak Ridge Boys -- all who had performed that night. Urban unzipped the bag and pulled out a WSM microphone stand.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we would like to invite Keith Urban to be the next member of the Grand Ole Opry."
Visibly speechless, Urban could only mutter a few "thank you's" while trying to contain his excitement. "Oh, my God. I don't know what to say. Thank you so much to everybody at the Grand Ole Opry that made this possible. I'm shocked, I gotta say."
After many hugs and a few tears, Urban continued, "I will always remember the first time I played the Opry. Seeing this stand and standing in the circle was an extraordinarily surreal moment. So this right here is just a whole other stratosphere! Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
The Opry stage and the Ryman are some of the biggest legacies in the country music industry. The circle is a sacred place that artists long to stand-in. Being an Australian transplant, Urban had been working toward this goal for over 20 years. He recalled when he moved to Nashville and started taking his demo tapes around town to record labels. Now, after all these years, he got to add "Grandy Ole Opry member" to his long list of accolades.
The Grammy, Country Music Association, and Academy of Country Music award-winning songwriter has celebrated 20 No. 1 singles and was a guest judge on the hit show, American Idol.
Urban and Gill host All for the Hall every year to raise money for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.
Other Opry members include Blake Shelton, Darius Rucker, Carrie Underwood, Luke Combs, Garth Brooks, Lady A and Kelsea Ballerini.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on June 13, 2021.
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