Carly Pearce Explains Importance of the Grand Ole Opry

Carly Pearce has often said the Grand Ole Opry is her favorite place to play, and with good reason. The Kentucky native grew up with a love of country music, who revered the Opry as the most hallowed country music institution.

"I feel like it's the heartbeat of country music," Pearce told PopCulture.com. "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."

Since she was a little girl, Pearce dreamed of being invited to join the Grand Ole Opry, and with so many invitations to perform, the once-childhood dream now seems destined to someday become a reality.

"I know that I'd become the crier, because I'm so moved by everything that's happening to me," said Pearce. "To me that's the ultimate goal in my life, to be an Opry member."

Pearce might not have yet achieved that pinnacle, but she's certainly crossing items off her bucket list, including co-headlining her very own tour, The Way Back Tour, with her good friend, Russell Dickerson.

"We have known each other for so long," Pearce explained. "We've had the same trajectory as far as having some ups and downs, and finally having hits together. And literally, about eight years ago we said, 'If we ever do this, we're gonna team up and tour together.' And we're doing it."

Pearce is also enjoying a fast-rising single, "Closer to You," the debut from her upcoming sophomore album. For Pearce, who enjoyed her first No. 1 hit one year ago with the tear-jerking ballad, "Every Little Thing," "Closer to You" is a way to reflect how happy she is with her boyfriend, Michael Ray.

"I think it's so indicative of what's going on in my life right now," Pearce acknowledged. "I went through that heartbreak, and it was devastating. And we all know that I found love this year. In the true fashion of who I am as an artist and what I stand for, I want to mirror my personal life with my music. And 'Closer To You; is exactly where I'm at in my life, and I am excited for fans to see this side of me. I think they've been rooting for me since 'Every Little Thing,' to find love, and I found it."

Found it, indeed. The 28-year-old reveals she will spend both Thanksgiving and Christmas with Ray, marking a huge milestone for the couple.

"[We'll spend] Thanksgiving in New York for the Macy's Day Parade," Pearce disclosed. "I'm singing 'Closer To You' in the Macy's Day Parade. And I'll be going to Florida for Christmas. I'm excited."

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Download "Closer to You" on iTunes.

Photo Credit: Getty images/Allen Berezovsk