Sara Brooks Adams
Grab some musically talented friends, instruments, and head down to the basement. You never know, you might just start a new band and make a little spending money too.
That’s what members of the Pearl Divide did. The alternative rock band was founded by a group of Jackson high school students. Little did they know what was to come.
“We really never had any intentions of ever becoming what we are today,” said bass player Parker Dailey. “It just kind of happened.”
“Yeah, we were just a friend group who liked to mess around with guitars and drums,” said lead singer Kelly McBride. “Hey, I didn’t even know I could sing until the guys were like, ‘Dude, Kelly you’re actually pretty good.”
“I would say we sound a lot like The Revivalists mixed in with a little bit of John Mayer,” said Dailey.
The band’s journey began the summer after their freshman year of high school. The gathered at Dailey’s house four nights a week.
“I am not going to lie to you,” Dailey said. “In the beginning, it was tough. We definitely did not sound all that great.”
The Pearl Divide improved and made their first debut at a school coffee house event.
“I was so nervous,” McBride said. “None of my friends and classmates had ever heard me sing.”
The performance was a success. Then, a question arose.
“What is our band name going to be?”
“We debated on band names for probably around three months, I would say,” said Dailey.
The Pearl Divide was their final decision because their houses were divided on each side of the Pearl River.
The Pearl Divide continued to perform covers and school coffee house events, but decided it was time to sit down and try to make music of their own.
“We sat down for hours on end brainstorming and writing and rewriting,” said McBride. “After months of writing, we made our first song, ‘Muffle.’ We were so excited and nervous all at the same time to perform this for people, but the responses and reactions to the song were incredible. It made us eager to keep writing.
“We spent the rest of high school writing music and performing it at school, but it wasn’t until college when things started to really look up for us,” said Dailey.
When they guys moved to Oxford, they seized opportunities. They began to put their name out there, and Rooster’s Bar asked them to perform one night.
“Stoked was an understatement,” said McBride.
“We had only ever performed at our school for certain events,” said Dailey, “so actually getting to perform in front of people who had no idea who we were and no obligation to like our music, and then to see them actually enjoying it was the craziest experience.”
The Pearl Divide continued to perform around town at bars like Rooster’s and Proud Larry’s, then later at philanthropy events for sororities.
“I had no idea people could get paid this much to play at these small bars,” says McBride.
Dailey said, “On top of the money, we are doing what we enjoy doing, so honestly, it is a win-win for us. We are super blessed.”
After a year of performing around Oxford at bars and sorority and fraternity events, and long nights writing, they were ready to record.
“We had been writing for so long,” McBride said. “So it was insane to finally have written enough songs to start recording an album.”
The summer after their freshman year of college, the Pearl Divide began recording their first album.
“The recording process was definitely an interesting process and not exactly what I expected,” Dailey said. “It was even better than i thought.”
The guys spent all summer recording their first album, back and forth between Nashville and Jackson, in and out of recording studios. During the fall of their sophomore year of college, their first album was complete.
“It was the best feeling in the world,” said Dailey.
The Pearl Divide’s first album was called “Muffle” after the first single they wrote in high school.
“It was by far the proudest moment of my life to this point,” said McBride.
The Pearl Divide hopes to continue performing, writing music, and influencing other young artists.
“You never know what will happen,” Dailey said. “We took a chance, and it has ended up being one of the best experiences of our lives.”
You can find their music on different sites, such as Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.