Carly Pearce has been there. Trying to make her dream come true, the 20-something knows what dead ends look like, how pulled up short feels and that the irrepressibility of want to will lift you up over and over again. Getting close, falling apart, being in love, bad boyfriends, crummy jobs, finding your way, second chances, enduring tenacity and people who understand are the essence of EVERY LITTLE THING, Carly’s life is chronicled throughout her 13-track debut album on Big Machine Records.
Carly is currently exploding at country radio with “Every Little Thing,” a naked ballad that bristles with the agony of being left. Stark in a time of massive productions, the hollow beat throbs like a pulse and the melody drags with the ache of one who can’t let go. But what really stands out is Carly’s voice: slightly powdery in places, silvery in others, it has a raw muscular twist like a knife being turned. Having left high school to pursue music, working the shows at Dollywood at a mere 16 years old, chasing bluegrass festivals and watching her first label deals fall apart, Carly understands being left on the verge in more ways than love. But love is its own special pain. “The song is about a guy who said, ‘Me or music’,” she offers. “It was the first time I’d really loved somebody, that fiery love you hear about. And I really thought I was going to die. But I think I would’ve died harder if I had chosen the guy.”
For Carly, music was, is, and always will be what matters. As she explains, “EVERY LITTLE THING really tells my story. I have tattoos for both my grandparents, who I lost to cancer. You only have your childhood once, and they really made mine special. That song takes me back to sitting at their kitchen table; they believed in me more than anything. They made me believe in me – and made me promise I would do this. On their deathbed, both of them told me I was going to do it. They knew… and they helped me believe when I’d get so down. Pearce is actually my mom’s maiden name so to be able to carry it with me in everything I do is really special.” Down is not something Carly is going to tolerate. “There’s an edge to me,” she confesses, “but I’m pretty classic. I think that’s part of it: I am real and true to me, to where I come from. It’s a place where you play prisons, tent revivals, every little bar around because it’s where the music lives. People come to hear their lives, and I think that’s part of it. I write what women live, not fancy women as much as real women – and that’s something you can’t make up.”