The Grand Ole Opry saw a new face on Wednesday night as Kentucky singer-songwriter Brit Taylor entered the legendary circle for the first time.
Donning a glittery gown fit for the occasion, Taylor waltzed onto the hallowed stage and ripped into the title track of her recently released sophomore album, Kentucky Blue, which was helmed by Grammy-winning producers Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson.
"Thank you so much! I cannot believe that I am standing in this circle right now", Taylor shared, fighting back tears. "I started singing when I was seven years old at a mock Grand Ole Opry called the Kentucky Opry, and we did our best to reenact this show. From the moment I was seven years old, standing on that stage in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, I have been fighting and clawing to get to this stage, to right here on this circle".
The Kentucky native, who first came to town at the age of 17 and quickly landed a publishing deal, explained how she self-funded her debut record by starting her own cleaning business in Nashville.
"I will do anything it takes to get to the venue, to be able to play the show and put out my records - no matter how much hard work it takes." She added with a laugh, "I'm not too good to clean a toilet, y'all!"
As a nod to her personal journey and an ode to all the working women in the world, Taylor, who was named one of Holler's 23 New Artists for 2023, closed her set with "Rich Little Girls", which got the Opry house rocking.
As is standard with an Opry debut, Taylor caught up with the always lovely Kelly Sutton following her performance. Together, the pair chatted about Taylor's first publishing deal, nabbing Sturgill Simpson to co-produce Kentucky Blue, her collection of pigmy goats and miniature donkeys (all named after country icons), and her hometown of Hindman, Kentucky. She also shocked the audience by revealing she's a black belt in karate, and that she used to teach lessons to kids in the local area.
The self-made songstress also shared some of the lessons she’s learned from over the years, saying, "Nashville can be a tough town to figure out who you really are. There are a lot of voices around that say, 'You should be this or that' or 'You should look like that', and at 23, I thought, 'Cool! I'll try that. I'll try anything!'” Taylor continued, “It took me longer, I think, to figure out who I really was and, in order for me to do that, I needed to shut out all of the noise. [Leaving my publishing deal] was the scariest thing I've ever done in my life. I didn't quit because I wanted to or because I wasn't happy. I just knew that if I stayed there, I would never figure out who I was, how I wanted to sound and I’d just be stuck in limbo".
Taylor ended her debut Opry appearance with some introspection, explaining that if she could go back and tell her younger self something it would be to "take in everybody's opinions and advice, then go sit in a quiet room and just try to listen to your heart and your head. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself".
Wrapping up an exciting month of shows, the rising bluegrass starlet will make stops in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri next week.
You can find the full Grand Ole Opry 2023 schedule so far here.
For more on Brit Taylor, see below: