Carly Pearce Discusses Cathartic Songwriting Process Behind '29'

I've always been a big fan of Carly Pearce's music since her first record came out. Her ability to tell a story is truly remarkable, with witty lines and melodic hooks scattered all over her first two records, Pearce has captured the hearts of fans across the World. This latest record is like no other though, she truly wears her heart on her sleeve as she sings about the death of friend and collaborator busbee and references her divorce from Michael Ray. Through the darkness of the last year, Pearce has emerged with the most incredible of albums which will surely help to shine a light for other people who have experienced similar loss. I caught up with Pearce to delve a little deeper into the stories behind '29'.


Credit: Allister Ann
Credit: Allister Ann


This record is outstanding, I know it was born out of two very heartbreaking events that happened in your life, but they say music is like therapy so how cathartic was writing this album?


It was therapy, therapy with my closest friends in the industry. What covid did for me and quarantine, it allowed me to process, it allowed me to heal, it allowed me to grieve and I think that’s what you hear in the music.


For this record, you wrote with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne and I know you’ve written with them before but they also produced the record, what was it like working with them so closely on this?


I’ve said that busbee was a pop producer and I think ‘I Hope You’re Happy Now’ was the most country he was ever going to get and I loved my projects with him. I felt like an extra layer was discovered working with Josh and Shane because they moved to Nashville loving the same country music that I did - the nineties females. So we connected on such a level that was exciting for me, it was exactly what I needed.


You can hear the story on this record, it’s one of those albums that’s meant to be listened to from start to finish, it takes you on a journey. There’s a couple of hard-hitting songs on there including ’29’ which is both relatable yet deeply personal. It must be very daunting going into a room and saying “this is where I’m at, lets write about it” what was that like?


I wrote a lot of these before the World knew what was happening to me. I got the idea of ’29’ during quarantine and I was walking around my parents town in Alabama and I got talking to one of my really good girlfriends who was a bridesmaid at my wedding and I said to her “I think I need to write a song called 29 - the year I got married and divorced” and she was like “Wow good luck with that!” For me it felt like the only way I knew how to do it, I’ve always been completely honest, written from my heart. If I came out with anything that wasn’t authentic, fans would be able to tell because I’m that kind of artist so I leaned into it.


We’ve spoken a little bit about some of the co-writers on this record but you also wrote with Emily Shackleton and Jimmy Robbins, what’s it like working with them?


Emily is like my sister so it only felt right that she be a part of this project. She’ll be a key part in all of the music to come. She has this ability to be right there in the trenches and in the moment when I need her to be. Jimmy Robbins is such a sweet friend of mine and he produced the song we wrote on this record too, it the only song on there that Shane and Josh didn’t produce. It was special to me to be able to keep this in a close circle of people, given what had happened to me. I quite frankly wanted to hide and only tell a few people how I was feeling. I love the people that I write with and we shared a special bond through this project.


The album concludes with ‘Day One’ a song which eludes to moving on, it’s cautiously optimistic about the future, why was it important for you to write this song but to also put it as the last track on the album?


It was so important, when we go through hard times we get so overwhelmed with the thought of taking the first step. When you do take the first step you’re allowing yourself permission to get over it. I wanted to end on this track because you could listen to it on loop if you wanted to but also because that last verse is truly where I am and that felt so powerful to me because I wrote this song, not when I was there but I now can listen to it and think ‘oh my goodness, you can get there. If you just get through day one, it’ll be ok’.


'29' is available to buy and stream now!

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