Mandy Barnett, one of the most heralded voices in music and a favorite of Grand Ole Opry fans, was surprised on her birthday last night with an invitation to become an official Opry member. Barnett has appeared on the Opry more than 500 times over the course of nearly 30 years. Opry member Connie Smith joined Barnett on stage to lead the Opry audience in “Happy Birthday”, then read a birthday card that included Barnett’s invitation.
“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!” Smith read.
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A visibly shaken Mandy said, “This is the happiest day of my life! I came here back in the ’80s 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.” “Well, honey you’ve earned it,” exclaimed Smith.
Barnett will be formally inducted into the Opry family later this fall. She is also scheduled to appear in each of the Opry’s four “Opry Country Christmas” shows debuting this coming holiday season at the Opry House.
“Night after night, year after year, we’ve been astounded by Mandy’s magnificent performances. She loves the Opry and the Opry loves her right back. It’s a great match now and will be for years to come,” said Dan Rogers, Opry vice president and executive producer.
This great honor comes on the heels of Barnett’s successful 8th studio album, Every Star Above, which she released in May 2021. With Every Star Above, Barnett shared a personal version of an album that greatly inspired her as a young artist, Billie Holiday’s Lady In Satin. Developed alongside the late esteemed arranger Sammy Nestico (Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Michael Bublé, Barbra Streisand), Barnett recorded the project with a 60-piece orchestra. The album reached number one on the iTunes Jazz Charts one day after its release, and it was named one of the best albums of 2021 by Variety magazine.
For more information and a list of upcoming shows and appearances by Mandy Barnett, please visit www.MandyBarnett.com.
About Mandy Barnett: Called the “Nashville Sound Chanteuse” (Music Row) and “the Judy Garland of our time” (American Songwriter), Mandy Barnett has built a reputation for her commanding voice and unwavering devotion to classic country, R&B, and popular standards. Barnett has enchanted listeners around the globe with her world-class vocals and musical chameleon qualities. A Tennessee Music Pathways historical marker in Barnett’s Tennessee hometown honors her contributions in making Tennessee the “Soundtrack of America.” Of this singer’s singer, songwriter’s dream, and audience favorite, renowned songwriter/artist Jimmy Webb states simply, “Mandy Barnett has a voice for the ages.”
Barnett first gained prominence as the original star of one of the first “jukebox” musicals, Always…Patsy Cline at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. She has appeared on “The Tonight Show,” “The Late Show,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” PBS’s “Sessions at West 54th,” PBS’s “Bluegrass Underground,” and numerous other programs. A frequent guest at the Grand Ole Opry, Barnett has performed at some of the most esteemed music venues in the U.S., as well as internationally. The Opry stage, though, remains Barnett’s favorite. She says, “There is absolutely no feeling as incredible as singing on the Grand Ole Opry. It’s a magical place!”
Among the many publications praising Barnett’s talents, the Los Angeles Times heralds her “pipes of steel” and “big” voice. Time, People, Billboard, Rolling Stone, and other major media have likewise extolled Barnett’s superlative vocals, “natural musicality” (People), and “vocal finesse” (New York Times). USA Today calls Barnett one of Nashville’s “finest classic country and torch singers,” while the Chicago Tribune calls Barnett “a torch singer in the grandest sense of the word.”
Last year, Barnett released A Nashville Songbook, naming the album after her touring show. Her latest album, 2021’s Every Star Above, is a celebration of Billie Holiday’s Lady in Satin with arrangements by the late jazz maestro Sammy Nestico.