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Throwback: 11-Year-Old Emmy Russell Makes Grandma Loretta Lynn Proud With Emotional “If I Die Young”

emmy russell and Loretta Lynn

Emmy Russell became an instant American Idol favorite after her tear-jerking audition, but her grandma, Loretta Lynn, recognized her gifts years ago. 

Loretta and her husband, Doolittle “Mooney” Lynn, began a country music dynasty after they married and had six children—who went on to give them 25 grandchildren. Five of their kids grew up and became Music City singers and songwriters, and several of their grandkids are forging music careers today. 

Emmy Russell Poses With Loretta Lynn

Emmy Russell quickly jumped into the limelight when Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie handed her a ticket to Hollywood. But despite her seeming newcomer status, fans are just now learning that Emmy has been performing and recording for some time.

The 25-year-old has currently two singles—Skinny and Breakup Song—that are available on major music streamers. She’s also co-penned with country songwriters Chris Rafetto and Kenny Foster. But out of everything, singing from the famed circle at the Grand Ole Opry is likely her biggest accolade. 

Loretta Lynn Loved Watching Emmy Russell Shine

Emmy Russell actually took an industry hiatus when she was in her 20s, saying she ran from her “family heritage” to “forge” her “own path.” But she fully embraces the music in her bones now, and she also embraced it as a child. 

Loretta Lynn recognized her grandaughter’s talent long ago and helped her shine by sharing the stage with her. The late country legend invited Emmy on stage several times, and a 2012 performance gave country fans a true glimpse of what was to come. 

At just 11 years old, Emmy Russell serenaded the crowd with an emotional rendition of If I Die Young by The Band Perry. While she seemed a bit timid at the start, she quickly found her confidence and captivated not only the audience but also her grandma. 

Loretta Lynn stood close by as Emmy strummed her guitar, and she beamed with pride and adoration while fans erupted in cheers. 

We know that Loretta would still be proud of Emmy today, and we’re looking forward to watching her career unfold on American Idol and beyond.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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