Few people were as close to producer and songwriter Busbee as Carly Pearce, which is why his death last year left the singer devastated. Busbee, whose real name was Michael James Ryan Busbee, helped Pearce get her record deal, and both wrote with her and recorded her freshman Every Little Thing album, as well as her just-released self-titled sophomore record. So when Busbee died in September from brain cancer, shortly after Pearce and Busbee turned in her new project, Pearce considered scrapping all of it and starting over.
"Just because it was so painful for me. I didn't know how to make music without him, and I was just sad," Pearce told PEOPLE, when discussing releasing the record after his death. Still, it didn't take long for the Kentucky native to realize that releasing a record he produced would be her last and greatest gift to him.
"I feel so honored that I got the last full record that he ever made," Pearce reflected.
Busbee might be gone, but his influence will still permeate everything Pearce does moving forward.
"He had an unbelievable way of getting a vocal," boasted Pearce. "He wasn't just a producer for me. He was a co-writer. He was a vocal helper. He was a friend. He was a confidant. I mean, I talked to him almost every day. Music will forever be different for me moving forward just because he helped me build what I am."
While Pearce will miss Busbee on both a personal and professional level, she is immensely proud of their final record.
"I feel like we both felt like this album would be the one that really put my flag in the ground, and hopefully took me to the next level," Pearce told PopCulture.com. "And we had so much fun making this one. I would just tell him, in the last two records, and since the beginning of Every Little Thing, he helped me find my voice. He helped me find my artistry. He helped me get my dream and I'm just forever grateful to that and really, really proud of what we did."
Busbee might be gone, but Pearce will carry all the things Busbee taught her moving forward.0comments
"What's great is no matter where I go next, I will keep a lot of the same things that he taught me.," Pearce promised "I will also keep the same team around me that worked in the studio alongside of us. It's important to me because I wouldn't have changed producers. He was my guy. So just making sure that I keep his legacy alive in different ways, in the ways that I can control."
Photo Credit: Getty / Jim Spellman