HomeEntertainmentMusicCountry MusicCarly Pearce and Ashley McBryde Earn Rare Chart Feat as ‘Never Wanted to Be That Girl’ Reaches No. 1

Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde Earn Rare Chart Feat as ‘Never Wanted to Be That Girl’ Reaches No. 1

by Jim Casey
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ACM)

Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde earned a rare chart feat this week. Their award-winning duet, “Never Wanted to Be That Girl,” reached No. 1 on both the Mediabase chart and Billboard Country Airplay chart. While that is a stellar accomplishment in its own right, the breakup ballad is also just the third duet from solo female artists to reach No. 1 in the last 30 years.

“Never Wanted to Be That Girl” joins Miranda Lambert and Elle King’s “Drunk (And I Don’t Want to Go Home)” in 2022 and Reba McEntire and Linda Davis’ “Does He Love You” in 1993 as chart-topping duets from solo female artists who decided to join forces.

“So many people have been where this song takes you . . . it’s so real and feels so raw,” says Carly 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.”

Award-Winning Duet

Penned by Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde, and Shane McAnally, “Never Wanted to Be That Girl” is featured on Carly’s third studio album, 29: Written in Stone. The tune is Carly’s third chart-topping single, following 2017’s “Every Little Thing” and 2019’s “I Hope You’re Happy Now.”

“Never Wanted to Be That Girl” is Ashley’s first No. 1 single. She scored a Top 20 hit with “One Night Standards” in 2020.

“First times only happen once,” said Ashley, in part, via Twitter. “I’ll always love that she, Shane and I trusted each other and ourselves to be brutally honest when we wrote it. It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.”

In March, Ashley and Carly’s collaboration was named ACM Musical Event of the Year.

“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,” says Carly Pearce. “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.”

“We’ve heard so many stories from men and women—all ages—who’ve been in this position, realized what was happening and got the heck out,” Ashley McBryde says. “That’s a big part of why this probably went to No.1: so many people unfortunately know this feeling all too well.”