Carly Pearce began making waves in country music in 2016 with her Josh Abbott Band duet, “Wasn’t That Drunk,” and even more so the next year with her breakout, No. 1 single, “Every Little Thing.” In the few years since, her name has shot straight to the top of the list of successful mainstream country artists. Pearce is a fairly open artist, often posting on social media, doing interviews and even sharing details about her personal struggles, but there still may be some facts country fans don’t know about the singer. Here are 10 things you may not know about Carly Pearce.
- Her last name isn’t Pearce.
The first thing everyone learns about a person upon introduction is their name, and some people may be surprised to find out that ‘Pearce’ isn’t really Carly’s last name. Pearce was born Carly Cristyne Slusser in Taylor Mill, Kentucky in 1990. She chose the stage name of Pearce because it is the last name of her grandfather, who taught her about music when she was young. Pearce now has a tattoo that is dedicated to the man with whom she shares a name.
2. She has a sister who is in the military.
While Pearce is entertaining thousands of fans on stage, her sister is fighting for our country. Pearce revealed in August 2021 that her sister, Cristy, is a Captain in the National Guard. The singer honored Cristy at a show in August before she left for a deployment in Kuwait.
“Last night was such a special night for my family,” Pearce wrote in a post along with photos of her and her sister on stage. “I surprised my sister (she wanted to kill me) & brought her up on stage, asking the crowd for their prayers as she heads to Kuwait this weekend to serve as a Captain in the National Guard. What a beautiful moment it was for someone I admire & love so much.”
3. She’s been serious about her career since she was young.
From a very young age, Pearce has had her eye on becoming a country star, and specifically, performing at the Grand Ole Opry. According to CMT, there is a home video of Pearce expressing her desire to perform on the Opry when she was just 4 years old. By the time she was 11, Pearce was performing in a bluegrass band at church and other venues, and she played at an all-boys prison at age 14. By age 16, she knew that a career as a country singer was her future, and she took a big leap to make it happen.
4. She left high school to follow her dream.
That big leap Pearce took at age 16 included dropping out of high school in Kentucky and moving to Pigeon Forge, TN to perform as part of the Country Crossroads show at Dollywood. Pearce finished high school online while performing five days a week, often doing multiple shows a day. Although Pearce’s laser focus on her future career caused her to miss out on some quintessential teenage experiences, she says she wouldn’t have changed her path.
“Yes, there were things about being a teenager that maybe I missed out on, but look at what I get to do now and even the experiences I had at Dollywood versus being in school or being in my hometown,” she told PopCulture. “I’ve always wanted to do this and I always knew that it was my destiny.”
5. She had a previous record deal that didn’t work out.
After gaining experience at Dollywood, Pearce decided to move to Nashville at age 19 to get her country music career started, but she didn’t find success overnight. Things started looking up in 2012 when she signed a developmental record deal with Sony Music Nashville. However, after personnel changes at the label, she was dropped. Pearce admitted that the loss of her first record deal was hard, but she kept pressing on.
“Of course there were moments that I wanted to quit music,” she told The Country Daily. “My condo has seen many tears and heard many prayers at night.”
6. She had some odd jobs before making it big.
It seems many country stars worked “odd jobs” before seeing big success, and when her first record deal didn’t work out, Pearce had to make ends meet with a few of those. One of her odd jobs was cleaning Airbnb’s in Nashville, which, as one can imagine, was not always glamorous.
“I cleaned Airbnbs in Nashville for a few years, and people are NASTY,” she told CMT’s Cody Alan. “Gross! I would clean these massive homes for bachelor and bachelorette parties, and I would have to bake cookies for them and leave them. Oh, I did all kinds of things!”
7. The Grand Ole Opry had a big role in her career development.
Pearce had big dreams of playing at the Grand Ole Opry as a child, and later in life, the Opry actually helped launch her career. After losing her first record deal with Sony, Pearce connected with Opry Vice President and GM, Pete Fisher. It was Fisher who gave Pearce her first opportunity to perform at the Opry in 2015 and connected her with close collaborator and producer, busbee, who produced “Every Little Thing.” All those events eventually led to Pearce signing her record deal with Big Machine Records.
8. She has a commitment to staying healthy.
One of the things Pearce shares on social media is her healthy lifestyle. She can often be seen running, walking her cat (yes, her cat), or hanging out with her dog, June. She also has a commitment to eating well, which most likely stems from wanting to be healthy, but it also has a deeper meaning behind it. “My dad had a massive heart attack when I was 19 and it kind of changed the game for my family as far as how we eat,” she once shared, via Big Machine Records. Since Pearce eats so well, it comes as no surprise that her favorite food is one as healthy as Brussels sprouts.
9. Her celeb crush is a fellow musician.
Even celebrities can have a celebrity crush themselves, and Pearce once revealed that her crush is a well-known, swoon-worthy musician. “My biggest crush in high school and probably still today is John Mayer,” she told Billboard in 2017.
10. She’s not afraid to be honest in her music.
Pearce is a true songwriter who communicates her honest feelings about her struggles through music. Two struggles that Pearce has gone through recently include her divorce from singer Michael Ray in 2020 and the death of her beloved producer, busbee, in 2019. In her new EP, 29, released on February 19, Pearce confronts these events in her life head on. She addresses her divorce and her growth from it in songs such as “Should’ve Known Better” and “29,” and she sings a message to the late busbee in “Show Me Around.” The EP serves as a further introduction to the heart of Pearce and gives fans an idea of the authenticity to expect from her going forward.