Carly Pearce reveals “Next Girl” started out sad, and only got better after a suggestion from the boss

Allister Ann

Carly Pearce‘s latest top-twenty hit is a spunky warning to the “Next Girl” about the handsome, charming Romeo who’s just broken her heart. But that’s not how the “Every Little Thing” hitmaker originally envisioned it.

“I heard it as kind of a letter,” she tells ABC Audio, “a sad letter to the next girl.”

“And I was writing on Zoom with Shane [McAnally] and Josh [Osborne],” she recalls, “and Shane kind of looked at me and he said, ‘You love all those anthems from the 90’s. Why don’t we turn this into one of those?’”

“And I said, ‘Well, what do you mean?’” she continues. “And he referenced ‘Blame It on Your Heart’ — Patty Loveless — and I immediately was in.”

With the 1993 chart-topper by her fellow Kentuckian as a reference point, Carly says “Next Girl” “kind of wrote itself.” But when she took it to Big Machine head Scott Borchetta, he still believed they could do better.

“He said, ‘I think this song is a game-changer for you, but I don’t think you’ve nailed the chorus yet,’” Carly reveals. “And of course, as a songwriter, I was super offended. But he said, ‘I think you should just go in and explore it a little more.’”

“And he was totally right,” Carly says in retrospect. “That little breakdown section at the end, we didn’t really have that nailed down. And Scott knew what he was talking about.”  

This past weekend, Carly got the chance to perform “Next Girl” for the first time for a full house at the Grand Ole Opry, after the country music institution removed COVID-19 capacity limits earlier this month.

This July, Carly heads out on the What a Song Can Do Tour with her label mates, Lady A.

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