Country singer Mandy Barnett is the latest artist to be invited to join the Grand Ole Opry. Barnett was surprised on her birthday (Sept. 28) with an invitation to join when Opry member Connie Smith shared the news with the singer while reading from Barnett’s birthday card.  Said Smith: “You’ve felt like family since we first met, and on this, your special day, we’re honored to invite you to become an official member of the Grand Ole Opry!”  

Barnett , who’s performed on the Opry stage over 500 times, said: “This is the happiest day of my life! I came here back in the 80’s and met so many of the greats that came before me like Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Jean Shepard, Billy Walker — and you Connie. I made my Opry debut in 1994 and I’ve had so many supporters who have rooted for me and been nice to me all these years.”

Barnett will be officially inducted into the Opry later this fall. She’s also set to appear in each of the Opry’s four “Opry Country Christmas” shows debuting this holiday season at the Opry House. Barnett first rose to fame as the star of Always…Patsy Cline, a jukebox musical about Patsy Cline. In 2020, Barnett released A Nashville Songbook, and her latest album is Every Star Above, a celebration of Billie Holiday’s ‘Lady in Satin.’

Editorial credit: Creative Jen Designs /