It’s hard to believe that Carey Pierce just recently discovered Lakewood. Despite a stint at nearby Southern Methodist University as well as a fairly lengthy stay in Dallas, he didn’t make it to the neighborhood until two years ago

“I’ve only lived here for a year and a half,” he says. “I love it. After going to SMU, that neighborhood was my hangout for about 10 years. I always thought I’d stay in the Park Cities.”

Until recently, Pierce had also been part of Dallas’ popular pop music act, Jackopierce. The band was a hit here in town as well as on the national club circuit. Although minor success had its moments of grandeur, the act split, leaving Pierce open to pursue solo projects and reassess his career. On his solo debut, You Are Here (Aware Records) Pierce utilizes much of the radio friendly sound that personified Jackopierce. This time, however, he, as a songwriter is the sole focus of the piece.

The realities of being a working artist in the crowded and competitive entertainment business are formidable. Fortunately, during the album’s production, Pierce had the aid of notable music industry veterans who added the right amount of studio gloss to the finished product.

“I met Stan Lynch from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers when I was in Jackopierce,” he says. “He was brought in as a producer when we were recording an album. Then, we started writing songs together. Since then, we kept in contact. He’s one of my go-to guys. Whenever I have an idea, but I can’t quite complete it, he’s the closer.”

Despite his years with longtime friends, Jackopierce, Pierce is fairly enthusiastic about his role as a solo artist. He says he approached the recording of this recent LP with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and much support from friends.

“It was an amazing feeling,” he says. “I had to sleep on a lot of couches and on floors at friends’ houses. It was worth it all because I was able to do whatever I wanted to do. To be whoever I wanted to be. To treat people how I wanted to treat them. I didn’t have to worry about who was peeking over my shoulder and looking at what I was doing.

“I’m very proud of what we accomplished in Jackopierce, but being in a band is a challenge. To have four different people with four different ideas on everything you can imagine makes it hard to maintain a democracy. At the time, though, it was the healthiest environment at the time.”

Since his departure from the band, Pierce has not only relocated himself within Dallas, but has abandoned drinking and smoking, exercises more frequently, and says he’s in the best shape of his life. He also attributes some of his positive outlook to his new surroundings. As mentioned, it wasn’t until recently that Pierce discovered the neighborhood of Lakewood. He says that he had visited White Rock Lake on numerous occasions, but never knew anything existed on either side of Mockingbird. At the time, Jackopierce had just disbanded and Pierce and his wife were experimenting with the real estate market.

“We were buying and fixing up homes in the M streets and Fisher Heights area,” he says. “Then, we found Lakewood and fell in love with it. It’s a dream come true to live over here because everywhere you turn there’s an open field of grass, parks and of course, the lake is amazing.”

A new neighborhood and new opportunities as a musician have been major turning points in Pierce’s life — his work and environment go hand in hand. Aside from his proximity to nightspots in Deep Ellum and lower Greenville, the visual aesthetics and community feel of Lakewood have had an affect on his most recent music.

“I like to be inspired,” he says. “Whether it’s a movie or music, I like to be inspired by everything and everyone around me. Right now, the guys I’m playing with are doing that and Lakewood helps with that too. I hope my music does the same for other people.

“My credo has always been: inspire to be inspired.”

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