Leaving the big time to take on the stars

Angie Mayes • Updated Jan 6, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Lebanon resident Wendy Pearl announced she will into a job which is not only a culmination of what she has done in the past 25 years, but will also allow her to start back at the basics. 

Pearl, a longtime country music industry publicist, will soon take the reign at Wendy Pearl Public Relations.

Pearl, a graduate of the University of Miami, spent eight years working for the Miami Herald, where she was part of the Pulitzer-winning coverage of the Gulf War in 1991. She also worked for CNN’s Miami bureau.

When she arrived in Nashville in 1992, she first took a job in the media and artist development department at Sony Music, where she worked with artists such Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Waylon Jennings, Charlie Daniels and Patty Loveless. After a tenure with Sony, she moved to Asylum Records, where she headed the media and artist development department. At Asylum, she was instrumental in the publicity for Bryan White, Mandy Barnett and Emmylou Harris, among other artists.

From there, she went to the Nashville Network, where she was the communications director. There, she stayed for two years before moving to the Country Music Association. She spent nearly 17 years at the CMA, working for artists across country music. Starting out as the director of communications, she became the vice president of corporate communications along the way. She was responsible for the press at the Country Music Festival, the CMA awards and various events throughout the year. She was also responsible for the various media the CMA released throughout her tenure.

“I really enjoyed promoting the format,” she said. “The CMA is a trade association, and it is responsible for representing the entirety of the country music business around the world. We promoted music, the artists and all of the business.”

Now ready to tackle her own venture, Pearl said, “I’m really excited about getting granular. I’ve promoted the format for several years and I’ve been involved with individual careers and projects. We dug into the work and allowed it to make a bigger impact around the world.”

She said she know it was time to go after promoting several milestones in 2016. That was the year of the 45th anniversary of the country music festival, the 50th anniversary of the CMA Awards and the global launch of the multi-artist music video, “Forever Country.”

“What I realized over the course of the year, is that I wanted to be part of the anniversary,” Pearl said. “Coming out that, it will be 50 years until we do it again. I didn’t want to wait around for 50 more years. What we did was special, and I wanted to use that for the catalyst for walking away.”

She said it “feels good to focus on your own project. For me, my origins at Sony, working on amazing projects with artists, developing stories for them and their music, we were able to get involved on a granular level. We were able to be a part of projects that we were passionate about and believed in. We were able to use our relationships to help someone.”

Although the future is open, Pearl said, “it’s going to be great. I know what I’m good at, but don’t know where I’ll end up. I could do anything. It’s exciting.” 

When her move was announced on Facebook on Wednesday, she was inundated with “several people who have worked with me and for me writing back. Everyone single person I worked with said the experience of working with me was rewarding, no matter what they ended up doing. I didn’t think anyone would care. They’ve all been so supportive, taking the time out of their schedule to do something for me.”

She said she has no artists signed at this time, “but I have scheduled more lunches and breakfasts in the next few weeks. I have lots of meetings, which will determine where I go. I’m not planning anything; I just want to see what dictates the direction I’m going to go. In the next few weeks, I’m open to talk about anything. I never know where the next big opportunity is going to come from.”

Pearl has seen her share of co-workers and employees over the years. She said she’s happy to have been a part of their lives.

“If I could make a small difference and help people find out if they didn’t like being in publicity, or if that was their calling, that’s been the biggest thing of all in this,” she said.

For more information, visit wendypearlpr.com or email her at [email protected].


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