Country singer Mandy Barnett is the newest artist to be invited to join the Grand Ole Opry family. Barnett, who's performed on the Opry stage over 500 times, was surprised on her birthday (Sept. 28) with an invitation to join the cast.
"You've felt like family since we first met, and on this, your special day, we're honored to invite you to become an official member of the Grand Ole Opry!" Smith said.
Barnett reflected on making her Opry debut over 20 years ago.
"This is the happiest day of my life! I came here back in the 80's and met so many of the greats that came before me like Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Jean Shepard, Billy Walker -- and you Connie. I made my Opry debut in 1994 and I've had so many supporters who have rooted for me and been nice to me all these years."
Barnett will be officially inducted into the Opry later this fall. She's also set to appear in each of the Opry's four "Opry Country Christmas" shows debuting this coming holiday season at the Opry House.
"Night after night, year after year, we've been astounded by Mandy's magnificent performances. She loves the Opry and the Opry loves her right back. It's a great match now and will be for years to come," Opry vice president and executive producer Dan Rogers said.
Known for her dedication to classic country, R&B and popular standards, Barnett first rose to fame as the star of Always...Patsy Cline, a jukebox musical about Patsy Cline.
In 2020, Barnett released A Nashville Songbook. Her latest album is Every Star Above, a celebration of Billie Holiday's Lady in Satin.