If we're talking about leading ladies in today's country music scene, Carly Pearce is one of those at the forefront.
Since making her major label debut in 2017 with the self-penned, No. 1 single 'Every Little Thing', Pearce has been on a steady climb to country music stardom. Having three records to her name so far – Every Little Thing, Carly Pearce and 29: Written in Stone – the Kentucky native has become quite the decorated vocalist and songwriter, too.
A 3x CMA award-winner and 4x ACM award-winner, whose mantel also features a CMT Music Award and a Grammy Award, she's also been inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry and secured several RIAA certifications for her hit-laden catalogue.
With an arsenal of beloved songs - including the No. 1 tunes of 'I Hope You're Happy Now' with Lee Brice and her Grammy-winning duet with Ashley McBryde, 'Never Wanted to Be That Girl' - Pearce has brought a bluegrass-inspired brand of contemporary country, coupling it with her deeply personal and cleverly crafted songwriting.
The Kentucky Music Hall of Famer has quickly created her own special concoction of starpower, fit with her signature Kentucky-bred twang and fierce lyrical vulnerability to boot.
To help bring a little clarity, background and context to the Kentucky country star, we've compiled answers to some of the most widely asked questions about Carly Pearce.
Carly Pearce was born on April 24, 1990. That makes her both a Taurus and 33 years old. Though 29 seemed to be a pretty big banner year for Pearce, we're thinking that 33 might bring some new surprises, too.
Her birth name is actually Carly Cristyne Slusser, but her stage name of Pearce is based on her grandfather's last name.
Pearce is from the small city of Taylor Mill, Kentucky. Located in Kenton County, the population as of 2020 was only 6,873.
In September of 2021, Pearce was honored by Taylor Mill with a key to the city and a commemorative sign that reads “Welcome to Taylor Mill, Hometown of Country Music Star, Carly Pearce”.
Over the years, the question of whether our now-beloved stars competed on singing competitions way back when has become rather commonplace. However, in the case of Carly Pearce, she was never a contestant on American Idol, The Voice or any other show.
Pearce has appeared on The Voice, though! In December of 2022, the Kentucky native gave an emotional performance of her hit single, 'What He Didn't Do', which was pretty stunning.
Carly Pearce's success came quite organically, but she started the process at a pretty young age.
As a child, Pearce developed an early interest in country music and, in a home video, she confidently declared that one day she would perform on the Grand Ole Opry.
By age 16, she auditioned for the Country Crossroads show at the Dollywood theme park. Securing the job, Pearce convinced her parents to move to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. During her time at the park, she performed five times a week, often in several shows per day.
Pearce moved to Nashville at 19 with her eyes on a country music career. After being featured on Josh Abbott Band's 'Wasn't That Drunk' in 2016, she released a song called 'Every Little Thing' that quickly received widespread recognition.
She was offered multiple recording contracts, but ultimately chose to sign with Big Machine Records, who released the song as a single to country radio in February 2017. By November, it had hit No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and, as they say, the rest is history!
Since making her official debut in 2017, Carly Pearce has released three studio albums, one live album and one EP, which altogether have spawned eight singles.
Beginning with her aforementioned No. 1 hit, 'Every Little Thing', other notable Pearce cuts include 'Hide the Wine', 'Closer to You' and the Lee Brice-assisted chart-topper, 'Hope You're Happy Now'.
Pearce also has several standout songs from her critically acclaimed confessional album, 29: Written in Stone, such as 'Next Girl', 'What He Didn't Do', 'Diamondback', 'Day One' and her Grammy-winning duet with Ashley McBryde, 'Never Wanted to Be That Girl'.
As she readies her fourth studio record, she's also gifted fans with a handful of recent releases like the swaying 'Country Made Me Do It', fiesty 'Heels Over Head' and 'We Don't Fight Anymore', the scrumptious Kentucky-drenched duet with Chris Stapleton.
As we mentioned above, Pearce and McBryde have collaborated in recent years on their Grammy-winning duet, 'Never Wanted to Be That Girl.' The stirring tune is told from two female perspectives, as they both grapple with experiencing infidelity in the same relationship.
Both Pearce and McBryde have cited that they'd been wanting to join forces before and the results couldn't have been more stunning than on 'Never Wanted to Be That Girl'.
While we obviously can't confirm or deny if our two leading ladies are besties or not, we can only assume that the girl power is alive and well between them following their historic run on country radio and beyond.
At the 56th Annual CMA Awards in November 2022, Carly Pearce stole the show as she delivered a moving tribute to the late legend, Loretta Lynn. Taking the stage with a couple of bluegrass icons, Ricky Skaggs and Sonya Isaacs, Pearce dedicated her own 'Dear Miss Loretta' to the song's muse.
Donning a dress reminiscent of Lynn’s look from the 1972 edition of the ceremony, where she became the first woman to be crowned Entertainer of the Year, Pearce opened her performance by saying; "I grew up in Kentucky like the great Loretta Lynn. My mee maw Pearce and I loved to listen to Loretta's songs together. I think mee maw loved Loretta so much because she too was a coal miner's daughter".
She continued, "I never met Loretta; always wished I would've. But I wrote this song and tribute to her because I so admire everything about her, especially the way she wrote about her life unapologetically. Loretta, this is for you".
Included on 29: Written In Stone as a duet with Patty Loveless, Pearce received a standing ovation for the special CMA performance.
A longtime admirer of the Grand Ole Opry and its storied history, Pearce made her debut on its stage on May 15, 2015 as an unsigned artist.
Over 6 years and several dozens of performances later, Pearce was invited to become a member of the Opry by the iconic Dolly Parton. She was officially inducted by Trisha Yearwood on August 3, 2021.
During her acceptance remarks, she noted: "You can have hit records, you can sell out shows, you can be on award shows, but all of that can fade, and this is something that I will have forever — and a place that I can come to, and a stage that I can sing on, and a circle that I can stand in, and a family that I can be a part of, and that can never be taken away from me."
A little under eight years after her debut, on April 11, 2023, the now Grammy-winning Grand Ole Opry member marked her 100th appearance on the celebrated stage.
Carly Pearce began dating fellow country singer Michael Ray in June of 2018. They quickly announced that they were engaged later that year on December 19.
The pair tied the knot a little under a year later on October 6, 2019. However, only eight months later, Pearce filed for divorce in June 2020.
While there's no definitive reasoning for their split, Pearce channeled her feelings and grief into her vulnerable and confessional 29 project, which she later extended to 29: Written in Stone.
Carly Pearce is booked and busy when it comes to touring!
Her headlining Country Made Me Do It Tour kicked off on October 5 and is keeping her criss-crossing around the U.S. through mid-November. Supporting her across the trek are Adam Doleac and Hannah Ellis.
When the calendar switches over to 2024, though, Pearce will serve as direct support on country icon Tim McGraw's Standing Room Only Tour. Starting in March, she'll hit several cities across the country through the end of June.
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