Carly Pearce started singing country music at a young age. She toured with a bluegrass band when she was 11 and she performed at Dolly Parton‘s Dollywood theme park multiple times a day, several days a week when she was 16.
Earlier this year, Parton surprised Pearce by asking if she’d like to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Pearce officially joined the Opry in August.
Then, Pearce earned several nominations at the 55th CMA Awards. One of the awards she was up for was Female Vocalist of the year, with fellow nominees being Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, Gabby Barrett, and Ashley McBryde.
Pearce was shocked beyond belief when her name was called as the winner in the category. Her “Never Wanted to Be That Girl” duet partner, McBryde, helped lead her up on stage because she could tell Pearce was overcome with emotion.
After Pearce made her way on stage, she collapsed in front of presenters Amy Grant and Lauren Daigle and started to sob. She eventually stood up and made her way to the microphone, though she struggled to regain her composure.
“I really didn’t think this was gonna happen,” Pearce said before breaking down. She then called out to McBryde, saying, “Help me!“
McBryde made her way on stage to help her friend with her acceptance speech. She stepped in front of the microphone and said, “What she meant to say was, there is a lot of love, respect and admiration in this category.”
Pearce managed to collect herself and issued a round of thank yous, first giving her thanks to God. Then, she spoke about how much this award means to her as a lover of country music:
“I’ve had just like a crazy year, and I just want you guys to know that this means everything to me. Country music saved me at a time that I needed it, and I just want you guys to know that this is all I’ve ever wanted in the entire world, and I just hope you know that country music is all I love, so thank you so much.”
You can watch Pearce’s emotional acceptance speech at the 2021 CMA Awards below. Congratulations to her!