Interview: Carly Pearce’s ‘Every Little Thing’ Reflects ‘Every Shade’ of Her Life
There's nothing little about the way Carly Pearce is kicking off her music career. The 27-year-old's debut single, "Every Little Thing," which is also the title track of her freshman album, is in the Top 10, and still climbing, as she releases her debut disc.
"Every Little Thing," a haunting, heartbreaking ballad, is one of 13 songs on Pearce's first record. She co-wrote eight of those, sharing credits with some of the biggest songwriters around.
Recently, Pearce sat down with The Boot to discuss the long, winding road she took to releasing Every Little Thing, her upcoming tour plans and the lessons she's learned along the way.
How did you pick the songs that made it onto Every Little Thing?
I’ve been in Nashville for eight years, and I have grown up here and grown into myself as a songwriter, grown into myself as a singer and grown into myself just as an artist. I think that, as I was writing and choosing the songs for this album, it just took on a maturity of a woman that I feel like I’ve grown into the last eight years.
Why did you want to name the album Every Little Thing?
I wanted to name the album Every Little Thing not only because it’s the title of the song that kind of got it all started for me, but I do feel that, as my debut album, it is a shade of every little thing about me: where I come from in Kentucky, the influences that have made me into the songwriter and artist that I am, and just every shade of my personality.
As I was writing and choosing the songs for this album, it just took on a maturity of a woman that I feel like I’ve grown into the last eight years.
.You have a lot of A-list songwriters on Every Little Thing, which isn't necessarily common for a debut album.
There’s kind of a wide variety. There are people like Natalie Hemby and Hillary Lindsey and Shane McAnally, who I got to collaborate with, and some of them have a couple of the only outside songs on the album that I did not write, just because they are amazing songs and so true to my story. But I also have people like one of my great girlfriends, Allison Veltz. She and I just have been writing songs together just as fun, and she has two cuts on there.
My great, great friend that has been such a key part of my story over the last five years that I’ve been in Nashville, and we’ve kind of held each other up, is Emily Shackleton, who actually wrote "Every Little Thing” and two others on the album. And then, of course, my producer busbee -- he has a lot of songs on there with me just because he gets me. He made it align the stars for me.
As I was listening to the record, it struck me how cohesive it sounds, from start to finish. Did you put a lot of thought into the order of the songs?
I did. I wanted to make sure that they tell a story and go together in a way. I don’t have an overall theme or anything like that for the album, but I wanted to make sure to take you on a ride to where you’re never going to be bored, you’re never going to hear a song that sounds similar, or two ballads back to back. I wanted to take you on a journey front to back.
You said it took you eight years to make Every Little Thing. How does it feel to finally be able to share it with your fans?
It is surreal. I have dreamt of this since I was a little girl growing up in Kentucky. Over the last eight years in Nashville, I have kicked and screamed and fought my way through and never gave up and always tried to just make sure that I was writing better material, growing as an artist, growing as a person, putting my business hat on and trying to be my own tour manager and playing shows, and just trying to better myself. So I feel like this is really not only eight years in the making of being in Nashville, but 27 years in the making.
I have kicked and screamed and fought my way through and never gave up and always tried to just make sure that I was ... growing as an artist, growing as a person.
A lot of people don’t know that Brett and I have been really good friends for quite a few years now. We have played so many writers' rounds around Nashville together, and have played a lot of house concerts together. He and I have always just -- when we’re putting together shows around Nashville, before we had deals or anything like that, we would always pick each other, just because we’re such fans of each other’s voices and songwriting. So it’s kind of a full-circle moment, obviously because his career’s exploding, and it’s just been so fun for me, and I am so honored that he’s letting me come and be a part of it.
You started out young, working at Dollywood as a performer when you were just a teenager. How did that job prepare you for all that you are experiencing now?
Dollywood was actually my first real job where I got a paycheck. I was 16, 17 years old, and I had to do six shows a day, five days a week. I learned how to sing sick, I learned what it meant to really put on a show, every day, and every single show, no matter if you were tired, it was the first time these people were coming to see you. And I think that I learned so many valuable lessons just working for Dolly and hearing all of the stories about how she’s carried herself throughout her career and [can be] the businesswoman that she is and still remain so true and humble to herself.
Your voice could lend itself to so many different genres. Why did you choose country music?
I love country music so much, and country music has always been where I felt like I was understood the most. And I hope that, with this album, you start to understand how much I love it and get a sense of everything about me, and hopefully one day it will lead to ACMs and CMAs and [being a] Grand Ole Opry member, and being one of the girls that you think of when you think of females in country music.
Country music has always been where I felt like I was understood the most.
What have you learned so far?
I’ve learned so many things. I think I’ve learned what it means to have a fire in you that refuses to burn out, and to trust your inner self, and to trust your heart and believe. I think I’ve learned what it means to work really hard and to lay your pride down and do whatever you have to do to make it work and to stay in it and to just try to remain a believer throughout all of it. I think, standing here today knowing, my album, I got to make it -- I believed, and I think everybody should just believe.
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