New Artist nominee Carly Pearce is ready to hit the red carpet with her “arm candy” Michael Ray

ABC Audio

At the CMA Awards on Wednesday, Carly Pearce is celebrating a lot of firsts: Her first CMA nod — for  New Artist of the Year — and her first red carpet as a married woman.

Carly and Michael Ray tied the knot just over a month ago, and the couple will be making their red carpet debut as husband and wife on Wednesday. 

“He says he’s my arm candy, which he is,” Carly laughed on Tuesday. “He’s got a designer suit. I’m proud of him! It’s got some stuff on it — it’s cool. And then m[y dress] is just…you know, I may never get nominated again for a CMA, so I’m going all out!”

Just as exciting for Carly is the fact that she’s got her first nomination in a year when women will be highlighted on the telecast, and Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton are hosting.

“Just the photos that have come out of Carrie and Reba and Dolly together, that is such a powerful statement for me,” Carly gushed.

“To look at those three women who are in different decades but have made so much happen for people like me in this industry, and to be able to be a part of the show, this particular year, where there are so many iconic women a part of it, and to be nominated this year…it feels so special.”

When it comes to winning, Carly swore she’d be fine if anyone else in her category — like Morgan Wallen or Ashley McBryde — takes home the trophy.

“All of them deserve it, and all of them I respect as artists…as people, and I’m a fan,” she said. “I mean, this is a stacked category. I don’t care who wins. Whoever wins, it’s a good representation of country music.”

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