Carly Pearce is the Opry’s “Next Girl,” and Dolly, Trisha, and Barbara Mandrell couldn’t be prouder

Carly Pearce just wrapped up one of the best weeks of her life, playing her first post-pandemic show this weekend in Minnesota, following a surprise invitation from Dolly Parton to be the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

The former Dollywood performer believed she was shooting promotional footage for the East Tennessee theme park when its namesake superstar surprised her with the much-anticipated invite. The “Next Girl” hitmaker isn’t too proud to admit it took her awhile to regain her composure.

“I had tears everywhere and like snot everywhere because I was crying,” Carly remembers. “She walked over to me and she had her new perfume in her hand and she said, ‘Honey, do you want some of my perfume?’ And then she goes, ‘Smell my neck.’ And I was like, ‘Dolly, I have just cried for the last 20 minutes. I am afraid I’m gonna snot on you!"”

“She kind of reiterated to me that she’s done this for 50 years with the Opry,”  Carly continues, “and that she felt so excited to welcome me into the family.”

Dolly’s just one of country’s legendary female voices who’ve embraced Carly and her forward-thinking neotraditionalist vibes.

“I got a random phone call…” Carly reveals, “and it was Barbara Mandrell, who I’ve never met… and she had this long conversation with me about becoming a member, and how excited she was for me and just giving me some of her insight.”

“It’s just like these absolute idols — Trisha Yearwood sent me a text, and I’m like, ‘Thanks, Trisha!"” Carly says in disbelief. “It’s just so crazy to have these women that I’ve really looked up to that are country music royalty wrapping their arms around me.”

Carly will officially be inducted into the Opry on Tuesday, August 3.

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