Luke Combs on Grand Ole Opry Membership: ‘It Will Always and Forever Be the No. 1 Achievement’
Luke Combs officially became the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry family on Tuesday evening (July 16), on a night when every artist on the bill also happened to be a member of the hallowed country music organization. A host of Opry members who count Combs as a close friend joined him onstage for the special moment: The Gatlin Brothers, Dustin Lynch, Chris Janson, Mark Wills and Craig Morgan all stood by as Combs prepared to be inducted.
Backstage before the ceremony, Combs insisted that he truly had no idea which artists would be formally inducting him into the Opry. "I have literally zero idea," he said, adding that after hearing the news that he was going to become a member, everything else was just gravy.
"If it was any of you, I'd be just as excited," he joked to the press. "It's just being asked, and being here tonight with my family and the people I love is enough for me. But I'm excited to see who it is. For sure."
Vince Gill and Joe Diffie ultimately did the honors, surprising Combs onstage.
"This is what dreams are made of, right here," Gill mused during the ceremony. "If you'll come here and you'll invest in the people and this stage, you'll get back a hundred fold what you ever give to this place."
"I remember being asked to be a member of the Opry, and it was like a dream," Diffie added. "And it still feels like a dream, even to this day."
Gill and Diffie are two of Combs' longtime musical idols, and the evening's new inductee shared backstage that Gill was, in fact, the very first artist he ever saw in concert. That experience, just like the experience of being inducted by Gill on Tuesday night, was a complete surprise to Combs.
"I was six years old, and my mom and grandmother -- both of whom are in attendance tonight -- took me for my birthday that year," Combs recalled. "They took me to the Charlotte Knights Minor League Baseball stadium, but they made me lay down in the backseat of the car -- which, nowadays, I feel like would be very frowned upon, if you were to be pulled over with a 6-year-old child in the backseat, but back then it was cool.
"So we showed up and they surprised me: We weren't going to a baseball game, we were actually going to a Vince Gill concert," he continued. For the budding Gill superfan, it was the perfect surprise -- with one exception: "I actually missed my favorite song that night. I started crying, because there was thunder in the background, so we ended up leaving early.
"So I'm hoping to get to hear "I Still Believe in You" tonight, maybe," Combs added, "if I can go in Vince's dressing room and convince him to do that."
Combs has hit a number of milestones in his short career already, from earning No. 1s at country radio to headlining amphitheater shows and beyond, but the singer says being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry tops them all.
"Being asked was the most amazing, overwhelming, flattering, humbling experience that I've ever had," he relates. "It definitely will always and forever be the No. 1 career achievement for me, over winning this or winning that, going to this or selling out that.
"This is the thing that nobody can ever take away from me," Combs says, "which is I think what I'm so proud of."
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