Ashley McBryde on Her Grand Ole Opry Induction, Women Who Inspire Her and What’s Next
Since the release of her acclaimed 2018 album Girl Going Nowhere, Ashley McBryde has moved from playing small clubs to fan-filled arenas. But the country star says there's something distinctly different about performing at the Grand Ole Opry.
"I'm not a person that gets super nervous," McBryde told Taste of Country during a press conference held just a few hours before she was officially inducted as the Opry's newest member. "Usually, after a performance, I get physical shakes, and I'm like, 'Was it good? I don't know!'"
"It's different at the Opry," she continues. "Usually, I come on from stage right, and as soon as you cross that threshold, it feels like being on a cloud or in another world. It just feels very calm."
The country music institution's legacy and impact were top of mind for McBryde as she prepared for her Dec. 10 induction celebration. When asked how she had prepped for the landmark career moment, the Arkansas native didn't hold back.
"In all honesty, I called my therapist [and asked], 'How do I do this without missing it and without laying on the floor and crying? She was like, 'Good question. Let's work through some things.'"
She voices her appreciation for her bandmates and fellow country musicians who have supported her through the years, including Terri Clark, who joined her on stage during the Opry's Saturday night broadcast. McBryde also notes how she hopes to follow in the footsteps of country trailblazers like Jeannie Seely and Connie Smith.
"I've not really seen a finer example of class and how to carry oneself and how to be one of the most gifted vocalists on the planet and never tell somebody that you are, just show them with very little effort," McBryde says of Smith. "Jeannie Seeley, she'll just pop into your dressing room to say hi, come in and have a Coke or a cup of coffee with you."
She notes how portrait of Tammy Wynette hanging backstage in the Opry's Women of Country-themed dressing room had especially captivated her.
"I usually fixate on Tammy's picture, and I don't know if that's because I want to be Tammy," she explains. "But you just look at her and you go... damn."
After a year of successes, including the release of her acclaimed concept album Lindeville, you might think McBryde would need some time to pause and plan for her next moves. But she already has her next big career achievement in her sights.
"There were some team members that weren't able to be here tonight, so of course, they called and said, 'I'm so sorry, I'm not gonna be able to be there for your induction.' And I said, 'That's okay. Just make sure you're there when I headline Red Rocks. I didn't realize that was so at the forefront of my brain, but there's that goal. We can see it."