(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — There’s something incredibly powerful about a dream, and for Kayla Slone, hers came to life under the bright lights of the Grand Ole Opry with thousands of people on their feet.
“It made me realize that this is what I could do for the rest of my life,” Slone said of her performance of Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter” at the Opry Saturday.
Slone, 21, was first discovered singing her heart out behind the checkout line at a Walmart in coal-mining country West Virginia. One of her customers recorded a video of her that spread far and wide on the Internet.
Her story was first reported on ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer in February. She shared that she dreamed of one day performing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn. The people who run the Opry were watching and listening that night, and decided to invite her to Nashville to sing.
“We’re about putting smiles on people’s faces and making dreams come true,” Pete Fisher, the vice president and general manager for the Opry, said. “Country music at its best is about real people singing real stories about real life. How the chips fall oftentimes in the music industry can be very hard to predict, but it starts with a voice and a passion and we’re happy to give her a stage.”
The night before her powerful performance, Slone worked at that same Walmart in Logan, W.Va., while her husband, a coal miner, went to work, too. They drove to Nashville at midnight, after he finished the second shift.
As she prepared for her big night at the Opryland Hotel, Slone got a surprise call from Loretta Lynn wishing her well.
“I think talking to Loretta helped me a lot,” Slone said. “She told me that she loved me, and she said she would be watching and I said it was an honor to sing her song. That’s the music that I grew up listening to and that’s what I want to sing.”
Megastars Taylor Swift and Alan Jackson once waited in Slone’s same dressing room, and after only one short practice, it was Slone’s time to shine.
“I can never give up now,” Slone said. “This is what’s going to happen for me.”
For now, however, she’s due back at Walmart Tuesday.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Brian Stelter, CNN
Jackie Wattles, CNN
David Goldman, CNN
Noelle Baldwin, Deseret News