This week Carly Pearce announced that after 85 performances at the Grand Ole Opry, she was finally invited to become a member in the most special way. The Country music icon, Dolly Parton herself surprised Pearce to share the exciting news with her.

“I was so excited thinking she was going to just be a part of the Dollywood commercial I was doing. When she mentioned Opry, my heart exploded,” Pearce told Music Mayhem. “To me, the Opry is the most prestigious honor in country music,” she continued. “It means everything to me to be an Opry member.”

During two of her recent performances, one being at the Opry and the other being at the Listening Room, Pearce debuted two new singles, “Didn’t Do” and “Dear Loretta,” both of which earned her a standing ovation. Pearce expressed the pride and excitement that came from sharing this new music with her fans, who have already fallen in love with it.

“To receive a standing ovation in the circle with a song that is so reflective of my life meant the world to me,” Pearce said in speaking about her song “Dear Miss Loretta.”

On the subject of new music, Pearce has also hinted to us that her EP “29” might not be finished just yet. We will have to see what unfolds for Pearce and her new music as she prepares to head on Lady A’s “What A Song Can Do” Tour.

Music Mayhem caught up with Pearce to find out more about her new music, becoming a Grand Ole Opry member, her upcoming tour and more. Read on to find out what Pearce has been up to in this exclusive Q&A!

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We have to start with your dog making her red carpet debut with you at the 2021 CMT Music Awards, which was the most adorable thing ever. Can you tell us what brought that decision on?

When June was a part of the IAMS commercial with CMT, I thought it would be so fun to have her as my date. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have the cutest date?

You slayed your performance with Lady A at the CMT Music Awards and recently we saw you in the studio with them. Can you tell us about what you guys are working on together? Is there a duet coming?

Lady A and I have been long time friends… and it’s so fun to see our world’s coming full circle. I mean, Wouldn’t you love to see a collab?

Over the course of your career so far, you’ve made several female friends in the country music genre, including Kelsea Ballerini, Lindsay Ell & more. Have you guys had any doggy dates yet and how important is it to you to have them in your life?

June and Lindsay’s dog Hendrix have puppy dates while their moms drink wine. I am so grateful for my girlfriends in the industry because no know whats what it is truly like unless you are one of us.

You previously teased that you, Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris wanted to recreate the Dolly Parton, EmmyLou Harris and Linda Ronstadt ‘Trio’ Album, is that still a possibility or maybe in the works?

I’m such a fan of both of them and think it would be so fun to make our spin on that iconic record… who knows!

You recently played your 85th Opry show but during your 84th show you received a standing ovation after performing an unreleased song called “Dear Miss Loretta,” what was going through your mind during that moment and do you have plans to release this song you penned as a tribute to Loretta Lynn?

To receive a standing ovation in the circle with a song that is so reflective, so reflective of my life meant the world to me. Oh do I ever have plans to release Loretta… YOU JUST WAIT!!

On the topic of the Opry, your friend Jeannie Seely recently told Everything Nash that it will “only a matter of time” before you become an Opry member. How does that feel to know that your longtime friend, inspiration and fellow Opry member is rooting for you?

Jeannie is such a legend in the Opry family, it means everything to me that she feels that I am worthy of such an honor. 

When you reach your milestone 100th Opry appearance, do you have any ideas for a special celebration? If so, what did you have in mind?

I can’t wait till that comes because it feels like a huge milestone. Maybe I’ll wear a banner that says it’s my 100th show!

You recently got invited by country superstar and Icon, Dolly Parton. What was going through your head when you saw her walk in the room to surprise you?

I was so excited thinking she was going to just be a part of the Dollywood commercial I was doing. When she mentioned Opry, my heart exploded!

Talk about a full circle moment, being invited to be an Opry member by Dolly, as you started out singing as an employee at Dollywood. How does this feel?

Oh my gosh, it’s overwhelming. I wish I could go back and tell my 16-year-old self what was coming.

What are you most looking forward to about being inducted into the Opry?

I look forward to being a part of the most prestigious family in country music. I also look forward to being heavily involved with the Opry and keeping the legacy alive.

What does it mean to you to become an Opry member?

To me the Opry is the most prestigious honor in country music. It means everything to me to be an Opry member. 

Going back to talking about new music, during your Listening Room concert, you live debuted a now fan-favorite song that also earned you an ovation called “Didn’t Do.” Can you tell us a bit about that track and will it be appearing on an upcoming project?

I wrote that song never knowing the fan reaction I would receive from a fan video on YouTube. I am excited to bring it to life as a gift to all of my fans.

Your EP, 29, was everything. I love how vulnerable and personal you were on it. Can you tell us how hard it was to talk about tough topics, like divorce and such within your lyrics on the project?

It is my duty as an artist and songwriter to tell my stories, sometimes that means the good side of things and sometimes the not so pretty side. I feel so proud that I am giving a face and a story to something that so many people view shouldn’t be talked about. So many of us go through things like that and now I feel closer to fans from having opened up.

Are you working on the follow-up to 29? How many songs do you have prepared for your next project?

What if I told you 29 wasn’t over? :)?

If you had to describe your new music in three words, what would they be?

Coming up, you will be hitting the road with Lady A. What are you most excited about this upcoming tour and what can fans expect from your set?

I am so excited to get back out in front of fans and most excited to tell them face to face thank you for all they have done for me this past year. 

What else is coming up in 2021 for Carly Pearce?

More music, more touring and more changes to see all of you!

Let’s end with a fun question. If you had to choose one iconic female country singer to duet with, who would it be and what would you name the song?

I would love to sing with dolly and we would sing a song called “The Higher The Hair The Closer To God.”

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her master’s degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Music Mayhem, she has been published in American Songwriter, Country Now, and Holler.Country. When she’s not attending a concert or adding new country music to her playlist, O’Connell spends her time dancing in the studio and traveling with her family.

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