Chris Young has been performing at the Grand Ole Opry faithfully for the last decade. On Tuesday, Oct. 17, that devotion to the show paid off as Brad Paisley formally inducted Chris as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.
We caught up with Chris backstage prior to his formal induction onstage, and he said anticipating what the induction would be like was a lot like the first time he ever played the Opry. As a new artist looking forward to playing the legendary stage for the first time, Chris found himself just sitting backstage in his dressing room not really sure of what to expect.
Chris tells Rare Country, “You show up and you’re there, and they tell you a time, but you don’t really get any other information other than that. So, it’s like, somebody walked in and said, ‘Two songs ’til you.’ I’m like, ‘Where do I go? I’ve never done this before! I don’t know what I’m doing!’ It’s kind of the same thing with being inducted into the Opry. Everybody all week’s like, ‘So, what’s going to happen? How’s it going to be?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know. I’ve never been inducted into the Opry before. This is a first for me.'”
He adds, “It was as special then to perform on that stage as it will be tonight as it will be, hopefully, 10, 20, 30 years from now, for me.”
When it came time for him to actually accept his Opry member trophy from Brad, Chris kept things pretty solemn by simply saying ‘Thank you’ to the crowd. It was much more subdued than the night Vince Gill asked him to join the Opry family.
In what is sure to be one of the most celebrated moments in Opry history, Chris actually gave Vince a bear hug and picked him up when Vince invited him to become the newest member of the Opry. We expect that moment will pop up in Opry highlight reels for many years to come.
Chris says, “I knew people were going to take a photo of that the minute I picked him up. As I was doing it, I’m like, ‘This is really dumb. This is going to be on the front of everything.’ But I was just excited. Can’t help that.”
Having Vince ask Chris to join the Opry family was especially fitting since they recently scored a No. 1 hit with the collaboration, “Sober Saturday Night.” The connection goes far beyond that for Chris.
He adds, “He was my first concert. My first one I ever remember going to. My mom won tickets on the radio. We sat in the grass at the Starwood Amphitheater, which doesn’t even exist anymore, and watched him play. So, for it to come full circle in that way and him ask me to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry, it’s a night I’ll never forget.”
Congratulations on your Opry induction, Chris. His big week continues with his new album, “Losing Sleep,” coming out on Friday, Oct. 20. The title track from that project is currently on its way up the country charts.