ERNEST Talks “Surreal” Grand Ole Opry Experience With Morgan Wallen: “I Was Living My Dream”

At just 10-years-old, ERNEST took his very first trip to The Grand Ole Opry, and when he stepped foot within the legendary circle – he made a promise to himself that he would return to the sacred venue as a…


Music Mayhem


Posted on February 4, 2022

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Morgan Wallen & ERNEST; Photo Courtesy of @Opry/Instagram

At just 10-years-old, ERNEST took his very first trip to The Grand Ole Opry, and when he stepped foot within the legendary circle – he made a promise to himself that he would return to the sacred venue as a successful artist.

Dressed to the nines in a rose embellished suit, the critically acclaimed singer/songwriter turned his fantasy into a reality on Saturday, January 8. With the Opry band backing his contagious vocals, ERNEST made his debut in the sacred circle with the fan-favorite track “American Rust,” further proving that he is a country music mainstay.

“It was a childhood dream come true,” the singer exclusively told Music Mayhem in an interview. “Especially as a Nashville kid, it doesn’t get better than that. To me, performing at the Opry is more special than playing at an award show, playing at the Grammys! When I was 10-years-old, I stood in the circle and looked around, and I was like, ‘I want to do this when I grow up.” he said about his “wicked surreal” performance.

Morgan Wallen & ERNEST; Photo Courtesy of @Opry/Instagram
Morgan Wallen & ERNEST; Photo Courtesy of @Opry/Instagram

While many musicians experience the career milestone solo, ERNEST had the opportunity to embrace the unforgettable evening with his best friend Morgan Wallen by his side. The Nashville native was in attendance to join forces on their chart-topping collaboration “Flower Shops.”

As the songwriter turned singer gushed about his time on stage, he did not fail to mention that Wallen blessed him with a few words of wisdom in the dressing room prior to the show. “There was so much going on backstage, but they asked Morgan to give me a piece of advice, and he said, ‘don’t freak out,’” he laughed while recalling the short but memorable moment.

Although Wallen’s advice was brief, ERNEST confirmed that he shares an unbreakable bond that goes beyond their musical relationship. It was high school when the two first crossed paths and formed a sticky rivalry after playing against each other in baseball. Yet, it was their love for music and songwriting that brought them together.


@ernest615 made his @opryofficial debut and @morganwallen joined him for a performance of FlowerShops! #Ernest #MorganWallen #Opry #Nashville

♬ Flower Shops (feat. Morgan Wallen) – ERNEST

ERNEST told Music Mayhem that sharing the spotlight with Wallen was like a “movie dream scenario,” as “Flower Shops” was one of his favorite tracks to pen. “I was living my dream, and we were singing one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written,” he revealed while also laughing about the infectious energy that constantly consumes the concert hall. “I feel like whatever energy that creeps around and hangs out in the Grand Ole Opry setting from our forefathers, I just hope that they were sitting in the front row and loving all of it.”

The Opry was not the first time the vocalist performed the mid-tempo anthem, as he had been sharing “Flower Shops” way before it hit streaming platforms. “Long before it was out, I performed it live at the Whiskey Jam 10 Year reunion at The Ryman. At that time – I would assume my label would’ve wanted me to play ‘American Rust’ or something, but I was like, ‘I’m going to play ‘Flower Shops.’ I got a standing ovation, and it felt so good,” ERNEST shared. “That song to me was built to be played at The Ryman and the Grand Ole Opry.”

Nashville’s most promising artist said that the career-altering single came to him and co-writer Ben Burgess while driving to the writing session. “The song was mostly written in the car on the way to write. Ben Burgess and I were just kind of talking this song out, and then Mark Hollman picked up a guitar and put the melody down,” he disclosed about the writing process. “Pieces came together, but the song was pretty much ready to go other than the melody, which we needed.”

ERNEST continued to share that most of his ideas come to him while driving in silence in the car. “It’s hard to snap into creativity, which is what we’re kind of expected to do every day from 11 to three when we write,” the “Cheers” singer said. However, he revealed that his “secret” recipe to a quality song is simply just to freestyle.

“I’ll start freestyling, and then some ideas will come. I freestyle almost everything I write… It’s not really writing. I just kind of spit stuff out. So, when I’m in my freestyling mode, I would say I’m the most creative,” the critically acclaimed song smith said, full of excitement.

ERNEST stressed that “freestyling” has become a norm among songwriters because of rap culture and how specific techniques quickly integrated themselves into the country music space.

“I don’t sit there and try to overthink line by line,” says ERNEST about his unique process before confirming that he will remain striking a delicate balance between modern and traditional country. “I’m actually going to stay pretty much toeing the line on the traditional countryside. There will be fresh ideas and fresh melodies, but I’m not just going to be doing rip-off nineties country. I think in general, the freestyle side of writing is going to be more popular.”

The fresh, yet old-world sound within “Flower Shops” serves as an introduction to the star’s forthcoming debut album – set to drop in the spring.

ERNEST is currently rounding out his full-length LP in the studio and on the road with Chris Lane. Tickets to see the innovative artist and savvy songwriter out on tour are available to purchase, HERE.

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