Carly Pearce on teaming with CMA Foundation to be “a voice for music education”


Having grown up with big music dreams, Carly Pearce knows the importance of helping young students with similar aspirations.

That’s why she teamed with the CMA Foundation recently to pay a surprise visit to students at Knoxville, Tennessee’s Bearden Middle School.

“I asked [these kids] if they knew what they wanted to do when they grew up and so many of them raised their hands,” Carly tells the press. “I hope that that childlike ambition and wonder stays with them, and that nobody makes them believe that they can’t do what they want to do because they can.”

Being a child with huge, sometimes unconventional music dreams is something Carly relates to.

“I think for me, I felt a little bit like the odd kid out because I wanted to do music and I wanted to write songs, and I wanted to be on stage,” she says, adding that it’s important to encourage and nurture young talents. “I know that that changed my life as a kid, just having teachers [who] believed in me and opportunities and instruments and all that kind of stuff.”

“If it weren’t for Les Woodard, my fifth-grade music teacher, I don’t know that I would have had such a young belief in myself that I could do this,” Carly continues, emphasizing why being “a voice for music education with the CMA Foundation” is imperative for her.

“For me, my biggest dream was to sing country music, and now I’m playing on the biggest stage that our format has,” Carly says of CMA Fest, which all artists volunteer their time to play at. “I think that’s a beautiful thing and it really does matter what we’re taught as kids.”

This year’s CMA Fest takes place June 6-9, with ticket proceeds supporting the CMA Foundation’s music education programs. For tickets and the full lineup, visit

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