Blake Shelton Reveals Opry Induction Celebration Plans
Blake Shelton's career was forever changed September 28, when he was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. The message was sent via Twitter, but brought to Blake's attention on the Opry stage by his 'Hillbilly Bone' duet partner, Trace Adkins. The evening, which marked the reopening of the Opry House following the devastation left by May's flood, is significant to Blake for both reasons.
"Not only was it a big deal for me to perform at the rebirth of the Grand Ole Opry, but to be asked to be the newest member made it that more special," Blake tells The Boot. "I immediately called my mom, my dad, my sister and then Larry and Carole Large, who are a couple of people who helped me get started in the music industry. They all live back in Oklahoma, so I said, 'I'm going to hire a separate tour bus that's going to leave Nashville come and pick y'all up and bring you to the induction.' I wanted it to be a reflection on all the way back when I was 14, learning how to play the guitar. These people were the ones who were around me as my support team. I want them all to be there that night."
In addition to those who helped Blake foster his talent at a young age, there are numerous industry people who've undoubtedly assisted in shaping his career. "We've invited about 65 of the core group of people who have been instrumental in helping along the way," Blake assures. "I don't know how many will show up, but that was a hard list to sit down and write. For the most part, they're all still around. It ranges from someone who's not even in the industry anymore, but was important to me in getting a foot hold in Nashville, to someone like Narvel Blackstock [Blake's manager and Reba's husband]. There are so many people that if you take one of them out of this equation, who knows if I would be sitting here right now."
While Blake's partying antics may be well-known on the pages of Twitter, don't expect anything crazy when he is officially inducted into the Opry tomorrow night, October 23. "There are two different types of celebrations," Blake explains. "The first is when you win an ACM Award celebration where you have a throw down party that night and act like an idiot. Then there's a celebration like being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. We will be celebrating and having a few drinks, but I think we'll just go out for a nice dinner, soak in that moment and appreciate it for what it is."
While honored to be joining the famed-institution, Blake wasn't always sure membership was for him. "I talked to Steve Buchanan [SVP of Media and Entertainment for the Opry's parent company, Gaylord Entertainment| one day about me and the future of the Opry," Blake confesses. "I told him he should be careful with someone like me as a member of the Opry, because I know it comes with a big responsibility. I didn't know what they envisioned for the image of the Grand Ole Opry, and I'm kind of the redheaded stepchild of the country music industry. I wanted him to be sure and think about that."
What was it that eased Blake's fears? "Steve said they already had, and he reminded me that the Grand Ole Opry is nothing but a showcase for artists to go out there and be themselves," Blake explains. "It has turned into what it is because of the artists that have been on that stage, they make it what they want it to be."
Another milestone in Blake's life comes November 9, when his first-ever greatest hits package 'Loaded: The Best of Blake Shelton' is released.