Luke Combs is the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry! The singer was inducted on Tuesday, July 16, by both Vince Gill and Joe Diffie.
"Here I am on stage with people I grew up listening to and people who have shaped me as an artist," Combs shared during his induction. "I just want to say thank you to you guys, thank you to the Grand Ole Opry, and thank you to the fans — without you all there is no country music, there is no Grand Ole Opry. Thank you so much for everything you guys do for making this possible for guys like us on this stage. I will never forget tonight!"
Combs was stunned, and emotional, last month when he was invited to join by his Chris Janson, Craig Morgan, and John Conlee. But since Combs had a month to prepare, he said backstage prior to his induction that he would try to keep his emotions in check.
"I think I'm a little bit more prepared for tonight," Combs told PopCulture.com and other media backstage. "I think the last time I was just so caught off guard by the whole thing. I remember the first thing I thought when they asked was 'Man, I can't believe my parents are going to find out on the radio,' and then, there my parents were on the side of the stage, and my whole team, and everybody I work with.
"I think the shock and all, like 'Holy cow, this is really happening moment,' has already happened in a good way, because I'm such a control freak on stage," he continued. "I really love to know what's happening, and how the set's going to go, and what I'm going to say, and how I'm going to say it, so that was a very welcome surprise that evening. I've composed myself a bit. I think we'll see, but I'm going to do my darnedest to keep it dry tonight."
Combs has already sold out massive venues, had five consecutive No. 1 singles, and won numerous awards. Yet regardless of what has happened to him in the past, or will happen to him in the future, the 29-year-old says being a member of the Grand Ole Opry will always be his highest honor.
"As far as career achievements go, to me, this is the number one thing," Combs acknowledged. "The sold out arenas are great and sold out amphitheaters are great and those are things that you strive for to continue to be able to tour and continue to have a platform to put your music out there, but this is just an institution. To me, it's beyond country music. It is country music. Being asked was the most amazing, overwhelming, flattering, humbling experience that I've ever had, and so will definitely will always and forever be the number one career achievement for me, over winning this or winning that, or going to this, or selling out that.
"This is the thing that nobody can ever take away from me," he added, "which is, I think, what I'm so proud of."
Photo Credit: Getty images / Jason Kempin