Chris Janson became the newest – and now youngest – member of the Grand Ole Opry on Tuesday, March 21. Janson, who was invited by Keith Urban in February, and inducted by Garth Brooks, says being inducted into the hallowed organization fulfills almost every dream he had for himself in country music.
"I don't think you'll ever in your lifetime see another person who is more excited to be part of an organization like the Grand Ole Opry than I am," Janson shared with PopCulture.com and other media prior to his induction. "I've loved it since the very beginning. I'd love it tonight if I was just a guest artist here and was never a member. I would still love it that much. I grew up knowing what this was and it's an institution that's world renowned."
The "Drunk Girl" singer has enjoyed two chart-topping singles, with his debut "Buy Me a Boat," earning platinum certification for sales in excess of one million copies. He's also earned opening spots on some of the biggest tours in country music, including his current run as an opener on Cole Swindell's Reason to Drink Tour. But the Missouri native says becoming an Opry member will forever be the highest honor he could receive.
"I've been fortunate to garner a few accolades along the path the last couple of years, which are always flattering and they're very awesome and it's nice for a second, because anytime anybody likes you it's awesome," Janson said. "But the Grand Ole Opry is just a world apart. It's not the same level, it's not even the same playing field. It wasn't even written in the same book in my opinion.
"This is where country music famously started," continued Janson. "When the world ends this is where it will end too. And there will be a small community of Grand Ole Opry members and a small community of people who said, 'Hey, I played that once.' Or, 'I've played that many times.' And that's I think the most powerful reason why I'm so grateful to be a part of it. It's important to not only wave a flag for it, but to carry the flag and carry the torch. The Opry, to me, is so much more than just coming here to play. It's really about the heritage and the history of it and the fact that people paved the road before artists like myself and songwriters like myself that afforded us the luxury of doing it and it means an awful lot."
Janson was invited by Urban during Janson's headlining sold-out show at the Ryman Auditorium, unaware of what was occurring when Urban started talking.
When I'm playing a concert, which ironically was at the Ryman of course, it was just a regular tour show for me," explained Janson. "And that's where my head was. I knew Keith was going to be a special guest even ... When he presented the Opry thing, if you go back to the video and watch online, I wasn't even putting two and two together. I played the Opry at the Ryman a good number of times now."
It wasn't until after someone put the famous Opry mic stand in front of him that Janson realized what was happening.
"I mean this with great humility with a great sense of pride too, I'm used to seeing this on the stage at the Ryman," Janson said, pointing to the Opry mic stand in front of him. "I thought, 'Well, it's supposed to be there.' And I thought maybe something is wrong with my mic stand, so they're bringing me a new one, right?"
During his Opry induction, the husband and father shared just how important the induction was to him.0comments
"I don't know anything other than playing country music," Janson said. "I really love it that much. Where I started, I started at Tootsie's downtown, at the little honky tonk downtown, 13 years ago, and I just remember watching Marty Stuart and multiple Opry stars going into the Ryman and thinking, 'Dang, man. I just want to go there, and I just want to do that. I gotta tell you – I have two dreams that came true. One was getting on the radio and one was getting on the Opry."
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