Carly Pearce walked away from the 2022 ACM Awards with two new trophies to add to her growing collection. The Kentucky native won Female Artist of the Year and Music Event of the Year, the latter for her “Never Wanted to Be That Girl” collaboration with Ashley McBryde.
Pearce shared the Female Artist of the Year category with McBryde, Gabby Barrett, Miranda Lambert and Maren Morris — a high caliber of talent that Pearce was already grateful to be a part of, and even more grateful now that she walked away with the trophy.
“So many of my heroes have won this award, and I think just the last year has blown my mind,” Pearce said backstage after her double wins. “It’s really hard to put into words what it means, but I hope that this industry and this genre knows that country music is all I’ve ever wanted. I have always dreamt of this moment, and I will never, ever take it for granted. Going down as one of the women that won this is just the most special, sacred thing. I will cherish this forever.”
“Never Wanted to Be That Girl” was also nominated for Video of the Year, with that trophy going to Lambert and Elle King, for their “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” video. “Never Wanted to Be That Girl” is part of Pearce’s telling 29: Written in Stone album, a personal recount, via the 15 tracks, of her heartache and recovery following her split from Michael Ray after less than a year of marriage. The song is both achingly honest and painfully raw — and surprisingly universal in its message.
“I have had people in the industry, I have had fellow artists, I have had fans come up to me and share their stories of infidelity with me, and how this song has made them pull over on the side of the road, or made them start crying when they heard it for the first time,” Pearce reveals. “I feel like I’m learning about my fans and about my peers in a whole new way, because we are relating on something that you don’t really want to talk about, but is a very normal and realistic thing that happens in life.
“For me, I feel like I know people better because of this song and because of this subject matter and because I didn’t shy away from that, and I’m really proud of that,” she adds.
A female artist, Lainey Wilson, won Song of the Year (for “Things a Man Oughta Know”) and a female artist, namely Lambert, also walked away as the reigning Entertainer of the Year — both indicative, at least according to Pearce, of female artists once again being welcomed with open arms into country msuic.
“I feel like for the last year I’ve been saying, ‘The ladies are here to stay,'” Pearce says. “I’m just so proud to be in this class of women. It just feels so good to see people that I admire and also people that I championed, win.”
Pearce will embark on the second leg of her The 29 Tour on March 10 in Chattanooga, Tennesse. “Never Wanted to Be That Girl” is in the Top 15 at radio, and climbing. Find all of Pearce’s music and tour dates at CarlyPearce.com.