Carly Pearce Enlists Lee Brice to ‘Do the Lee Thing’ on New Throwback Duet, ‘I Hope You’re Happy Now’ [LISTEN]
When Carly Pearce walked in to the writing session that produced her new single, "I Hope You're Happy Now," with co-writers Luke Combs, Jonathan Singleton and Randy Montana, she hoped to walk out with a classic country heartbreak duet. And that's exactly what she got.
"When Luke and I were in there, I was like, 'Gosh -- remember Reba [McEntire] and Brooks & Dunn, Tim [McGraw] and Faith [Hill], all those songs that just wrecked me back then?' I wanted one of those," Pearce told The Boot and other media before her new song's release. "I wanted one of those showstopper moments that is a true duet, that makes you hurt."
The resulting song, Pearce says, is the most personal story she has shared since her debut single, "Every Little Thing." Press play above to listen to "I Hope You're Happy Now," which dropped Friday (Sept. 27).
The first time Lee Brice heard the track, it was that traditional heartbreak style that drew him in. "That was the first thing I heard, was that it sounded like a classic country song that makes me go, 'Man oh man,' just thinking about the '90s and some duets that were great," he recalls. "It probably didn't hurt to have Luke Combs [writing the song]. He's country, you know what I mean?! So y'all two in the room together probably lent itself to writing a country song."
For Brice, agreeing to the duet was a no-brainer. "My manager had texted me and was like, 'We just got a call and wanted to know if you would want to do a duet with Carly Pearce.' I was like, 'Well, yeah! Send it over,'" Brice says with a laugh. On the demo, Pearce and Combs were singing together, "and I immediately loved the song," Brice recounts. "I was like, 'I'm in.' I loved how she was singing, how Luke was singing, how it was put together, everything about it."
There was just one problem: the logistics of actually recording the song. "She was like, 'Well, can we sing it now?'" Brice remembers. "I'm like, 'Well, my bus isn't coming home for another month. I mean ... I can do it out here.' I have a studio on my bus that I built."
Brice wound up recording his part of "I Hope You're Happy Now" in his mobile studio, which he originally built with the hope of fitting in some studio time while on tour, so that he could spend more time with his family while he's home. He finished cutting the track and sent it to Pearce, but was worried about the recording quality. Pearce wasn't fazed by that, but she did have a different comment.
"She basically was like, 'I love how it sounds, I think it's gonna be great, but I just miss a little bit of you in it,'" Brice continues. "I was hearing Luke [in the demo], and Luke killed it, but I was kind of channeling what he was doing because I didn't know exactly what they wanted. Then when she said that, I was like, 'Okay, I'll go back and sing the parts, except just be me and try not to channel Luke as much.' Which is all it really took, I guess."
"I said, 'Do the Lee thing!'" Pearce adds. "We all know what 'the Lee thing' is. And it was perfect."
The new single comes off Pearce's forthcoming sophomore album, and follows her previous single, "Closer to You." Though the project's first single had more of a pop-country influence, the singer says that the bulk of her record will fall sonically more in line with the traditional styling of "I Hope You're Happy Now."
"These are the types of songs -- the sonic sound, the way it's sung, the duet thing -- that made me fall in love with country music," she says. "It's that timeless sound that I love, and I just thought it was really important for me to make sure that was what I came with [on this next single]."
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