‘American Idol’ Star Emmy Russell Recalls the Final Promise She Made to Her Grandmother Loretta Lynn

Although Emmy Russell ended her run on American Idol before landing a spot in the Top 3, the singer seemed to walk away a winner as she stole the hearts of fans. Known for being the granddaughter of country legend Loretta Lynn, Russell stepped out of her comfort zone when appearing on the show. Spending a great deal of time running from her country roots, the singer recently discussed her time on American Idol and the last conversation she had with her grandmother before she passed. 

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While fans learned about Russell’s rich history, the singer opened up about how she struggled with her future in music. Wanting to explore other avenues, Russell recalled Lynn wanting her to stay in music. She even told her, “Why are you running? Don’t go to Brazil, don’t go to Kona (Hawaii), God gave you a tool. Don’t bury it, use it.” 

With Lynn knowing the power behind Russell’s voice, she was determined to give it all up as she decided to do missionary work in Brazil and Hawaii. “I literally threw away music for like six years. And then I came back two years after my mission. I was like, ‘I think I’m gonna do this.'”

[RELATED: Watch ‘American Idol’ Star Emmy Russell Transform This Benson Boone Hit Into a “Beautiful” Country Ballad]

Emmy Russell Admits She Felt More Like Herself Since ‘American Idol’

Passing away in October 2022 at the age of 90, Russell received the chance to spend some time with her “Memaw” before she died. Sitting with her, the singer talked about her future and promised Lynn she was going to pursue a career in music. Although she struggled with believing in herself, Russell told The Tennessean, “You know, she always really believed in me.”

As for her time on American Idol, Russell felt at peace with her role in the competition. “I was really grateful for the show. I think I’ve got everything that I needed to receive.” She continued, “I feel more myself than I ever have since doing ‘American Idol.’ I feel like some people can lose themselves in the process, but I really feel like I’ve been finding more of myself during the show.” 

While Abi Carter walked away as the latest winner of American Idol, Russell praised her fellow competitor, calling her victory, “Awesome.”

(Emmy Russell & Lukas Nelson Sing “Lay Me Down” | a Celebration of the Life and Music of Loretta Lynn, n.d.)

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