Lainey Wilson Officially Joins the Grand Ole Opry, Says It’s The “Biggest Honor Of My Life”

Lainey Wilson is the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association’s reigning Entertainer of the Year. She starred on the hit show “Yellowstone” and has become quite comfortable with frequent trips to the top of the country radio airplay charts.

But none of the accolades equal her latest triumph. Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood inducted Wilson into the Grand Ole Opry Friday night.

“Country music is my life,” Wilson said from the stage. “It truly is. This is the biggest honor of my life. Every time I walk through this door, I feel at home. When you’re eight hours away from home, you want a family here. And they’ve been my family when my family couldn’t be here.”

Before her induction, Wilson explained that performing on the Opry is a dream she’s held since childhood. The first time she visited the Grand Ole Opry, she was 9 years old. That night, Wilson knew she was meant to sing her songs in the Opry’s famous wooden circle. She remembers where she was sitting when she saw Bill Anderson, Jeannie Seeley, and Crystal Gayle take the stage.

“I remember looking at that circle thinking, ‘I’m going to do that,'” she said. “I’m going to stand up there.”

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Lainey Wilson Prayed With Her Boyfriend on the Opry Stage Before Induction

When she arrived at the Opry on Friday, she and her boyfriend sat on the stage to soak in the moment before the building filled with fans.

“We said a little prayer,” Wilson said. “It makes me emotional. When you really think about it, my debut was only four years ago. To be invited to be a member four years later is wild. But I’ve been trying to keep one foot on the ground the last four years.”

Wilson wrote her first song the same year as her first Opry visit, and said she was the child who dreamed about what song she would sing on the Opry when she grew up and not her wedding.  
“Country music is playing at the house, it’s playing going down the road,” she said. “We live it. So, to be at a place that embodies that and in a community that embodies that is really special.”

Brooks reiterated the sentiment as he and Yearwood inducted Wilson on the Opry stage.

“There’s going to be highs, there’s going to be lows and the awards will fade,” Brooks said. “But the one thing that will always stay the same is this (Opry) family.”

Yearwood added: “When I think about the future of country music, I know with you in, we’re going to be OK,” she said.

Wilson Joked Garth Brooks Might Take Her Opry Induction Trophy

Wilson said her Opry induction feels like “the stamp of approval” and said it “lights another fire under my butt.”

She turned and invited her parents, sister, boyfriend, and other family members to join her on stage because she said the night was their win, too. Wilson explained that all of them had sacrificed for her to be on any stage.

Then Yearwood reminded Wilson she still had to sing another song. Brooks jokingly told Wilson it was because he hadn’t heard her sing a song as an Opry member. Then he offered to hold her commemorative Opry trophy while she sang. Wilson told him he had to give it back when she was finished.

“Don’t let him get out of the back door with that thing,” she said.

Wilson closed the show with her song about rushing home, “Hang Tight Honey.”

“I’m watching my dreams come true,” Wilson said.

After she left the stage, Wilson mounted her nameplate on the wall backstage alongside the nameplates of all the other Opry members. Then, she joined a large gathering of her friends and family to toast the night.

“I feel like I’ve taken a million steps to get here,” she said. “But at the same time, one giant leap of faith.”

(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

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