Lauren Alaina Is a Grateful Grand Ole Opry Member [EXCLUSIVE]

One of Lauren Alaina‘s biggest dreams came true earlier this year, when she was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. The American Idol alum officially became a member on February 12, inducted by Trisha Yearwood, who also invited Alaina to become a member.

More than eight months after her induction, Alaina is still trying to absorb the significance of becoming an official Opry member.

“I don’t even know still how to explain what it means to me,” Alaina tells Everything Nash. “My entire life, all I remember is being a little girl and thinking that I’ve gotta make it to the Grand Opry. If I ever get to the Grand Ole Opry, I will have made it. So to not only get there and get to perform, but to be welcomed into the family. It’s just unbelievable. It was my dad’s dream to play at the Grand Ole Opry, so I inherited it from him. And as a daddy’s girl, those are some big shoes to fill.

“It’s meant so much to me, and honestly, I will never, ever, ever achieve anything that means more to me than that, genuinely, ever,” she adds. “It was the best day of my life.”

Alaina had made no secret of her desire to be a Grand Ole Opry member, but she was unaware it would come when it did, especially because the Opry had recently inducted Mandy Barnett, another female artist, the previous November.

“My manager played it off,” Alaina remembers. “Obviously she knew, and she was like, ‘I’ve been talking to them about it.’ ‘Cause, every time I would go there, I was like, ‘I wanna be a member.’ I said it from stage every time I was there. And so she said to me, multiple times, ‘I’ve been talking to them, and they think that it looks pretty good for next year.’ So I had just kind of put it out of my mind, because it was December when they asked. So I thought, ‘Well, maybe it’ll be the next year. I had no idea. No clue. I was genuinely, purely shocked.”

Alaina gave a heartfelt speech from the stage on the night of her induction, praising her heritage that led her right to the Opry.

“Since I was a little girl I dreamed of this moment,” Alaina said during her induction ceremony. “My family’s very musical. My dad grew up playing the banjo, and he dreamed of playing the Grand Ole Opry. Both of my parents raised me with a huge appreciation for country music and all that it is, and all of the people  … who have come before me. I just want to say that I promise to do everything I can to represent country music. I heard today that I am now the youngest living member of the Grand Ole Opry. That’s pretty cool.

“I promise to represent this family well,” she continued. “I have felt like a family here as long as I remember … Everyone at the Opry has always made me feel like family, so for me to finally be officially in is the biggest dream come true of all time. Most little girls dreamed of their wedding; I dreamed of this. So hopefully now I can have a wedding, and we’ll be set. God bless you guys and God bless country music.”

Alaina’s next scheduled performance is on November 19, alongside Mark Wills and Alexandra Kay, with more artists expected to be announced shortly. Tickets are available here.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Schmidt Relations / Chris Hollo

Read ’10 Country Artists Who Should Be Grand Ole Opry Members’ here.