Independent country artist Spencer Crandall will be stepping into the sacred circle at the Grand Ole Opry tonight (Sept. 16) for the very first time. Attending the hallowed venue as a performer has not only been a pipe dream for the promising new artist, but his family.
Crandall had a music-oriented upbringing, as he has core memories of his grandparents folding laundry while listening to the Opry. He distinctly remembers his parents dressing up as legends like Johnny Cash or Dolly Parton and pretending they were sitting in the church-like pews. So when Crandall received the prestigious invitation, his folks cried tears of joy.
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” Crandall told CMT. “It was one of those moments, where I’ve worked really hard to get where I am. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like the work is paying off. It felt like every sleepless night, every bad song I’ve ever written, and every bad show I ever played was worth it. Certain moments are super validating and make you feel like you’re doing the right thing. It’s very humbling and so surreal to be part of what is one of the coolest traditions in country music.”
Crandall mentioned that his long-time friend and manager, Jeff Cherry broke the career-altering news following an early morning workout. Cherry was running through Crandall’s jammed-packed schedule, when he nonchalantly snuck in his debut date.
“He started recording me, and I thought it was because we were trying to get some behind-the-scenes stuff. I was like, ‘maybe he wants to show post-workout or a casual conversation,’” Crandall recalled. “He started listing some stuff. He was like, ‘well, you got the Grand Ole Opry on September 16.’ It didn’t register in my brain at first. We both cried, laughed, and even hugged. Jeff and I have been together for almost eight years. So, that was a really cool moment for us to share,” he added.
The Colorado native is a self-taught musician destined to leave a significant mark on the country music landscape. While the progressive artist might be new to some, he has been navigating the streets of Nashville since 2016. Crandall proudly wears his heart on his sleeve, which is evident in his confessional lyrics. His undeniable country-pop sound intertwined with his rich storytelling, turned Crandall into a must-watch artist. The singer-songwriter quickly cultivated a loyal fan base of 2.5M followers on TikTok alone, garnered more than 250M total career streams, and performed alongside hitmakers Morgan Wallen, Lauren Alaina, Dustin Lynch, Scotty McCreery, and more.
Although Crandall is a natural on stage with his contagious energy and charming appeal, he turned to creatives within the genre for advice on how to tackle his Opry appearance.
“Everyone is just reminding me to be present,” shared the breakout star. “They say, ‘dude, really take that whole weekend in and make it a thing.’ I’m really going to push myself to take a bunch of mental screen grabs. I’m playing the Grand Ole Opry the same night as Brad Paisley, which is surreal. He’s like one of my favorites in the whole world. I remember listening to ‘Mud On The Tires’ in my truck for about nine hours straight. It’s moments like these where I’m like, ‘This is real. This is happening. I’m not just in my dorm room making music anymore.’”
Crandall confirmed that he will be delivering fan favorites “My Person” and “Made” from his fourth studio album, “Western.” He said that the two tracks had played a vital role in his artistry thus far, making it appropriate to share during his Opry set. The heartwarming love song “My Person” lives on his 2020 record “Wilderness” and reached No.1 on SiriusXM’s “Hot 30 Weekend Countdown.”
“It’s going to be ‘My Person’ and ‘Made.’ Both those songs have really changed my life,” uttered Crandall. “We have so many people flying in from out of state, who have bought tickets as fans. It feels like I should be playing the stuff that brought me to the dance.”
The TikTok sensation turned country mainstay said that his fans turned his Opry dream into a reality. Before taking the stage at the historic theater, he wants his devoted community to know how “grateful” he is for the unimaginable opportunity.
“I don’t have some billion-dollar budget. I don’t have a massive record label. I’m a kid of the internet. People who found me and loved on me, are the reason that I am where I am today,” he clarified. “That’s a very different relationship. It’s something else when your fans are directly responsible for your successes. I feel so indebted to those people who take the time to pre-save, who take the time to come to a show, get a babysitter, and hotel. I just want all my fans to know that I’m so blessed. I just feel very grateful,” he concluded.