Carly Pearce’s duet with Lee Brice, “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” tells the story of a breakup from two very different sides. It’s a deeply personal story from a time in Pearce’s own life; she wrote the track with Luke Combs, Randy Montana and Jonathan Singleton.
While Pearce may be going through heartbreak in song, real life is a very different story: The singer is counting down the days until her wedding to fellow country star Michael Ray. Pearce admits that broaching the topic of a heartbreak ballad, with Brice taking on the role of a jilted ex-boyfriend, made for a slightly awkward conversation with her husband-to-be, but explains that it’s important for both Ray and herself to make music that explores the chapters of their lives that led to them meeting each other. Read on to learn why, in Pearce’s own words.
There are four writers on it, including myself, but Randy Montana came in later with Jonathan to finish up a few things. So I was in the room with Luke Combs and Jonathan, and we just started talking about — I word-vomited, honestly, about something that I had just been through. Luke and I were buddies, so he kind of knew, because we had played some shows together.
I knew that I wanted to write a duet, and I just started to tell my side of something that I think so many of us go through, which is that sometimes you get complacent in a relationship, or you get comfortable, and you’re not really in love with this person. You’re just in love with the idea of being comfortable, and with someone.
Honestly, that’s where I was. I was on the back end of realizing, over the course of probably a year of staying with this person and keeping it to myself that I wasn’t happy anymore. So Luke was like, “What if I play the role of the guy?” We kind of landed on this [idea] of “I hope you’re happy now,” and the spin on it, of whichever side you’re on, and how you take that differently. Honestly, in the way that all my best songs have happened, it kind of fell out of my mouth.
It was very interesting to me [when I played the song for my fiance, Michael Ray], to be like, “Hey, I wrote this song that’s actually because I met you, [“Closer to You”], but now I’m gonna take the next year and talk about my ex-boyfriend. And Lee Brice is gonna play my ex-boyfriend in a song. And I need you to be okay with that. And we’re gonna get married during this.” You know, I mean, he is so supportive of me as an artist. Obviously, he’s a man that has feelings … but we’re artists, and we’re here to tell stories.
You know, he has a heartbreak ballad out right now about somebody in his past [“Her World or Mine”]. So I think it’s both of us giving you guys the closing chapters of this time in our lives before we met each other. I think that’s a really important phase that I want people to hear.
I think this particular song is so crucial to so many relationships that I see, whether you’re settling, or staying because it’s comfortable, or staying because you’re scared to be alone. [I want to tell people in that situation] to jump, you know? And wish ’em well. And write songs about ’em, and then get Lee Brice to sing ’em!
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