Carly Pearce Shares 2019 Goal: 'I Want to Be the Female Country Artist'

Carly Pearce has had an unforgettable 2018, but she's already looking forward to the new year. The Kentucky native, who just announced her co-headlining The Way Back Tour with her good friend, Russell Dickerson, hopes 2019 brings her more performances, more award nominations, and most of all, closer to her fans.

"I think a lot more touring that I'm really excited about," Pearce told PopCulture.com of her future plans. "The new album. Hopefully more nominations that maybe turn into something. Lots more Grand Ole Opry performances. And, I hope with just this next phase that people really start to identify me even more as the girl with the country heart. I want to be the female country artist, and I think I've definitely had an amazing start to that, and just want to keep making my place."

Pearce, who crossed one major item off her bucket list this year, when she performed for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and joined four major tours this year, including stadium shows on Luke Bryan's What Makes You Country Tour. But as the year winds down, the 28-year-old says she is, perhaps surprisingly, more settled than ever.

"There's a moment back in February that I started the Blake Shelton tour on the very first date, where the lights went out in that first arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma," Pearce told PopCulture.com. "I remember that moment and how I felt. And now looking back at this last year, it's insane to think about the emotions of the nerves and just the crazy whirlwind that that girl was on that night in Tulsa to now. I feel more myself. I feel happier. I feel more settled."

"I feel, just in every way that I know what I'm doing more now than ever," she continued, "and have had the year of anybody's dreams to do this for a living, and honestly the year of anybody's dreams just as a girl."

With more than 60 appearances on the Opry stage already, Pearce seems poised to eventually became a member of her favorite place to perform.

"I feel like it's the heartbeat of country music," Pearce explained. "And to be able to be invited to play at such an iconic place that every single person that I've ever dreamt of being like or worshiping from a musical standpoint has stepped on that stage, it's so precious and so sacred. I want to carry on the legacy in a way that I feel Carrie Underwood has done for her generation. I want to be that next female that does that. It's just very important to me."

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Pearce just released her debut single, "Closer to You," from her sophomore album. Download the song on iTunes.

Photo Credit: Getty images/Taylor Hill