The singer-songwriter talks her new album, Dolly Parton and healing.

Carly Pearce
Carly Pearce

Carly Pearce just received two more CMA Awards nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year for 29, but this last year has not been all celebrations for the smoky-voiced alto. Her critically acclaimed record 29 was born her real life pain and soul-shaking challenges. She lost her producer to cancer and her marriage ended around the same time, you could say she pulled up her bootstraps to say, “Only will the truth set you free” and through her strength and resilience, she weathered the storm as her life unraveled her music lifted her up. She began healing through her writing and realized she had eight more songs to add to her original seven from 29, thus 29: WRITTEN IN STONE was born. She sings about realizing, accepting, laughing, crying and moving on wiser for the experiences.

Carly also scored a surprise invite to become an official member of the Grand Ole Opry family by Dolly Parton, one of her greatest sources of inspiration, it was the first time Dolly asked someone to become a member of the country’s longest running institution, a dream come true for any country singer. It was the Grand Ole Opry that brought together, “Dear Miss Loretta,” a personal outreach to the truth-telling Country Music Hall of Famer Loretta Lynn featuring Country icon Patty Loveless. Only the second woman to win the CMA Album of the Year, Loveless was listening to the Opry when she heard Pearce perform the ballad, and asked to be able to sing Carly’s words. 29: WRITTEN IN STONE is about healing and triumph, and reminds us we can thrive even in the darkest moments, something we all could use to remember during the strange times we are living in. Carly’s back on the road performing again but took some time to talk Dolly Parton, guilty pleasures, how it feels to have 1 billion streams and how she’s doing now.

Check out the interview below now…

Carly, we saw on social media you’re back on the road! Yay! Tell us what you were up to when you couldn’t tour and what is in store for us from you now that you can again?
I was focusing on writing and recording my new record, 29: Written In Stone! It was so nice to honestly have the space and time to only focus on the music.

At 16 you went to work at Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s amusement park. What made you choose that? How did that impact your life till today?
I always wanted to sing, and knew I wanted to eventually move to Nashville and saw this as a good stepping stone. I think I learned so much about work ethic, performing 6 shows a day 5 days a week.

You recently had the honor of being induced to the Grand Ole Opry, such a special experience! Please tell us all about how it happened? We heard you’re the first artist Dolly Parton invited herself too?! What was it like? What were you surprised by about once you performed?
Being a member of the Grand Ole Opry has been my lifelong dream. To be asked by such a legend as Dolly was so special to me, and full circle given my time at Dollywood. Then having Trisha Yearwood induct me, who has been such a huge influence was so special. The whole entire night was so special and one that I’ll never forget.

You have new music coming out September 17th; 29: Written in Stone via Big Machine Records!! what can we expect to experience from these new songs? What is similar to your past music and what is different?
I think this will give the full story of the last year and a half of my life. So much has happened that I felt so inspired to write about. I think this music is the most pure, raw and authentic music I’ve ever made. It’s also the first time that I’ve written every single song on an album so I’m proud of that.

“Next Girl” is already a Gold certified hit and will be on this new record, was this song based on real life? Where did you shoot the video and what was the inspiration?
This song was inspired by real-life experiences of myself and so many other women I know. We all go through the same things. The music video was shot in Nashville and I had such a good time playing different characters for the first time.

You collaborated with Patty Loveless on “Dear Miss Loretta” and Ashley McBryde on “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” – how did you decide to work with them? Tell us about those songs?
I am such a huge fan of Patty and knew I wanted to have her on this record. She loves Loretta just like me, so it was a special moment for both of us being from Kentucky to honor such a legend. Ashley and I grew up on similar music, so I have always felt like we sing from the same place. Writing “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” with her was so special and I can’t wait for people to hear it.

You wrote all 15 tracks on this album, tell us what that process was like? Where did you record the album?
We recorded the album in Nashville. I didn’t feel like anyone would be able to write these songs other than me, given the last few years of my life.

In the past year you’ve had some major success, during a pandemic no less, your first CMA and ACM Award wins, 1 billion career streams, RIAA MULTI-PLATINUM, PLATINUM AND GOLD certifications, to name a few! What has this been like for you? Did you expect this? Plan for it? Who helped you most get here?
It has been the most incredible year. I have had so many dreams come to fruition in a time that I needed them most. I feel like my parents are the ones who have continued at every step to believe in me. I always hoped these things would happen, but am so very grateful that they actually have.

How did the pandemic change your perspective on life and what do you feel is a positive thing that came from it?
It taught me to never take things for granted and that we truly aren’t guaranteed tomorrow.

Tell us about living in Nashville? What are the best things for visitors to experience once traveling is safe again?
I think Nashville’s live music scene is the most special part of Nashville! From Broadway to the Ryman to the Opry to the Bluebird to the Listening Room.

Who are your biggest music inspirations growing up? How about now? What are you listening to most and through what platforms or on what devices?
I have always and am still loving 90s country and bluegrass. I listen to music on all music platforms.

You are currently direct support on Lady A’s WHAT A SONG CAN DO TOUR, how did that happen? What have you learned so far?
Lady A are some of my dearest friends in the industry and I am so happy to be out with them. This is my first direct support slot, so I feel like I am learning more and more about what it means to put on a show.

Which other artists would you most like to collaborate with? Country and otherwise?
I’d love to collaborate with Allison Krauss and Union Station!

What is your most guilty pleasure?

What are your favorite books, films and TV shows?
I love the Bachelorette, This Is Us and Lysa Terkeurst books

How much of your music is based on your real-life with regards to love?
I write about real life experiences, so of course there’s a lot of that. I’ve always tried to write from my own life.

What is a misconception you find people have about you?
That because I am a performer, that I am super outgoing. I’m actually quite shy at heart.

If you could create your own reality, your own Wonderland if you will, describe it for us?
Lots of wine, puppies and country music!

Erica Cornwall

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