Carly Pearce reveals how her idol Dolly Parton changed her life forever

13 March 2024, 11:33

Carly Pearce talks to Smooth Country
Carly Pearce talks to Smooth Country. Picture: Smooth/Global/Carly Pearce

By Tom Eames

Carly Pearce has become one of country music's most popular stars.

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The Kentucky-born singer is a three-time Country Music Association Award winner, a four-time Academy of Country Music Award winner, a Grammy Award winner, and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2021.

Carly Pearce is back with her new album Hummingbird this summer, fresh from performing at the 2024 C2C festival in the UK.

Smooth Country's Eamonn Kelly caught up with Carly to hear about her new album, joining Tim McGraw on his tour, and her love of her idol Dolly Parton.

Carly explained how she convinced her parents to move the family to be closer to Dollywood as a kid, so that she could start her country music career.

"I was 16," she said. "I saw an audition to sing in the country show at Dollywood. I thought that would be so much better than starting my sophomore year of high school.

Dolly Parton shocks ex-Dollywood performer with Grand Ole Opry invite

"So I convinced my parents to let me quit high school and homeschool, and we moved almost 5 hours away to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, where Dollywood is. And I did six shows a day, five days a week, and I finished my schooling in between, and I got my diploma in the mail."

On how Dolly was important to her as a child, she added: "I mean, she's been so influential, I think, to any female in country music. But for me, just kind of being immersed in that culture of Dollywood as a kid, realising. I always call her the quadruple threat. She's an amazing songwriter, amazing singer.

"I don't know if people know this, but she wrote 'Jolene and 'I Will Always Love You' in the same day. And you're just like, 'I'm just going to wake up and write two of the most iconic songs ever'. That does not happen. Amazing songwriter, amazing singer, amazing businesswoman.

Carly Pearce - hummingbird (official music video)

"But she's also remained so humble and has this heart to where you feel like she's your best friend, also your fairy godmother. And I just don't understand how she does it in the way that she does it and that she continues to reinvent herself to where she now has a line of dog clothes.

"I mean, you think you're working hard, and then you see people like dolly and you're like. And she just put out this rock album and it's just crazy."

Speaking about touring with Tim McGraw, Carly said: "I was getting my nails done, I was in a pedicure chair and somebody called me and they were like, 'hey, Tim McGraw wants you to come on the road with him next year'.

"And for me, I love '90s country. I've always said that was the era that made me want to do this, but I haven't been able to tour with a true '90s artist.

"Talk about somebody who continues to elevate and reinvent their career, he's at the top of his game, but he's one of those true '90s artists. And I'm so excited. And obviously, Faith Hill was one of my biggest influences, so I'm hoping that we can become best friends.

"And I actually hung out with Tim last week and he's just wonderful. And I'm hoping that maybe I can get an eight pack like him at the end of the year."

Carly Pearce's Hummingbird is released on June 14.