Nashville-area native and The Valory Music Co. recording artist Conner Smith recently made his Grand Ole Opry debut with a song he wrote when he was 14 years old, inspired by his great grandparents.
The young teen wrote “Jesus & Me” alone. At the time, his mom, Jennifer, told him that he would sing that song on the Opry stage one day. With that in mind, when it came time for Smith to finalize the songs for his debut, he knew he had to perform “Jesus & Me.” Then, he decided to keep it a surprise for his family. The moment earned him a standing ovation.
“‘Jesus & Me’ is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written because my great grandparents were a staple in our family,” Smith said in a statement. “Saturday morning, my dad gifted me a memento of my great grandfather’s to have with me as I made my Opry debut. Knowing that I’d be surprising my parents later that night by performing that song made it even more special.”
His parents were shocked by his sentimental song choice.
“We were all such (an emotional) mess,” his mother shared on Facebook. “Conner’s emotions on stage and the standing ovation after are what Opry moments are made of and just another example of God’s faithfulness. We couldn’t be more grateful.”
Smith had more than 60 family and friends cheering him on from the audience. He kicked things off with his Top-40-and-rising single “Learn From It,” from his new EP “Didn’t Go Too Far.” Smith’s relationship with the Grand Ole Opry dates back to when he was a child. He attended the Opry for the first time when he was six years old. The experience inspired him to write his first song and made him want to be a singer/songwriter. He signed as a songwriter at BMI when he was just 9 years old and had a publishing deal by the time he was in high school. In a recent social video, Smith said that he split his time between Music Row writing songs and Brentwood Academy playing high school sports.
But nothing compares to his Grand Ole Opry debut.
“Making my Grand Ole Opry debut means so much to me because it’s a reminder of the Lord’s faithfulness to me,” Smith said. “It was a moment to look around with gratitude for the support from family and friends and appreciate all the hands that went into making this moment possible. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
And Smith isn’t done yet. His summer is just heating up. He’ll perform in Nashville at CMA Fest on June 10, and then he’ll join Thomas Rhett’s BRING THE BAR TO YOU TOUR on June 17.