If you were under the impression that country’s newest music sensation, Kelsea Ballerini, was as sweet as a slice of Tennessee apple pie, well you were absolutely right. After just a few minutes of talking to Kelsea in our exclusive interview with her, it is no surprise that fans everywhere are falling in love with her. Whether it’s her melodious voice and toe-tapping tunes, her baby blues, or as we came to find out her perky and bubbly personality you love, we can tell you one thing. It looks like Kelsea Ballerini is going to be around making music for a long time.
Speaking of Tennessee where Kelsea grew up, we asked how being raised in the south had an impact on the type of music she sings, considering how many country stars have come out of Tennessee. She painted a warm and traditional picture of growing up on a farm with cows and goats, home cooked meals, and going to church every Sunday, but what surprised us most was that she listened to pop music more so than country. In fact her very first concert was pop icon Britney Spears’. So when she started writing music it fell more along the lines of pop, but it came out very country. Just goes to show you how preference and background can blend to create something magical.
Songwriting wasn’t something that was always necessarily in her plans, though she did tell us that she avidly kept a journal and absolutely loved rhyming words when she was younger. She even described it as “one of [her] favorite things to do.” Kelsea’s singing background included performing in her school’s glee club and the church choir, so all of the tools were handy and ready to be used, she just needed to find a way to put it all together.
We asked Kelsea when songwriting sort of fell into her lap as she describes, what the defining factor was between just writing as a release to cope with her parents’ divorce and being something that she wanted to take to the next level. It was a matter of getting comfortable, she explained. Once she found her zone, in which she could be vulnerable and personal with those listening, Kelsea found her reason to be more than just a songwriter, but a performer and the deliverer of a message. She wants her music to be an introduction to her life story, so that we can get to know the real Kelsea Ballerini from top to bottom, and feel empowered by what she has to say. Sure, she wants us to be able to jam in the car with the top down, but those truly listening to her lyrics would feel the confidence she exudes.
Despite this obvious confidence, Kelsea remains extremely humble as she continues to receive incredible success following the release of her debut album THE FIRST TIME. Her hit song “Love Me Like You Mean It”, which earned Kelsea her first number one on the Billboard and Media Country Airplay charts, was the first song written for the album and the the glue that holds it all together. She said once she wrote it, “the sound [she] wanted to create really clicked and from then on the groove and focus to finish the album came together.”
She never expected the hit song to blow up the way that it did, however, capturing the hearts of celebrities including Taylor Swift and Little Big Town who tweeted in support of her music.
“I expected maybe top 30 and some good airplay,” said Kelsea. And when we mentioned possibly being reigned the next queen of country music, she could hardly even imagine such an honor. She reflected on some of her favorite female artists, such as Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert, and said “I look at them and I wouldn’t be an artist if I didn’t have them to look up to. If I had just a sliver of their career… that’s pretty freakin’ awesome.”
We’re pretty much sold on the future success of this young and shining star, but there was just one more question we had to ask.
If she had the opportunity to do a collaboration with any country music artist, who would it be? She laughed and told us her dream of wanting to collab on every song of an album, but narrowed it down to one name. Gavin DeGraw.
So, Gavin if you’re reading this we think you should give Kelsea a call!