"You overlook a lot when he looks like that," sings Carly Pearce on the new song, just over two months since calling it quits with ex-husband Michael Ray

By Benjamin VanHoose
September 04, 2020 01:25 PM
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Carly Pearce is warning the "next girl" in her latest song.

With her divorce from Michael Ray set to be finalized this week, the country star, 30, debuted a new single titled "Next Girl," in which she sings of hidden "red flags" and self-blame after a breakup. "You’re gonna think it's all your fault/ It's just a switch that he turns off/ He'll make you think it's love/ But I promise you it's not," croons Pearce.

Elsewhere in the tune, Pearce — who picked up four CMA Award nominations earlier this week — speaks directly to whomever will be the so-called next girl as she tracks the crumbling of a relationship.

"Hey next girl, you don't know me/ I'm just the one he says went crazy on him/ That's just what he does/ But once upon a time I was/ The next girl, I've been where you're at/ You overlook a lot when he looks like that/ He'll charm your mama with that smile/ Hide the red flags for a little while," she sings.

"We live in a world where there are so many smooth-talking guys who're so quick to sweep you off your feet – and they always have a story about the girl before," said Pearce in a press release. "So when we were asking ourselves, 'What would Patty Loveless do?' We figured not only would she warn the girl, she'd turn over all the cards: how he works, how he talks about the old girlfriend, what he'll do once he's got her."

Carly Pearce
Allister Ann

Pearce said she was "nervous" to record "Next Girl," especially following the death of her longtime producer busbee, but quickly felt reassured and connected to the message once she was in the studio.

"It was also so exciting because as the tracks started going down, I realized: This is who I am at my core," she said. "This is the music that flows through my blood, that comes out of my pores. It's everything I love and loved all in one song, and when it's rushing by, it just feels good."

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Carly Pearce's "Next Girl"
Courtesy Big Machine Records

In conversation with The Kelleigh Bannen Show on Apple Music Country, explained how broken relationships inspired the cautionary song.

"If a girl has not experienced this yet, God bless them that they haven't — they're going to," said Pearce. "And I feel like the song is almost like preparation and also an anthem of just, like, this has nothing. ... We as women think it has to do with us. It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with them."

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Ray, 32, and Pearce tied the knot on Oct. 6, 2019, on a Nashville-area farm in front of about 100 family members and friends.

In June, both the country stars' reps confirmed to PEOPLE exclusively that they had split after eight months of marriage. The pair had last appeared in public together earlier that month, when they both performed without a live audience at the Grand Ole Opry.

Ahead of the performance, Ray told PEOPLE that he and Pearce were splitting their time in quarantine amid the pandemic between their place in Nashville and their families' homes. He said they spent a month together in the coastal Alabama home of Pearce's parents, where they kept busy by going on a lot of "wine walks."

A source close to Pearce told PEOPLE at the time of their split that her decision to file for divorce wasn't "a quarantine realization" but rather "a last resort." Added the insider: "This was a hard decision. It wasn't something she wanted to have to do."