'American Idol' Alum Tristan McIntosh Talks Grand Ole Opry Debut
The teenage country singer was first invited to the famed venue by Darius Rucker.
Most 16-year-olds don't get to invite their friends to see them perform at the Grand Ole Opry. But American Idol season 15 alum Tristan McIntosh is an exception.
The teenager from Nashville will be making her official on-the-bill debut at the famed venue on Saturday. It's not her first time to the Opry, though -- onstage or off.
"I saw the Isaacs and Mo Pitney," she told Billboard of her first time in the Opry audience. "It was very exciting because I was there with my grandfather and seeing the smile on his face as he watched the stage was priceless."
Then, the weekend after her Idol elimination, McIntosh was visiting her grandparents' home when her grandfather told her that Darius Rucker was headlining at the Opry a couple days later.
"I decided to tweet Darius," said McIntosh. "I wrote, 'Would love to be your sidekick on Tuesday at the Opry!' I didn't expect anything to come of it. Twenty minutes later I got a response: 'Come on out if you're in Nashville.' Well, I was in Nashville! I DM'ed him for more information and he sent me backstage passes. When we got there we were talking to him and Pete Fisher [vice president and general manager of the Opry] walked by and asked me if I'd like to make my Opry debut. I couldn't speak for a solid 10 seconds. When I finally regained my voice, I said yes. Soon after, I'm on the Opry stage and Darius is introducing me to the crowd. Then, when I was ready to walk off, Darius asked me, 'Would you like to sing this last song with me?' It was one my favorites: 'Wagon Wheel.' Again, I said yes, because you can't turn down an opportunity like that. I'm just glad I knew the song. That concluded one of the best nights of my life."
McIntosh will be joining artists like Bill Anderson, Steve Wariner, Holly Williams and Jeannie Seely on the Grand Ole Opry stage on May 14. Performing live at the Opry is literally a dream come true for the youngster who grew up listening to Martina McBride, Lonestar, Garth Brooks and Carrie Underwood.
"Singing at the Opry has always been one of my goals for my career," she said. "It's hard to believe that a year ago I was just singing a little in downtown Nashville and that was it. Now I've performed with Kellie Pickler, Mickey Guyton and Darius."
McIntosh has been busy since the Idol finale on April 7. "I've been doing a lot of co-writing with many hit songwriters in Nashville, which is exciting for me. I want to write with as many people as possible, because you can't make an album without songs. I've also been booking shows for the summer, to get as much onstage experience as I can."
As for her live set at the Opry, McIntosh told Billboard, "I have decided what songs I'm going to do, but that's going to be a surprise -- unless you follow me on Twitter and I accidentally leak one of the songs."