“When the question was asked ‘Have you been invited back to the Grand Ole Opry?’ all I could say was, ‘Not yet,'” says Wright, who made her Opry debut in 1989
In September 1989, Wellsville, Kansas, native Chely Wright made the first of many appearances on the Grand Ole Opry, a venue that would become an important touchstone in her career. But after coming out as a lesbian in 2010, Wright, now 48, went more than nine years without an invitation to come play the hallowed stage. That is, until August 10th, nearly 30 years after her debut.
As Opry member Jeannie Seely introduced her to rousing applause, Wright performed the familiar hits “Shut Up and Drive” and “Single White Female” — the latter of which she ended with a slight lyrical change, singing, “A single white female, looking for a girl like you.” Yet it was the singer’s poignant recollection of her Opry debut that proved most telling. “I played the Grand Ole Opry for the first time 30 years ago this year. I was introduced and brought on stage by the King of Country Music, Mr. Roy Acuff,” Wright said onstage. “And as I walked offstage, full house, flashbulbs were going off, I thought to myself, ‘If I never get to do anything else again, if I never make it in Nashville, I just played the Grand Ole Opry.’”