As female country stars fight for their spot at country radio, there’s no bad blood behind-the-scenes as many of the women are close friends. While spots are still limited for one reason or another, the support they share is undeniable and comes from years of trying to break the glass ceiling.
Two of them in particular, Kelsea Ballerini and Carly Pearce, go back many years to a female-only support group, created by performance-rights organization ASCAP in hopes of giving the women a chance to talk about everything they were going through.
“It was kind of- all of us were in different phases of our careers, and we were all kind of confused, as you are. And I was in that group, Carly Pearce was in that group, and Jillian Jacqueline was in that group,” recalled Ballerini during an interview with Sounds Like Nashville and other media during CMA Fest.
“There was a bunch of other amazing women, too, that I know are still writing and recording, but just to go from that room, where there were tears sometimes, and we didn’t know what we were doing yet. And then to see it now… And it just feels, I don’t know, it feels like you know each other’s journey, and you have each other’s backs. And, you have to have that. There’s no room for anything else,” she conceded.
Pearce remembers those moments of tears and unsureness as she battled with where her career was headed at the time. Not knowing what the future held was a somber time for the singer, but she was lifted up by her fellow artists.
“We were all going around introducing ourselves and in those moments as a female, you kinda wanna, especially as a female artist, you kinda wanna puff your chest out and say something good about yourself so you feel confident in that moment,” recalled Pearce of the group she joined nearly six years ago. “[Kelsea] had just signed her record deal and put out ‘Love Me Like You Mean It.’ It got to me and I just lost my record deal, and I was like ‘I’m Carly Pearce,’ and I just started sobbing and I was like I have no idea what I’m going to do. And after that group, she gave me her phone number and we stayed in touch and that lead just to this sisterhood.”
This photo makes me tear up immediately. Partially because I know how long both of us have worked to get to this place, partially because I love her SO much & am such a fan of her… but mostly because the Breakthrough Winner last year handed the trophy off to another FEMALE last night. 💕 THANK YOU FANS for giving the gals the dream of a lifetime. #cmtawards
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The precious moment led to a bond between the women, which has expanded to include many of country’s other rising female acts. Having that special bond means everything to Pearce, who could feel the love from her friends after winning her very first CMT Music Award.
“Lauren [Alaina] won Breakthrough Video of the Year last year. I posted about this, and she handed it off to me,” said Pearce with a smile. “If you would’ve seen my phone immediately it was Kelsea, and RaeLynn, and Cassadee Pope, and Maren [Morris], and all the girls were genuinely happy and I think that we all want to see each other succeed because when one of us succeeds, it’s all of us succeeding.”
Pearce and Ballerini have been breaking boundaries all their own, both earning No.1 singles with their debuts. Each will continue the charge through the summer months with a slew of tour dates nationwide.