Carly Pearce Reveals 29 Lessons She’s Learned in Life

Pearce is the reigning CMA Female Vocalist of the Year and a four-time ACM nominee.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

March 5, 2022


9:21 am

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Carly Pearce; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

When Carly Pearce was 29, she endured one of the most difficult years of her life. While her career was climbing to new heights with her chart-topping Lee Brice duet, “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” behind the scenes, her personal life was crumbling.

Soon, her private life became very public when her eight-month marriage to fellow country singer Michael Ray came to an abrupt end. 

A natural-born songwriter, Pearce did was she knows best. She turned to music to help navigate what would ultimately become a rollercoaster of a year filled with highs and lows. 

There was a light at the end of the tunnel, however. She channeled her heartbreak into 29: Written In Stone, what would go on become a career-changing album for her. Her career exploded and she recently earned four nominations for the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards: Female Artist of the Year, Album of the Year for 29: Written In Stone, and Video of the Year and Music Event of the Year for “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” with Ashley McBryde

Now 31, Pearce has learned her fair share of life lessons and she’s here to share 29 of them exclusively with Country Now readers, just days ahead of the launch of the second leg of her The 29 Tour. These lessons can be applied to relationships, careers, friendships and simply navigating life in general. 

Here are 29 lessons from Carly Pearce…

Carly Pearce - Written In Stone Cover Art; Courtesy Big Machine Records
Carly Pearce – Written In Stone Cover Art; Courtesy Big Machine Records

1. Authenticity is Everything

“I remember feeling so intimidated once I decided to release my own music, and there were so many milestones that made me feel like I was on top of the world and yet so insecure at the same time. I would go into meetings thinking What if they don’t like me but in reality, the best thing you can be is yourself.”

2. Never be Afraid or Ashamed to Speak Your Truth

“It wasn’t until I began writing music that I realized to never let someone make me believe that my ideas or thoughts were inferior or unimportant. Your idea, no matter how big or small, could change the world.”

3. Take Advice and Constructive Criticism to Heart

“I learned that if someone is giving me their thoughts on something, whether it’s an important project or a personal battle, it means that they care deeply for you and you should value the words they have to say.”

4. Take Risks

“I know this sounds so cliche, but truly I wouldn’t be here if I never took the leap of faith to move to Nashville and make my dream come true. Don’t worry about the ‘what ifs’ and just take the jump. If you’re meant to do it, it will happen, I promise.”

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5. Never Take Time with Loved Ones For Granted 

“My long-time producer, busbee passed away due to brain cancer in 2019 and it was one of the most challenging seasons of my life. He was someone who always believed in me and pushed me to become the best version of myself I could be. Our time here doesn’t last forever, so keep the ones you love close to you.”

6. It’s Ok to Feel Lost

“I think one of my greatest challenges was realizing and accepting that I don’t have total control over everything all the time. I think when I was writing “29,” I finally came to terms with this. But I realized at the end of the day, feeling lost is an opportunity for a new beginning, and that is such a special thing.”

7. Dreams Require Sacrifices  

“No one can ever prepare you for how hard it will be to chase your dreams. I was just a kid when I began my musical journey. I missed out on a lot of things growing up to practice, perform or write. The beauty of chasing your dreams is that they never stop. You can never stop improving which is such a beautiful thing.”

Carly Pearce; Photo Courtesy CMA
Carly Pearce; Photo Courtesy CMA

8. Do What Makes You Happy

“Some of my happiest and most challenging moments have revolved around music. No matter what chaos or challenges I face, music will always be my greatest love, and I find endless amounts of happiness in it.”

9. Embrace the Challenging Seasons

“With pain comes growth. No matter what challenges you face, I promise you’ll come out of the situation as a better, wiser person.”

10. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

“This is probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to come to terms with, especially in an industry where there are endless amounts of charts and metrics that literally compare your artistry to others’. The best thing to do is to stand by the things you’re proud of and understand that your worth isn’t based on how others see you.”


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11. Learn to Love Yourself

“Y’all know I’ve done some embarrassing things, like  falling on stage or forgetting my own lyrics, but the beauty of making mistakes is embracing the imperfections and loving yourself even more because of them.”

12. The Good Things Take Time

“Relationships, careers, all of the milestones in life require patience and hard work. Enjoy the ride because some of my happiest moments have stemmed from mundane moments which spark inspiration and become life-changing.”

13. Don’t Lose Faith 

“In everything I do I put my faith at the forefront and countless times that has allowed me to carry on when I almost felt like giving up.”

14. Know You’re Loved

“During some of the most challenging moments, it’s so easy to fall into the negative energy and let it fill your mind with negative thoughts. We are often told that we are unlovable or unworthy of receiving love and no matter where you are in your life, there are so many people who love and value you.”

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15. Embrace Failure

“You spend so many years in your 20s feeling lonely and insecure, and it can become easy to stay in that mindset, but without failure, we couldn’t have growth. Just know and be sure in yourself that each challenge or failure will make you stronger.”

16. Health is Wealth

“I think one of the most important things I’ve learned is that making your mental and physical health a priority will never lead you astray. You only have one body and one mind, so take care of it and feed it with the best nourishment and thoughts.”

17. Don’t be Afraid to Say No

“There are times when it pays to say yes to everything, but learning the balance between that and when you truly need to take time for yourself is key.  I still struggle with this at times, but in the long run, you always need to put yourself first.  Know when your body needs a night off.” 

18. Don’t Be Afraid to Keep Going when Someone Says No

“Sometimes you’ll need to be the one to say no, other times, people will say it to you.  Learning to know when something isn’t right is important but there are those rare moments when trusting your gut and persevering could lead to a big payoff.”  

Carly Pearce; Photo by Allister Ann
Carly Pearce; Photo by Allister Ann

19. People Come and Go in Life and That’s Ok

“Not all relationships are meant to last a lifetime, and that’s ok. It’s so easy to want to hold onto a relationship because of history or memories, but if you don’t feel like you’re growing together, it’s ok to let go.”

20. Find Friends Wherever You Go 

“Building friendships with those around me has been a blessing.  Whether I’m on the road or at home, it’s been so important for me to surround myself with people I can be myself around.  This is a key aspect of recharging and nurturing my soul.” 

21. There’s No Magic Bullet to Success

“It’s so easy to compare yourself to others who have more money or more talent than you, but just remember that everyone’s timeline and road to success is different. Don’t compare your path to another, success can only be defined by your priorities and looks different for everyone.”

22. Embrace Change

“We are designed to change and experience new things and to grow from them. Some of the scariest, biggest changes you will make in your life will be the best decisions you will make.”


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23. Work is Very Personal – Do Something You’re Passionate About

“I’m fortunate enough to be very passionate about my work, but everything that you exert work and energy into should be valuable. Bring your whole, authentic self into your work and do something you’re proud of.”

24. Mistakes Are Learning Opportunities

“This is a straightforward one but I think it’s such an important perspective to have in this life. Beating yourself up over your mistakes does nothing productive.”

25. Trust Your Gut

“Your intuition is there for a reason – trust yourself and follow your gut instinct.”

26. Be Present

“Being present takes a conscious effort. Try to remember the importance of grounding yourself in the present moment when you can. Take the time to examine your mindset, meditate, reflect or whatever you need to do to quiet the rest of the noise in your mind and focus on the present, entirely. This takes a conscious effort, but is continuously important in a world where we are constantly plugged in and self-absorbed.”

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27. Don’t Let One Bad Day Bring You Down

“We’ve all had days where it feels like the world is out to get you. I’ve learned to the best thing you can do in these moments is take a deep breath and remember it will pass. There is so much more than what you are feeling in that moment.”

28. There’s Nothing Wrong With Putting Yourself First

“It’s easy to forget one of the most important relationships in your life is the one you have with yourself.  Sometimes the only way to improve all your other relationships is to look inward and assess what you need.”

29. There’s Always More To Learn

“No matter what age, how many of your goals you have met, or how successful you feel, there is always more room for growth. There are opportunities to learn in every situation if you look for it.  That’s what was so beautiful about the process of writing “29” – I was able to continue the story and allow for all the healing and learning that came with it.”  

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.