It seems like every artist has a story. It usually starts with a dream of coming to Nashville, signing a record deal and then swiftly selling out arenas.
Carly Pearce was much more realistic about it, though. She knew that that kind of success might take a while.
“Stories that I heard about people like Garth Brooks, who were in Nashville for around ten years before making it big, hearing how nobody really knows what the next big thing is going to be until it happens,” Pearce said of her willingness to stay the course. “Being willing to stick it out. Music wasn’t a choice for me, it chose me. I never felt that I was going to give up on music, I always knew I was going to do it.”
And while Brooks’ story — he was managing a boot store north of Nashville, his landlord introduced him to Bob Doyle, all the record labels said, “No thanks,” and he almost didn’t play the showcase at the Bluebird Cafe that ultimately led to his deal with Capitol Records — is well known, Pearce’s story is not.
One piece of hers that seems to symbolize her determination is about her Opry boots.
“When I moved to Nashville and had the dream to play on the Opry, I convinced my parents to buy me a pair of crazy expensive cowboy boots,” she recalled. “Three years before I even had the opportunity to play the Opry at all!
“I promised (my parents) that I would only wear them on my Opry debut. Three years later, I pulled them out of the box and wore them for the first time.”
Before she made the move to Music City, Pearce had a job performing at Dollywood. And when she finally arrived, she says, she did all kinds of things to earn a living before her music would started paying off.
“When I moved to Nashville, I did all sorts: cleaned Airbnb’s, nannied, worked in retail and sang at any open mic night that I could. I tried to meet as many people as I could, so I could find people to write songs with. I had a record deal and lost it, so I’ve been through everything that you could possibly have been through in Nashville,” she said, “but I still felt like I had the fire to keep going.”