Rising Country Star Carly Pearce on Her Debut No. 1 'Every Little Thing' & Knowing 'Where I Want to Go' Next: Chart Beat Podcast

Rachel Deeb
Carly Pearce

A special episode recorded live for a special cause.

On a special Billboard Chart Beat Podcast, recorded live at The Good Cup in Franklin, Tenn., Billboard senior chart manager Jim Asker welcomes singer-songwriter Carly Pearce and Big Machine Records vice president of promotion, Kris Lamb.

Pearce is nominated for new female artist of the year by the Academy of Country Music, with the 54th ACM Awards airing live on CBS this Sunday, April 7, from the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

Pearce, who hails from Kentucky, has been playing, singing and writing since age 11, with musical roots that embody bluegrass and traditional country. She honed her chops playing as many as six shows a day at Dollywood, the theme park owned by legend Dolly Parton, which sits in the Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Pearce has also already played the Grand Ole Opry well over 60 times.

When Pearce's first single as a lead artist, "Every Little Thing," hit No. 1 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart (dated Nov. 25, 2017), it became the first launch track by a solo woman to top the tally since Kelsea Ballerini two years earlier with "Love Me Like You Mean It." Before Ballerini, quite a drought occurred between women leading Country Airplay with a debut single promoted to the format: over 12 years, since Carrie Underwood's "Jesus, Take the Wheel."

Women on the country charts, and the lack thereof, is, thus, a topic discussed in the podcast. "I think there's room for all of us," Pearce says, citing the success of Ballerini and Maren Morris, among others. "I fell in love with the '90s country ladies," including Faith Hill, Shania Twain and Trisha Yearwood. "They ruled the radio. I'm really proud to be a part of this class that I think is changing what I moved to [Nashville] seeing, which was no females."

Pearce and Lamb also preview Pearce's sophomore LP; she's in the middle of recording it but would not offer a definitive release date. The trio also banters about Pearce's recent engagement to fellow country artist Michael Ray and their upcoming wedding. She wouldn't budge on that date, either.

"It'll be later this year," Pearce teases at least somewhat specifically of her new album. "A lot has happened and I feel like more than ever I know my place in this genre and I know where I want to go. I'm more settled than I was on my first record; I had written so many of those songs three, four, five years prior as I was searching to find a place for my music and searching for myself, and I don't feel like I'm doing that anymore."

So far, Pearce has released three singles as a lead artist. Following "Thing," "Hide the Wine" reached No. 13 on Country Airplay in October 2018. Both songs are from Pearce's debut album, Every Little Thing, which debuted and peaked at No. 4 on the Top Country Albums chart.

Her current track, "Closer to You," the first single from her second album, holds at its No. 36 high on the latest Country Airplay chart (dated April 6).

This podcast was recorded in front of an intimate audience and proceeds from the event go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the fight against blood cancers.

Wrapping the chat, Pearce closed the night with a stirring performance of her debut chart-topping hit.

Enjoy the latest Billboard Chart Beat Podcast – the first of two new episodes this week; Gary Trust and Trevor Anderson host a Billie Eilish roundtable, posting tomorrow, April 4, with Billboard editors Lyndsey Havens and Andrew Unterberger – and check back for additional upcoming episodes with artists, label executives, radio programmers and personalities, songwriters, producers and more. And, to receive every episode automatically in your inbox, subscribe to (and rate) the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast on iTunes! Plus, the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast is also available on Acast, Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Overcast, PocketCast, Podbean, Stitcher and TuneIn.