Country artist Carly Pearce hasn’t slowed down since releasing her successful first album, Every Little Thing, in 2017. She’s received numerous accolades, such as winning an iHeartRadio Music Award and ACM Award as well as securing a nomination for the coveted 2019 CMA New Artist Award. Pearce has hit the road with some of country’s biggest stars, like Blake Shelton and Rascal Flatts in 2018, and now Jason Aldean and Kane Brown as part of 30-city Ride All Night Tour. And, in anticipation of her sophomore album, to be released in 2020, she debuted a music video this February for a single called “Closer to You.” The video, which features her soon-to-be husband, country singer and songwriter Michael Ray, has over 1.3 million views on Youtube.
Ahead of the Ride All Night Tour’s stop at DTE Energy Music Theatre on Sept. 28 and 29, and the Sept. 27 release of Pearce’s new single, a duet with Lee Brice called “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” Hour Detroit had the chance to speak with the county singer. Here, she shares her approach to recording new music, what she’s learned being on the road, and what’s next.
Hour Detroit: “I Hope You’re Happy Now” sounds like a classic country song. What was the intention behind that, and how did the collaboration with Lee Brice come to be?
Carly Pearce: I love that you said it was a true country song. I feel like it’s taking me back to those ’90s duets that I loved so much. It’s my story that I think so many people can put themselves in, whether you’re on my side or Lee’s side. I wrote it with Luke Combs and was kind of telling him my story about being complacent in a relationship and maybe not conveying to the other person how unhappy I was for as long as I was. Sometimes it doesn’t break even and you can use that phrase on both sides of a relationship.
How does “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” along with “Closer to You,” fit into the new album you’re working on?
it think [the new album is] an evolution of my first record. I want to tell my stories and convey them in a way that’s authentic to me, and that’s kind of what you’re already hearing from me with this record. A lot’s happened to me in my personal life and my professional life, and I’ve grown up a lot in front of everybody in between these two records. I think you’re going to hear that transitional period of me finding myself. Sonically, I think it’s a mesh. I hope people continue to view me as a true country artist and understand that’s where I want to be. I have no intentions of exploring outside of this genre.
Does the success you’ve had after Every Little Thing change how you approach recording a sophomore album?
Of course, you feel pressure with your second record when you have such an amazing ride with your first like I have. I hold myself at a high expectation of creating art, and I just have to make sure that no matter how I went into creating my first record, that I’m making music that’s 100 percent authentic to me.
What have you enjoyed the most about the Ride All Night Tour, especially touring with such big names in country?
I think just getting to learn from them and seeing the way Jason approaches his show and how Kane approaches his show. They’re such massive artists in our format that I think, for me, it’s unbelievable schooling to get to watch them every night do what they do.
What can metro Detroit fans expect with the shows at DTE Energy Music Theatre?
I think this is a little bit of a different crowd for me with Jason, and I hope with knowing my hits at radio and all the previews of what’s to come on my new record, that they leave wanting more and they’re excited about what’s to come. I will not be performing [“I Hope You’re Happy Now”] in Detroit. The single comes out when we’re heading into the weekend, but just with the amount of time that you get at home to rehearse, we’re not going to be able to do it. But it will be coming.
How does it feel to be nominated as CMA’s New Artist of the year as you close out 2019 with so much already under your belt?
It’s a dream. I’ve dreamt of being nominated as best New Artist at the CMAs forever. Some of my favorite people have won that award and gone on to do amazing things. It will be surreal and amazing and I genuinely can’t wait.
Aside from the new album, what else can we look forward to from you?
Just a lot of new music, the new record. I have a headlining touring lined up for this fall and then next year I’ve got some really exciting things that I can’t share yet but they’re coming. A collaboration with Michael [Ray] will be on the record, so that will be there.