Carly Pearce’s Grand Ole Opry Dream is Realized: ‘This Literally is the Best Night of My Life’

This night was a dream come true for the budding superstar.

Written by Annie Reuter
Carly Pearce’s Grand Ole Opry Dream is Realized: ‘This Literally is the Best Night of My Life’
Carly Pearce; Photo credit: Chris Hollo

Carly Pearce choked back tears as Grand Ole Opry member Trisha Yearwood invited her to become the newest member of the Opry Tuesday evening. Pearce’s induction came at the end of a stacked Opry lineup which included performances by Opry members Yearwood, Jeannie Seely, John Conlee and Riders in the Sky alongside comedian Henry Cho and Clay Walker.

“This place, the Grand Ole Opry, is a special place,” Yearwood said upon inducting Pearce. “This is not a club that you can just join, this is a very special family that you have to be invited into and when they ask you to become a member it means that they know that you get it. … It is with joy and so much pride, and I represent everybody here at the Grand Ole Opry and all your fans to say, Carly Pearce you are now officially a member of the Grand Ole Opry.”

Trisha Yearwood and Carly Pearce; Photo credit: Chris Hollo

For Yearwood the evening also was significant as Pearce is the first Opry member she has inducted since she was inducted as an Opry member by Porter Wagoner in 1999. Upon her official induction a tearful Pearce turned her back toward the audience to compose herself.

“When I was a little girl, I dreamt of country music and I dreamt of singing on this stage,” Pearce told the packed crowd at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House, crediting her grandparents’ support in chasing her dream. “This was as much my dream as it was theirs.

“All I’ve ever wanted to do in the entire world is sing country music and the Grand Ole Opry let a 25-year-old Airbnb cleaner – yes, that’s me – stand on this stage before I ever had a record deal. I feel like I’ve grown up in this industry over the last five years with them. Grand Ole Opry, this isn’t just another feather in my cap, this isn’t another accolade, this isn’t another thing to add to my wall, this is a promise to all of you and to this organization that I will do my due-diligence as a Grand Ole Opry member to make sure that the circle is never broken.”

Pearce’s Opry performance included latest No. 1 single “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” which was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, a powerhouse duet of “How Do I Live” with Trisha Yearwood and a brand new song that pays tribute to fellow Opry member Loretta Lynn titled “Dear Miss Loretta” from Pearce’s upcoming third studio album 29: Written In Stone.

“I released a song today with one of my heroes, Patty Loveless,” she said of the tune. “I wrote this song with Shane McAnally, my producer. As a girl from Kentucky, I feel like my grandma made me understand that if you were going to sing country music you have to love Loretta. Over the last few years, I have really understood the way that Loretta wrote songs and why she wrote them in the way that she did so I’m going to sing you one that I wrote for Loretta. Never met her. She did tweet me though.”

Ahead of her induction, Pearce took part in a press conference and told Sounds Like Nashville the thought process behind her Grand Ole Opry induction set list. She said first song “I Hope You’re Happy Now” felt like a no brainer.

Scott Borchetta, Carly Pearce & Jackie Jones; Photo credit: Chris Hollo

“I don’t think that I really understood the way that a song could catapult a career the way this one has,” she said of set opener “I Hope You’re Happy Now.” “I feel like I’m just now getting to celebrate it with people again and I think that it had a lot to do with what is happening now in my career, and I am so happy now so that’s why I’m starting [with it]. Then I get to do something fun with Trisha and that’s where I might lose it.”

Pearce said “Dear Miss Loretta” is the “most country song” that she’s ever released, and it was important to perform the ballad alone during her Opry induction.

“I feel like that was a true Opry moment when I debuted ‘Dear Miss Loretta’ by myself,” she told Sounds Like Nashville. “The way that I debuted it and something that’s been a part of who I am is singing by myself in the circle so I’m going to do that, too.”

Pearce closed her performance with fellow Opry members Seely and Yearwood. The three generations of female Opry members paid tribute to Kitty Wells with a stirring rendition of the late singer’s 1955 hit “Making Believe.”

Trisha Yearwood, Jeannie Seely and Carly Pearce; Photo credit: Chris Hollo

“Let me be the first to say welcome home to the Grand Ole Opry,” Seely told Pearce before the women joined forces on Wells’ cover. “I thought it might be appropriate to do this and pay a nod to Kitty Wells and the generation before ours.”

The three Grand Ole Opry members traded verses, a few dance moves and plenty of smiles while closing a history-making evening with “Making Believe.”

“This literally is the best night of my life,” Pearce concluded.