During a period of struggle in Carly Pearce's life that included the sudden death of her producer Busbee, her divorce from fellow artist Michael Ray and a global pandemic that kept her off the road, the singer has said that country music lifted her up when she was at her lowest.

On Wednesday night (Nov. 10), that continued to be the case, as Pearce walked away from the 2021 CMA Awards as its newest Female Vocalist of the Year. Backstage at the awards show, she explained that her win reinforced her confidence in who she is as an artist.

"I think this has solidified for me that people care about what I have to say, and I'm amongst women I've idolized my entire life," Pearce reflects. "It put a lot of confidence in me to continue doing what I'm doing, because it seems to matter, and that's all I ever wanted."

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A year ago, she was still struggling through a divorce that had taken place just a few months before. Though she was riding the high from achieving a No. 1 hit with "I Hope You're Happy Now," her duet with Lee Brice, Pearce's biggest achievements still lay ahead. In the months that followed, she would pick up her first CMA and ACM Awards, become a member of the Grand Ole Opry and now, claim her first CMA Female Vocalist victory.

Pearce reflected on what she might say to that person she was a year ago.

"I would tell her that I know she's sad and that she's struggling, but she's going to have such an amazing redemption story," the singer adds. "So, hold on, sister! This is about to blow your mind."

The 2021 CMA Awards were hosted for the first time by Luke Bryan and returned to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville — its home since 2006 — after one year at Music City Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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