How It Started: 2017, connecting with Carly at CMA Fest. The seemingly chance meeting led you to move to Nashville to pursue your dream of a career in the music industry. Creating the fan page followed, to benefit her career and help prepare you for a job in marketing and promotions. What has been the most rewarding part of running a fan page?
Before going to Nashville for the first time back in 2017, I made a list of country artists I really wanted to meet at CMA Fest. Carly was at the top of my list because I had found a video from her radio tour on YouTube, and I instantly became a fan.
A few of my friends and I ran into her one night in the parking garage that weekend. It was definitely a God thing.
When we first created Carly P Connect, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I knew nothing about social media marketing or the music industry. The only thing I was confident in was being a fan and understanding what content I would want to see from my favorite artist. I took that and ran with it. I pursued degrees in Entertainment Industry Studies and Public Relations, had numerous internships, and dedicated any extra free time I had to that page. It has given me so many more opportunities that I could ever have dreamed of. The most rewarding part would definitely be the connection I get to make with Carly’s fans. Getting to be that resource for them truly is the biggest dream come true for me. It is all I ever wanted.
“I’m SO happy to announce that I’m going ON THE ROAD with truly one of my favorite people in the world. I met Carly on the side of a street four years ago at CMA Fest. I moved here a few weeks later with no idea what I was doing. Over the years, Carly has been a constant mentor for me — introducing me to people I had no business meeting, inviting me to events I had no reason being at, and speaking truth into me when I needed to hear it most. A few months ago, I was mostly at the end of my rope in the industry and was praying for an open door on what I should do next. And this girl showed up again. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to get to travel and learn from the same people I have admired from the crowd for so long. Thank you, Carly, for believing in me when I truly no longer believed in myself. If anyone needs a reminder of God working even when you don’t feel it, this is definitely it. An answered prayer and a dream come true. Come see cp this summer and fall!!” How It’s Going: 2021, part of her team, as a Merchandise Manager and Production Assistant. What is involved in being a merchandise manager and production assistant?
Ah, just reading that caption again puts water in my eyes. My role changes based on the type of show we are playing.
At festivals, I get to physically sell the merch at the stand.
Not many people know this, but Carly actually gave me the opportunity to play a part in designing her new merch line, so getting to see the reactions to it at the shows is really rewarding for me.
However, on the What A Song Can Do Tour, my position changes quite a bit.
I still deal with the merch, but I also am the on-site VIP representative. I am in charge of setting up the meet & greet experience, and checking in all her fans when they arrive. When the experience is over, I help wherever and whoever I can. I usually help Carly get ready and make sure she is where she needs to be before she goes onstage.
What is something that surprised you about road life?
How close I would get to all of the people I work with. It makes sense because I spend 4–6 days a week with them. But Carly has such a good group of people working for her, and they have become my family. The boys are like my protective older brothers — they always have my back and are looking out for me constantly.
Alexa, Carly’s photographer/videographer, has probably the sweetest soul of anyone I have ever met. It is so fun to have another girl out there on the road. And Carly is truly like a big sister to me. She has been a role model of mine for 4.5 years now, but getting to work with her and seeing how good her heart is has made me look up to her even more. She is one of my best friends, and I trust her with everything.
Can you share a favorite memory from meeting with fan page followers at shows?
Ah, man. I’m not sure if I have a favorite! I have talked to so many of them online for years, so getting to see them at shows is honestly the best part of my day. They have all been so sweet and supportive of my new role. I have had many of them look me in the eyes and tell me that they’re proud of me and that I deserve the opportunity. I have had some of them tell me that I inspire them to work hard after their dreams because anything is possible. It all just becomes so full-circle for me in those moments because I remember being that fan asking the crew how they got to where they are. These people that I am finally meeting at the shows have supported Carly P Connect long before I got a job with Carly. It is really special getting to connect everything together.
What is a typical day like when you’re on the road?
My day begins pretty early. I start by connecting with all of the fans that are attending VIP that day. I introduce myself to them and send them information on where to meet and the different rules we have. I then go meet with all of the tour managers and do a walkthrough with the venue representatives in order to finalize where our VIP location will be. After setting up our whole experience, I head to the merchandise truck to add any new merch from what I counted out the night before. After a quick lunch, I usually head back to the bus to get Carly to sign any posters we need for VIP, and check if she needs me to do anything to make her day easier. After finishing up with that, I head over to the merchandise stand to count in with the venue.
After agreeing on a gross, I then print out our VIP customer lists and meet up with the VIP assistant to roll the posters and get the lanyards ready before check-in starts. At this time, I sometimes have to bring Carly to and from soundcheck after I get the assistant started checking people in. After everyone is prepared to go, I make sure our crew guys are ready in the VIP room before I bring the guests down for the experience.
When we wait for Carly, I usually tell them the story of how I got my job and play “Carly Pearce Trivia” with them — it makes the waiting pretty fun! I take the pictures of them with Carly on their phones, escort them back to the gate, and tear down the VIP experience as quickly as I can.
After that, my day slows down quite a bit. I help Carly get ready — touch up her hair, help her cut/tie her shirts, etc. I bring her to the dressing room by a certain time and make sure she is side stage as soon as her intro music starts playing. Once she is on the stage, I run to the crowd to get videos for Carly P Connect, and if given PIT wristbands that day, I hand those out to fans that are singing along to Carly. That has been super fun for me to get to do.
When Carly gets off stage, I bring her back to the bus. We then usually watch Lady A’s show until Carly needs to go on for an encore performance. When she is done with that, I wait until the show is completely over before I head back to the merchandise stand to count out and settle with the venue. I send my recap emails at the end of the day, and I am off to bed before doing it all again the next day! It is busy, but SO fun!
What do you like to do when there is down time on the road?
I get most of my down time right before Carly gets on stage, and as soon as she gets off. We sometimes turn the music on way too loud and dance until we’re sweating. It is honestly a lot of fun!
How do you see your role once the tour ends?
I’m not sure! I like what I am doing now, and love learning from so many people around me in their different roles. I’m excited for what’s next!
How do you see the fan page evolving in the future?
That is something I am still trying to explore. I think it is truly unique that there is an update account actively working out on the road, which offers a really cool perspective. I show a little more behind-the-scenes footage than I could before, which has caused the page to grow tremendously. I would love to see it continue to be the central space that fans go to in order to communicate with each other and get all of the info they need to know about Carly and what she is up to. Eventually connecting it with her fan club would be the ultimate dream.
Carly P Connect:
Carly Pearce * 29: Written In Stone
Carly's truth. All written in stone. Available now.