KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Country singer Carly Pearce, who started her career at 16 as a performer at Dollywood‘s Country Crossroads, got the surprise of a lifetime when Dolly Parton broke the news to her that she’d been invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Carly Pearce first broke through in 2017 when her song ‘Every Little Thing’ reached the top of the Billboard Country Airplay chart. On June 17, she was invited to the Grand Ole Opry under the guise that she would be filming a promotional video for Dollywood.

While explaining her earliest memory of Dollywood as a five-year-old, Parton enters stage right to congratulate Pearce on her success since her days as a performer at the Pigeon Forge park and break the big news.

When Dolly asks how she managed to perform at the Grand Ole Opry 80 times, she responded she was just trying to, “follow in your [Dolly’s] footsteps.”

“Well, I came here today to tell you you are now an official member of the Grand Ole Opry,” Parton said as Pearce cries tears of joy.

She later wrote on Twitter, “Dreams come true… sometimes even better than you dare to dream. I couldn’t be more happy or honored the be the newest member of the @opry.”

Considered one of country music’s biggest honors, just over 200 acts have received membership to the Grand Ole Opry since the program began. According to, members are selected by the show’s management on the basis of career accomplishments and commitment to appearing on the weekly program.

Opry members have permission to perform at any Opry show they wish, with each show typically consisting of between five and seven members. An induction ceremony for Carly Pearce will be held on Tuesday, August 3.