Cover Art Courtesy of Big Machine Records & Warner Music Nashville
“Never Wanted To Be That Girl” is No. 1 at Country Radio
Song is the Second Female Duet to Top Charts in 30 Years
Fiercely truthful in her approach, Carly Pearce was looking to inject even more into 29: Written in Stone and knew her friend Ashley McBryde could deliver. Both women know their way around the disappointments in love one can fall prey to so it didn’t take them long to land on “Never Wanted To Be That Girl.” This week, that cheating song from the two women’s perspective is resonating well beyond their writing session as it becomes the No. 1 song on Country radio across both Billboard and Mediabase/Country Aircheck charts.
Initially they just talked about life, had a few laughs and wrote something they were proud of without much thought to what would happen next. The reigning ACM and CMA Female Artist/Vocalist of the Year then called her co-writer up to come sing on the record with a new way of looking at an age-old problem as the two world-class singers played the part. Still, there was no master plan until Big Machine President and CEO Scott Borchetta heard the song. Suddenly “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” wasn’t just a track on the expansion of Pearce’s CMA Album of the Year nominated 29, it was officially her new single.
As Pearce remembers, “So many people have been where this song takes you … it’s so real and feels so raw,” says Pearce. Having Ashley’s emotive voice tell this story with me really drives the message so you feel it no matter which side you may have been on.”
As “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” became No. 1 Most Added single the week it went to Country radio, McBryde shared, “Writing this song strengthened all our friendships and taught us more about one another and ourselves. Nobody wants to be the other one.”
If progress was slow and steady, “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” has certainly struck a nerve. Though ballads traditionally take far longer and often stall, this powerful duet kept making its way up the charts. A bravura performance on the CMA Awards in November added to the song’s drama while an intimate reading of their pre-telecast Music Event win at the 2022 ACM Awards and reimagined version of the song created new dimensions for the heartbreak, high dignity song they created.
“When we were writing, we were just in the moment, thinking about the women we want to be and the way that’s not always how life and love turn out,” Pearce marvels. “But nobody ever paused long enough to think about having a No. 1 record or winning an ACM Award for spilling our secrets and learning from honest mistakes. But now, here we are, and it feels really great.”