In honor of the single “What He Didn’t Do” hitting radio airwaves nationwide, Carly Pearce recently (June 6) sat down with Big Machine Label Group to discuss the inspiration behind the mid-tempo track and why she felt obligated to place her heart on the line.
The Kentucky native penned the relatable tune alongside frequent collaborators Ashley Gorley and Emily Shackleton for her critically acclaimed record, “29: Written In Stone.” Pearce reflects on a breakup throughout the poetic single and fires off a list of everything “he didn’t do.”
“Treat me right, put me first, be a man of his word | Stay home ’cause he wanted to | Always fight for my love, hold on tight like it’s something | That he couldn’t stand to lose | The devil’s in the details, I won’t tell | The hell that he put me through | All I know is in the end, it wasn’t what he did, no | It was what he didn’t do,” she sings with confidence in the chorus.
The honest lyrics serve as a sign to remember your self-worth while in a relationship. Following her split from ex-husband Michael Ray, Pearce realized what she wanted within a romantic partnership. After digging deep during a writing session to produce the track, Pearce knew she had created something special.
“I wrote ’What He Didn’t Do’ at the end of 2020 with Ashley Gorley and Emily Shackleton. And it was actually the second song that we wrote in the day, which sometimes that’s the one that really hits,” she explained to BMLG. “And I remember driving away and thinking, ’Wow, I think this song is special.'”
After being pleasantly surprised by the outcome, Pearce mentioned that she was eager to get a second opinion from her fans. Therefore, she began sharing “What He Didn’t Do” with other creatives and playing the hit at small venues throughout Music City.
“I did what I always do, and I go test out songs against my team’s will, and went and was playing a writers round in Nashville, and played this song,” she said while laughing. “And from that moment – somebody put this video up on YouTube – and I’ve never had a song that just organically, socially, people ask for it in everything I do, whether it’s online or in a tweet or in a DM or if I’m doing an interview, or radio stations have asked about it.”
Pearce continued to reveal that naysayers may deem her storytelling approach unorthodox or too much. However, the chart-topping artist believes it is her “duty” to share her story and be honest with her fans.
“People may think that I write too much of my story,” Pearce pointed out. “But for me, that’s my duty. And I feel like when I am writing my story I am writing other people’s story, and this song proves it,” she added.
“What He Didn’t Do” marks the third single from “29: Written In Stone” to go to Country radio. The 31-year-old recently took to social media to share her excitement about the career milestone and to remind fans of another underlining message within the track.
“Life goes on. You KNOW that when you’re reeling…feeling like the fool and so hurt…but then there’s a moment when those emotions start to clear,” she wrote in a caption. “That’s when you look in the mirror, and you ask yourself what happened and try to learn from your mistakes. That’s where “What He Didn’t Do” came from. To me, it’s really a song of hope and trying to get smarter before moving forward,” she concluded.