Photo Credit: John Russell for CMA
NASHVILLE, TN (November 11, 2021) – CARLY PEARCE has been unabashedly vocal about her love and reverence for Country music. Having moved to Pigeon Forge as a teenager to perform up to six shows a day, five days a week, she gave her life over to her dream – and put her life into her songs. For the Kentucky-born power vocalist, the response from fans and critics to 29 was more than enough.
When she heard her name called for Female Vocalist of the Year, she didn’t know what to do. Taking the stage, overwhelmed in a way few people ever are, she sunk to her knees, sobbing at the realization of a dream that seemed impossible a mere two years ago. For her first time nominated in the category, there were no words.
Trying to make sense of the moment as she finally reached the podium, her “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” duet partner and fellow Female Vocalist of the Year nominee Ashley McBryde jumped to her rescue. Putting her arm around the honey blond songwriter, McBryde talked about the power of the women nominated as Carly composed herself.
“I didn’t think this was going to happen,” she managed. Thanking Big Machine Label Group President/CEO Scott Borchetta, managers Clint Higham and Kyle Quigley and a host of people, she summed up the moment clearly shaken, but thrilled as she started to tear up again, “This is all I’ve ever wanted.”
“Honestly, I think I blacked out,” Carly said backstage. “I saw Amy Grant’s mouth… and I sort of knew what she said… and I started moving, but it didn’t register. Even standing there, I don’t think I took it all in, or really believed this was happening. From where I was a year ago to this moment? How do you measure that, or take it in?”
“And you have to know and understand how badly I wanted to win Female Vocalist of the Year as a little girl. I would watch the CMA Awards, see all the women who’d come before and dream one day I might be up there, too. But when it happens? When you’re in the moment? Nothing can prepare you for that, and it’s even more powerful, more exciting than anything I’ve ever felt in my life.”
Carly, who went into her heart, followed her roots and emerged from a year of great disappointment with 29, was not only inducted into the Grand Ole Opry this summer and sang the national anthem at the final game of the World Series while in the midst of her first true headlining tour. The emotionally-charged vocalist took a risk and reached into some of the toughest moments of her life to create an unfiltered song cycle that showed the vulnerability of a woman realizing how unexpected life can be.
Deemed “stoic and affecting” by The New York Times and 29 “a modern country music masterpiece” by Holler, Forbes cited Carly’s affinity for “writing in a deeper way.” Entertainment industry trade Variety raved, “If you’ve got a hankering for some sad-ass country music, happy days are here again.” These songs connected straight from her soul to the listener, capturing the ears of the CMA voters.
With Billboard offering, “the shock and pain that follow as the truth comes out” and Grammy.com praising “the kind of impact her vulnerability has had” on Carly’s writing, Saving Country Music proffered she’s “a country traditionalist, she’s mashing the accelerator, and doing so unapologetically.”
The lithe Female Vocalist is taking the music to her fans. She resumes The 29 Tour Nov. 18 in New York City. Carly is also on Kenny Chesney’s Here and Now 2022 Stadium Tour with four-time CMA Group of the Year Old Dominion and two-time CMA and three-time Grammy winners Dan + Shay.
As she says, “Everywhere we go, the people come and tell me their stories… These songs that came from a rough place in my life have given them hope or courage, let them feel less alone. To me, that’s the greatest thing music can do.”