Ashley McBryde takes us inside her stunning Opry debut YouTube/Grand Ole Opry
YouTube/Grand Ole Opry

Giving a debut performance on the Grand Ole Opry stage is a rite of passage for all new country artists, but not all of those country artists take that debut as seriously as Ashley McBryde. The Arkansas native actually wrote a song for the occasion, titled “Girl Goin’ Nowhere.”

The lyrics are inspired by a cruel teacher Ashley had as a kid who told her she wouldn’t amount to anything chasing her dream of music stardom. Singing that song on the Opry stage was a really emotional experience for Ashley, who broke down during the performance.

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She tells Rare Country, “I was trying to just kind of get through it at first, and I realized that I was going to break up and cry no matter what. I kept saying, ‘Don’t fall. Don’t fall. Don’t fall.’ And then, last note and then this row stood up and the next row stood up and the next row stood up. A standing O at the Grand Ole Opry. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

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You can tell the emotions just overtake Ashley as she watches the audience keep on clapping and shouting in approval of her performance.

She says, “I didn’t know what to do, so I just kind of looked around.”

Playing the Grand Ole Opry stage was a big part of the dream that drove Ashley to move to Nashville about 10 years ago. She didn’t take it lightly when that dream became a reality, etiher.

Says Ashley, “The gravity of that — standing in the [Opry] circle — if you don’t feel that on your bones when you’re standing there, you probably shouldn’t be standing there.”

Ashley McBryde’s Opry debut made such an impression on us that it’s now nominated for Grand Ole Opry Moment of the Year at the Rare Country Awards. Voting is open through Dec. 13 at We’ll reveal the winners at a livestreamed concert event set for Dec. 14 in Nashville.

Hunter Kelly is a senior correspondent for Rare Country. Follow him on Twitter @Hunterkelly.
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