Carly Pearce: iHeartRadio On The Verge Artist

Opportunities, heartbreak, second chances—Carly Pearce is thankful for every little thing. The 26-yearold singer/songwriter grew up as a musical marvel in the one-stoplight town of Taylor Mill, Kentucky. She was fronting a bluegrass band at age 11 and by 16 had shipped off to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, for a full-time job at the iconic Dollywood theme park after convincing her parents to homeschool. She performed six shows a day, five days a week for one year at Dollywood before spending the next year at Country Tonite performing everyday with one day off each month. 

Eager to launch her career as a solo artist, she moved to Nashville and began meeting songwriters and producers; within a few years, she scored a developmental contract with a major label. Eight months later, the deal fell through. “I remember that being a really dark moment for me,” she says. “But I knew that I didn’t want to move home or quit. I knew that this was just a trying time.” 

In 2014, she was cast in a music video for Pretty Little Liars actress Lucy Hale, who was breaking out as a Country artist. Pearce’s proven tenacity from an early age once again gave her the courage to ask about joining the tour, ultimately landing a spot as a backup vocalist. 

Reinvigorated, she teamed up with busbee and Emily Shackelton on a song that’s uncomfortable, almost, in its vulnerability: the haunting ballad “Every Little Thing.” Through snapshots, Pearce relives a soul-shattering breakup, wondering how to move on, how to let go, and how to remember—all at once. 

“I’m a testament of the underdog who spun her wheels in town for eight years but never gave up,” she says. “I’m so thankful that I’ve had to claw and cry and kick and scream and lay down at night sometimes going, ‘What did I do wrong? Where did I go wrong?’ It’s making everything so much sweeter.”