Since the release of her number one debut hit “Every Little Thing” in 2017, talented singer/songwriter Carly Pearce has become a steady hitmaker on the country charts. She followed up her initial single with the chart hits “Hide the Wine” (Top 15) and “Closer to You” (Top 25), and currently her duet hit with country star Lee Brice, “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” is about to enter the Top 10.
Pearce is set to release her second album, titled Carly Pearce (on Big Machine Records) on Valentine’s Day, February 14. She selected this holiday as the release date, in part to celebrate her recent wedding to hit country artist, Michael Ray. On the album, Pearce sings a duet with Ray on the song, “Finish Your Sentences.”
In addition to being known for her expressive, heartfelt vocal performances, Pearce is a gifted songwriter who has co-written several of her key songs. She helped launch her career by co-writing her hit “Every Little Thing,” and she co-wrote her current hit, “I Hope You’re Happy Now.” Notably, Pearce wrote this song with country superstar Luke Combs, along with Jonathan Singleton and Randy Montana. She also co-wrote the excellent ballad “It Won’t Always Be Like This,” which will likely be released as her next single.
We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Carly Pearce. She discusses the making her new album, her songwriting and collaborations, and the joyful time she’s experienced following her recent marriage.
Before we get to the interview, here’s some more information about Pearce. Impressively, she’s been nominated for several top awards, including New Artist of the Year by the CMA Awards and New Female Vocalist of the Year by the ACM Awards. She also won the CMT Music Award for Female Video of the Year, for “Every Little Thing.”
This month, Pearce will be headlining some shows, before embarking on a major tour with top country band, Old Dominion. She has previously toured with Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton and Rascal Flatts.
Here’s our interview with Carly Pearce:
DK: Two years ago you had an excellent debut with your hit “Every Little Thing” and your first album. Now you’re about to release your second album. Can you talk about the making of your new album?
Here’s the video of Carly Pearce’s duet hit with Lee Brice, “I Hope
You’re Happy Now.”
Carly Pearce: I feel like so much has happened to me in the last couple years, and I wanted this record be self-titled, because I feel like these songs represent the transformation of going from somebody who wasn’t sure of themselves in a lot of ways, to one who really is sure of who they are.
DK: Your album will be released on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14). Does Valentine’s Day have a special connection with the theme of your album?
Pearce: I think that obviously falling in love (and getting married) has been a huge piece of what has made me happy, and what has made me find myself. There are all kinds of emotions on this record, but that seems to be the center and the heartbeat of what’s happened in the last few years. So when we were figuring out when to release the album, I was excited that it came around the time of Valentine’s Day, and I felt like it was a good thing for the record.
DK: On the new album, you’ve done a duet with your husband Michael Ray on the song, “Finish Sentences.” Did you and Michael decide that you wanted to sing a duet for the album?
Pearce: Yes, I felt like I had to put him on the album, because he’s been such a big part of what’s been going on. We just had to find the right song, and as soon as I heard this song, it embodied the first few stages of falling in love and dating, and the fun of that. And I wanted that to be our introduction, as we start to probably have a long career of singing songs together (laughs).
DK: I read the credits for your new album, and the songs were produced by busbee (aka Mike Busbee, a top writer/producer who also worked with Maren Morris, Florida Georgia Line and Lady Antebellum), who died a few months ago. Did you and busbee also work together on your first album?
Pearce: Yes, busbee did the whole first record, and he did the whole second record, and he actually signed me to my first publishing deal, which really meant something. And [my album] is the last full record that busbee made, and it’s very bittersweet.
Here’s a video of Carly Pearce performing her song, “It Won’t
Always Be Like This.”
DK: What made you and busbee an excellent team?
Pearce: I think that busbee knew who I was, and knew how to make that come to life, without changing me. From the very moment I started working with him, he got me, and he understood what I wanted to be and who I wanted to be. And it will definitely be a very difficult thing to find who’s going to fill those shoes.
DK: You’ve released a few songs from your new album: “Call Me,” “Heart’s Going Out Of It’s Mind” and “It Won’t Always Be Like This.” Will one of those songs be your next single?
Pearce: I definitely think that “It Won’t Always Be Like This” will be my new single. I co-wrote that one, and it embodies to me everything that happens to when you [get to a certain] place in your life. I realized for much of my 20s I took things for granted, or I didn’t realize that things were going to ultimately work out, but I had to get through some hard things and wait my turn for things. And I feel this song is the universal emotion of the rollercoaster ride of life. You have to go through a lot of hell to get to the good, and soak in the moments, because you just don’t know when it’s going to end.
DK: I like your duet hit with Lee Brice, “I Hope You’re Happy Now.” I read that you wrote this song with Luke Combs, Jonathan Singleton and Randy Montana. Can you talk about how you co-wrote this song?
Pearce: Jonathan, myself and Luke actually got together first, and I was a huge fan of what Luke did with (his first hit) “Hurricane.” This was long before he was doing all the crazy things that he is now (laughs). I sought him out to write, and we sat down and I started telling him about what I was going through in this relationship, and we ended up writing about it. He had the title “I Hope You’re Happy Now” and he started playing the groove, and I wrote the first verse. Then we wrote the chorus together, and then Jonathan Singleton and Randy Montana finished the back half of the song.
DK: Do you think you’ll be writing again with Luke Combs?
Pearce: I would love to; he’s great.
Here’s a video of Carly Pearce performing her song, “Heart’s
Going Out Of It’s Mind.”
DK: For “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” how did you connect with Lee Brice for this record?
Pearce: I had my management call him, because I just knew he was the right voice. And literally within an instant, he loved the song and said he was all in, and recorded it four days later.
DK: Besides the songs we’ve discussed, what are your favorite songs on your new album?
Pearce: I love “Halfway Home,” “Dashboard Jesus,” “Lightning In A Bottle,” “Woman Down.” I really love them all.
DK: Two years ago you had your first hit, “Every Little Thing.” How did you co-write this song?
Pearce: I wrote that song because I lived every word of it. I had a devastating breakup, and [I told] busbee and our co-writer, Emily Shackelton, and this ballad just fell out. That was the first moment that I wasn’t chasing radio. Before I had a record deal, I didn’t care (about radio play). I just needed to write that song for myself. [At the time] I didn’t think anybody would hear that song.
DK: I visited your website, and read that you’ll be going on tour with Old Dominion.
Pearce: Yes, I am so excited, I’m such a fan.
DK: How did you connect with Old Dominion to do this tour?
Pearce: Tours are funny. Our management connected us, and it’s funny because six or seven years ago, Old Dominion and I used to play shows together in Nashville for ASCAP at a place called Margaritaville. And nobody showed up. So it’s fun to see all that come full circle with both of us, and now to see it really come full circle to be on the road with them.