"At this moment, I feel centered and settled," the country star tells PEOPLE. "All the things that have happened recently have me turning 30 very, very gratefully"

By Tricia Despres
April 24, 2020 05:45 PM

This is not necessarily how Carly Pearce imagined celebrating her 30th birthday.

The country star with the sweet voice didn’t picture spending the day isolating in Alabama with her parents by her side, or waiting for husband Michael Ray to drive in from Nashville for a quiet celebration at a local park. Yet, with the continued spread of the coronavirus, Pearce knows that that is the way it has to be this year.

And believe it or not, she’s perfectly fine with it.

“I’m pretty introverted, so I’m actually relieved that I don’t have to have some blowout 30th birthday party,” says Pearce with a laugh, mere minutes after receiving the news that her No. 1 debut single “Every Little Thing” has gone platinum. “I’m perfectly fine with a quiet day and a little wine and just the chance to be happy. It’s really all I need.”

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Pearce was told Thursday that her and duet partner Lee Brice’s single “I Hope You’re Happy Now” has snagged a RIAA and CRIA GOLD certification, making it one of only three country singles released in the past seven months to achieve the RIAA certification and second GOLD or higher in that time frame.

And while all of the awards and accolades and a milestone birthday may serve as a much-needed distraction for Pearce at the moment, the seriousness of the ongoing pandemic is never far from her mind.

Because, yes, coronavirus has changed everything.

“I made the decision to come down here to Alabama for the last month because frankly, I got scared,” Pearce admits to PEOPLE. “My mom has weak lungs and she had some scares last year with pneumonia — I just didn’t want to be seven hours away from her right now. I’m an only child, so I made that decision.”

Her husband of six months has supported her in that crucial conclusion.

“Michael has been here the majority of the time, but he’s working on new music and trying to figure out how to make an album in this quarantine. He’s been in Nashville and he went to see his family too,” says the 2019 CMA Awards New Artist of the Year. “It’s been a crazy time, but a content time. To be able for us to spend this much time together and with my parents at this time has been a blessing.”

Indeed, it’s a luxury that the country couple are trying to enjoy as much as possible, especially considering their normally jam-packed reality.

“We really have been operating like two normal people rather than two artists juggling schedules and never seeing each other,” Pearce says. “You have to find the silver lining of all of this and the good in these times that we are in right now.”

Granted, Pearce has been fairly transparent on social media as of late that none of this has been easy.

“People see us onstage and posting these photos after a show living this rock-star life, but at the end of the day, that’s not how I have been feeling,” she admits. “I wanted people to get a grasp of the fact that I’m going what you are going through and I’m feeling the same things you are feeling. I mean, I wanted to use this time not worrying about how I was going to keep my brand alive, but be more of who I truly am.”

And who Pearce is at 30 is so very different than the girl she once was; the girl who left her Kentucky home at 16 to take a job at Dollywood, completely unsure of what the future held or if her childhood dreams of being a big country music star would even come true.

“That was a different stratosphere of life back then,” she recalls. “I can’t even imagine what could possibly happen to me in the next 10 years. At this moment, I feel centered and settled. All the things that have happened recently have me turning 30 very, very gratefully.“