Mandy Barnett was surprised on her birthday earlier this week with an invitation to become an official Opry member. Barnett has appeared on the Opry more than 500 times over the course of nearly 30 years. Opry member Connie Smith joined Barnett on stage to lead the Opry audience in “Happy Birthday”, then read a birthday card that included Barnett’s invitation.
“You’ve felt like family since we first met, and on this, your special day, we’re honored to invite you to become an official member of the Grand Ole Opry!” Smith read.
Mandy Barnett said, “This is the happiest day of my life! I came here back in the ’80s and met so many of the greats that came before me like Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Jean Shepard, Billy Walker- and you Connie. I made my Opry debut in 1994 and I’ve had so many supporters who have rooted for me and been nice to me all these years.”
“Well, honey you’ve earned it,” exclaimed Smith.
Barnett will be formally inducted into the Opry family later this fall. She is also scheduled to appear in each of the Opry’s four “Opry Country Christmas” shows debuting this coming holiday season at the Opry House.
“Night after night, year after year, we’ve been astounded by Mandy’s magnificent performances. She loves the Opry and the Opry loves her right back. It’s a great match now and will be for years to come,” said Dan Rogers, Opry vice president and executive producer.
This great honor comes on the heels of Barnett’s successful 8th studio album, Every Star Above, which she released in May 2021. With Every Star Above, Barnett shared a personal version of an album that greatly inspired her as a young artist, Billie Holiday’s Lady In Satin. Developed alongside the late esteemed arranger Sammy Nestico (Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Michael Bublé, Barbra Streisand), Barnett recorded the project with a 60-piece orchestra. The album reached number one on the iTunes Jazz Charts one day after its release.