Carly Pearce Talks Writing Her Next Chapter

March marks Carly Pearce’s second anniversary with her record label, Big Machine, and it’s pretty incredible to look back on all she has accomplished in that time.

Pearce co-wrote eight of the 13 songs on her 2017 debut, Every Little Thing, including the No. 1 title single. Since then, she’s performed on some of country music’s biggest tours. Last year, she opened for various all-star acts including Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan, and took home the 2018 CMT Music Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year. But before landing her record deal, Pearce dedicated much of her first decade in Nashville to writing original songs resulting in a stockpile of material to choose from for her upcoming sophomore album that’s in the works.

“With my first album, I was unsure how people were going to embrace me, and I had no idea how amazingly they were going to embrace me,” Pearce told CMT Hot 20 Countdown’s Katie Cook backstage at the C2C Country to Country Festival in London. “With this one, I obviously feel pressure to make sure fans love the music, but I feel like I very much know my place in country music now. I know the artist that I am, and I know there are people that want to listen. I feel more sure of myself and happier, just able to really peel back some more layers and show a more sure of herself Carly.”

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She’s not against recording music written by other songwriters; especially since there are so many great ones working in Nashville. “Closer to You,” the lead single from her upcoming collection, was co-written by Hillary Lindsey, Gordie Sampson and Troy Verges. But when she’s not working on music, Pearce is in full-on wedding mode with fiancé, Michael Ray. She says he’s leaving most of the planning to her and her mother.

“My mom and I are doing it by ourselves,” Pearce took Cook of the preparations. “We didn’t want a wedding planner. I’m just very simple and never was the girl that dreamt of my wedding … I know it’s kind of weird. I’m obviously enjoying it very much, but … I don’t get to see my momma very much anymore and so this is kind of a way for us to have fun together because you miss your mom.”

Pearce and Ray are nominated in the new artist categories at the 54th annual ACM Awards. Reba McEntire will host the show live from Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 7 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

CMT Hot 20 Countdown will be in Sin City for all the action. New episodes of Hot 20 air Saturdays and Sundays at 9 a.m. ET.

Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.