Carly Pearce Talks About Her Small Town Kentucky Roots and Using Heartbreak to Make Powerful Music

·4 min read
Carly Pearce
Carly Pearce

Allister Ann

This week, I am joined by country music superstar and Kentucky native Carly Pearce. Carly began performing at a young age in church, and left her hometown of Taylor Mill in high school for a job singing five shows a day at Dollywood. She eventually moved to Nashville, and although her initial experience in the Music City wasn't easy, she met a producer who would change her life. Today on the show, Carly talks about the unwavering support of her family, the devastating loss of her producer, Busbee, her induction into the Grand Ole Opry, heartbreak, and much more.

Get to Know Carly Pearce 

Born in Taylor Mill, Kentucky, Carly Pearce is a country music singer and songwriter. At 16, she left home and high school to take a job at Dollywood and she has grown into one of country music's superstars, touring alongside Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts, and Luke Bryan. In 2020, she won the most CMA nods for any new artist. As Carly marks a new chapter coming of age, she earned three ACM Awards nominations for Female Artist, Single, and Music Event of the Year with her PLATINUM-certified, No. 1 duet with Lee Brice "I Hope You're Happy Now." She is the reigning CMA Award and ACM Award Female Vocalist of The Year (which she won in Nov 2021 & March 2022). Carly's latest single is "What He Didn't Do."

What Carly Talks About in This Episode

*Growing up in the small town of Taylor Mill, Kentucky

*Leaving high school at 16 to work at Dollywood

*Listening to her grandmother's dreams of singing the Grand Ole Opry

*Being inspired by Patty Loveless

*Being raised Baptist and how the church played a big part of her upbringing

*Remembering her favorite childhood meal: her grandmother's chicken and dumplings

*Moving to Nashville, where she has called home for 13 years

*Losing her producer, Busbee, to brain cancer when he was 43

*Going through a painful divorce and using that heartbreak to write songs

*Being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry by Dolly Parton

*Naming her dog June Joleen Pearce

Quotes from Carly Pearce 

"My grandfather was famous for soup beans and cornbread, and his kind of cornbread was the thick, not sweet kind. More like a pancake, but that was how we ate it with collard greens, and it was the best. We've tried to recreate it since he passed and we can't."

I think in a lot of ways, I'm still that girl that believes that she was put on this earth to make music. I think that's the one thing that hasn't changed – I truly believe God intended for this to be my life.

—Carly pearce

"I think I learned more in those two years that I was in Pigeon Forge than I had in the however many years I've been performing with different bands in my hometown. It was the first time that I just felt like I was a part of an ensemble and a part of something that was bigger than just the little girl that sings...You learn how to perform, you learn who you are on stage a little bit."

"Busbee found me. I was a backup singer and an Airbnb cleaner, and he told me that he believed in what I was doing and wanted to work with me. He produced my first two albums. The last song he ever worked on before he got sick was "I Hope You're Happy Now", and I ended up winning Single of the Year for that song and, I think that's a pretty special thing that I'll always have."

About Biscuits & Jam

In the South, talking about food is personal. It's a way of sharing your history, your family, your culture, and yourself. Each week Sid Evans, editor in chief of Southern Living, sits down with celebrity musicians to hear stories of how they grew up, what inspired them, and how they've been shaped by Southern culture. Sid takes us back to some of their most cherished memories and traditions, the family meals they still think about, and their favorite places to eat on the road.

Download and listen to this episode of Biscuits & Jam with Carly Pearce on Apple Podcasts,  Spotify, Amazon Music, or everywhere podcasts are available.

Get a transcript of the full interview with Carly Pearce.