Entertainment Music Country Nate Smith Takes PEOPLE Inside His Grand Ole Opry Debut: 'I Was Scared to Death' Smith made his Grand Ole Opry debut on April 9 — and he's walking PEOPLE through the "emotional" night, which he dedicated to his grandparents. By Tricia Despres Published on April 13, 2022 08:50 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos Nate Smith. Photo: Chris Ashlee 01 of 07 Nate and the CORE Entertainment Management Team Nate Smith. Chris Ashlee "My management team signed me right when I got to Nashville when I literally had nothing going on, so they were there along with people from my record label and my publishing team. And then, some of the Opry staff were there and believe me when I say they are absolutely world-class human beings. They truly made me feel comfortable in every single way. I'm just glad that everybody was there in those moments leading up to my Opry debut. It really put me at ease." 02 of 07 Smiling From Above Nate Smith. Chris Ashlee "It truly meant the world to me to walk under that awning. I wouldn't even have known much about country music if it wasn't for my grandparents. They passed a few years back, but they really showed me what country music was all about. I really felt like they were smiling down on me at that exact moment." 03 of 07 An Emotional Moment Nate Smith. Chris Ashlee "When you're back there getting ready to do soundcheck, they bring you out, so you have an opportunity to step into the circle or not step into the circle before your performance. Well, I listened to my heart, and I decided to step in and get comfortable. And I'm glad I did. There's a creak that I heard when I stepped in the circle, and it was just a really emotional moment. It definitely brought tears to my eyes." 04 of 07 In Good Company Nate Smith. Chris Ashlee "I was so nervous. I don't even know if nervous is the right word. I was scared to death. But as soon as I walked out there, I saw my mom and dad and I thought to myself, 'OK, I'm good. I'm in good company.' And then I started singing, and it just meant so much that my family was there. It was like a family reunion. That's what meant the most…to see the people I love all in one place." 05 of 07 Good Friends Nate Smith and Tenille Townes. Chris Ashlee "Tenille Townes brought me back up on stage to do the duet version we put out of 'I Don't Wanna Go to Heaven.' I was really nervous before I came out, so she ended up using some reverse psychology on me, where she was telling me it was just a normal stage and there was nothing to be worried about. So, I went out there, I came back, and she was like, 'That is not just a stage. I had to trick to make you think it was going to be OK.' (Laughs.) She's a good friend. She really is." 06 of 07 For Loved Ones Nate Smith. Chris Ashlee "I dedicated my entire set to my grandparents. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have known about the Grand Ole Opry. Performing on that stage was the biggest honor of my entire life. I can't even begin to describe how thankful I am." 07 of 07 A Souvenir Nate Smith. Chris Ashlee "I'm looking at that sign right now. (Laughs.) Actually, I'm going to hang it up in my recording studio, so I have something special to look at to remind me of that night."