Carly Pearce at the Grand Ole Opry: 5 Moments We Knew She’d Be a Star
Carly Pearce will become the newest Grand Ole Opry member on Tuesday evening (Aug. 3), but she's had Opry dreams for years.
“My number one goal is to play the Grand Ole Opry," the singer told CBEX's Chris Burkmenn in a 2015 interview. She certainly blew that goal out of the water: Pearce made her Opry debut as an unsigned artist that year, and since then has hit the hallowed stage more than 80 times.
Dolly Parton surprised Pearce with her Grand Ole Opry invitation in mid-June. Pearce believed she was filming a promotional campaign for Dollywood — where she worked before coming to Nashville — but she still wasn't expecting Parton herself to show up.
Even when Parton arrived, it didn't sink in for Pearce — she just thought Parton was there to do the commercial with her. But once Parton extended the invitation, Pearce was overcome with emotion.
"They had to edit so much of [the video of the invitation]," she shared later, "because I was hysterical."
Though her Grand Ole Opry invite was a surprise to Pearce, it wasn't much of one to anyone who’s been paying close attention to her career. Keep reading for five Grand Ole Opry moments that made it clear that Pearce was destined for this:
"Dear Miss Loretta"
Written by Pearce, this musical letter to Loretta Lynn pays tribute to the Coal Miner's Daughter. The track tiptoes the fine line between heartwarming and heartbreaking as Pearce details both her admiration for Lynn and how painful it is to be able to relate to some of her songs.
Pearce debuted this as-yet-unreleased song at the Opry in March of 2021.
"Truth Be Told"
There's a vulnerability to Pearce's her voice and songwriting that makes her relatable and endearing. As with “Dear Miss Loretta,” she taps into it in this wrecking ball of a duet with Matthew West. “I say I’m fine, but I’m not / I’m broken,” the lyrics say.
Though Pearce smiles throughout the performance, you can hear in her voice how much she relates to the lyrics — or at least did at one point in time.
"I Hope You're Happy Now"
As the saying goes, what goes around comes around, and in this case, the "what" is a Grand Ole Opry surprise. Just as Parton surprised Pearce, Pearce surprised an Opry crowd by showing up to perform with Lee Brice. The two share a hit with the duet “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” another heartbreaker that even Pearce herself describes as one of her more vulnerable songs.
“Show Me Around”
Nothing separates a singer from the pack like the ability to sing simply to the tune of a guitar and captivate an audience. Here, Pearce shows she she has that power in spades with "Show Me Around," which she debuted at the Opry in June of 2020.
The song is about the hope of seeing a lost loved one again; she dedicated it to her late producer, Busbee, who died of cancer in September of 2019. It proves, once again, that Pearce is a master at turning pain into poetry, adding a melody and making it a hit.
This performance of “Next Girl” shows that Pearce can be playful, too! Nothing says a grand ole time at the Grand Ole Opry like an upbeat tune, good boots and a fun dress — and she checks all three boxes here.
"Next Girl" is true to Pearce’s style, too. Breakup songs are a sweet spot for the “Every Little Thing” singer, and it fits right into that repertoire.