Go Behind-the-Scenes at Blanco Brown's Grand Ole Opry Debut: 'It Felt Unreal'
Stepping onto the stage for the first time
For Brown, Tuesday night's debut is the most special performance of his career.
"It felt unreal and it still hasn’t kicked in. Just next level — I really don’t have the words to describe the feeling but the room energy was amazing," he tells PEOPLE. "I saw the people smiling and waiting to clap, and then they clapped.”
The calm before the storm
The singer wants fans to learn something from his music. "The premise of it all was to make it a body of work that has lessons within the messages,” he says. “You can listen to the songs and not notice you’re listening to a lesson until you get to the end. I wanted to make music that you can just enjoy. But at the end of it all, it has depth and meaning. I’m just bringing joy to people and being a light.”
Making his Opry debut
The rising country star, who topped the chart with his hit song "The Git Up" over the summer, shares the heartwarming story behind the track.
"I titled the song 'The Git Up' in dedication to my grandmother. She used to slap the Vaseline on our faces, in a loving manner, and say, 'Git up.' That meant finding purpose in your day. You had to make sure you were up and adequate, up and out. If you hear the song, even if you’re not standing and even if you can’t stand, it still lifts your spirit."
Captivating the crowd
The star, who has been on the rise all year, has big plans for 2020.
"I’ll continue doing what I’ve been doing throughout of my life, and that’s doing things full of purpose and continuously making music that people can share with anyone, without discrepancies," he says. "Music with a meaning, music with a story."
The rising star is inspired by hip-hop and rap music as well as country when he creates the unique sound which he dubs "trailer trap."
"Collaborating the two worlds is just natural to me. I grew up listening to Johnny Cash and OutKast, everything from Project Pat to Three 6 Mafia. It’s something that I think chose me," he explains. "I get to implement the two things that I love the most into one sound. I'm just able to make music freely that I love."
Enjoying the moment
Brown is motivated by his love for music. "Chase purpose, not money," he says. "To me, it used to be about the dollar, making money, making that make sense but it never made sense when you look at the overall picture. I just find so much fulfillment in knowing that I’m supposed to be doing what I’m doing and not worrying about the charts, but worrying about the hearts. I say chase hearts, not charts."
Meeting Charley Pride backstage
For Brown, performing at Nashville's iconic Ryman Auditorium was a dream come true. He met one of his inspirations Tuesday night, country music legend Charley Pride.
"He told me one of his most memorable moments, out of all his great memorable moments, is being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame," Brown tells PEOPLE. "He remembers being on the road back in the day and how things have changed. He’s seen the worst.”
Parking pass to go
The singer reveals who he would like to make music with.
"In a perfect world, I would have loved to collaborate with Johnny Cash," he says. "Outside of Johnny Cash and all the other greats — from Aretha Franklin to Don Cook and Donny Hathaway — I would want to collaborate with anyone that has meaning throughout their music. Someone who isn’t just trying to make one song to appease the world, but someone who stands for the music they create."
The story behind the song
The singer tells PEOPLE how he created his hit song, "The Git Up."
"I got a lap steel from one of my friends and I came up with a nice loop, then I added beat boxing and anything I could find to it," he says. "I made a track and I was like, ‘This is so full of joy, this is so happy’ so I wanted the words to complement it. I started writing the lyrics and I was doing the dance at the same time, making sure it all worked together, and it did. So that’s how 'The Git Up' was born."
On next steps
The country singer teamed up with Parmalee for his next work, a single titled "Just the Way." Of the new song, he says "it’ll be out sooner than later. I know it’s gonna be uplifting and healing to the world. The song has a message and I love what it stands for."