Tag Archives: Grammy Awards

NECM’s WCW Spotlight: Kelsea Ballerini

We, at New England Country Music, are continuing our series spotlighting women in country music. While the acronym WCW, standing for ‘Women Crush Wednesday,’ is often used for physical attraction, that is not the case here. This series will feature talented women who are crushing it in country music.

This week we’re featuring Kelsea Ballerini, a twenty-five-year-old country/pop singer and songwriter from Knoxville, TN. Growing up as an only child, Ballerini spent her younger days dancing at a local dance studio and singing in the church choir. When she was a little girl, she was influenced by pop sensations like Britney Spears and NSYNC. It wasn’t until later that she discovered country music and gained an appreciation for artists like Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, and Alison Krauss. Kelsea Ballerini wrote her first song when she was only twelve years old. A few years later, she moved the two and a half hours away from home, to Nashville.

When she was nineteen, Ballerini signed with Black River Entertainment. Her music career kicked off with the release of her EP, ‘Kelsea Ballerini.’ Six months later, she dropped her first full length album, ‘The First Time.’ Her debut single released from this album, ‘Love Me Like You Mean It,’ made it to Number One on the Billboard Country Airplay Chart. Having a debut single reach Number One was quite an accomplishment, as Carrie Underwood is the only other solo, female country artist to do so. The album’s second single, ‘Dibs,’ also reached Number One on the Country Airplay Chart. The third single to be released was ‘Peter Pan,’ and it too, reached Number One. Having three singles reach Number One was quite remarkable. In fact, Ballerini was the first female, solo country artist to do this since Wynonna Judd in 1992. And to top this off, she wrote all three of these Number One hits. That’s something not even Judd can say. In November of 2017, Ballerini released her second album, ‘Unapologetically.’ This album went on to get a GRAMMY nomination for Best Country Album at the 61st annual GRAMMY Awards.

Just this month, Ballerini was asked to join the Grande Ole Opry. She was singing a duet with Little Big Town, when the group cleverly changed the lyrics to ‘Girl Crush’ and surprised Ballerini, mid-song, by singing “Kelsea Ballerini – Want to join the Opry?” She’ll be formally inducted in April, making her the youngest current member of the long-time running show. She told the Associated Press: “The Grand Ole Opry, playing it was the first step. And then joining has been the next step. That’s been on the goal list ever since I played it the first time. And I guess I get to check that off now.” Here’s a little glimpse from that memorable night:

The sky is the limit for Kelsea Ballerini. Not only has she has been asked to join the Opry, she has also been chosen as one of CMT’s Next Women of Country. And she has been talked about quite a bit over the years. She was named the “The Country Sweetheart” by People Magazine, “Country’s Next Queen” by Billboard Magazine, and “The Nashville It Girl” by Rolling Stone Magazine.

This “Nashville It Girl” is married to Morgan Evans, a country singer from ‘down under.’ Life on the road leads to crazy schedules and that means they are not able to kick back and relax together as often as they would like. When Kelsea Ballerini does have some free time and is home in Nashville, you might catch her at some of her favorite spots: hanging out at songwriter’s nights at The Bluebird and The Listening Room, eating sushi at Virago, shopping at the trendy boutique Posh, or grabbing a drink at Patterson House.

Kelsea Ballerini will be on the Miss Me More Tour starting in April 2019. We’re sad to say that there are currently no New England dates on the schedule.

Be sure to download ‘I Hate Love Songs’ from her album ‘Unapologetically’ on iTunes here.

You can stay connected with Kelsea Ballerini by following her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Stay tuned for our next installment of WCW in country music. It is set to hit our page on Wednesday, April 10th.

Chris Stapleton’s ‘Broken Halos’ Finally Reaches Number One!

The Number One. It is the way you know you’ve arrived, it’s the benchmark for which other’s judge your success in music. Over the years, the elusive Number One spot has been so close, Stapleton could almost taste it. In April 2016, ‘Nobody To Blame’ reached Number 10 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. Then in February 2017, ‘Parachute’ reached Number 17 and three months later in May of 2017, ‘Either Way’ reached Number 26. Despite being one of the biggest names in country music, and winning so many coveted awards and accolades, Chris Stapleton never had any of his songs hit Number One. That is until now! It’s been a long time coming, but in late March ‘Broken Halos’ finally reached the Number One spot on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.

The well-known, powerful song ‘Broken Halos’ was written by Kentucky native Chris Stapleton and his good friend Mike Henderson. Both singer-songwriters got their start as part of the five-member bluegrass band, The SteelDrivers, which signed with Rounder Records in 2007. The SteelDrivers were nominated for numerous Grammy Awards in both in 2009 and 2010. In 2010, Stapleton decided to leave The SteelDrivers to pursue a solo career in country music. All the while, Stapleton had become quite an accomplished songwriter. He co-authored such hits as Kenny Chesney’s ‘Never Wanted Nothing More,’ Luke Bryan’s ‘Drink a Beer,’ and Darius Rucker’s ‘Come Back Song.’

Stapleton’s debut album, ‘Traveler,’ was released in 2015 and was certified double Platinum by the RIAA. In July of 2017, Stapleton released his nine-track sophomore album titled ‘From a Room: Volume 1.’ It was awarded the 2017 CMA Album of the Year and 2018 Grammy Country Album of the Year. Just a few weeks ago, at the ACM Awards, Chris Stapleton brought home Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year. He was unable to attend the awards ceremony, as his wife Morgane had just given birth to precious twin boys, on his birthday no less! Back in November, at the CMA awards, he earned Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year as well. At this show, Stapleton had the opportunity to perform ‘Broken Halos,’ for a packed audience. It was an unforgettable moment on stage which included his wife and producer David Cobb. He told Wide Open Country: “In light of the tragic kind of year we’ve had, that was the only song we could play.” The crowd just ate up the entire performance. The first track, ‘Broken Halos,’ also won a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Country Song. In an interview with Country Fancast, Stapleton said: “This is a song about people who have passed away before their time. I recorded this on a day where a friend of mine passed away from pancreatic cancer. He was the same age as me. We played little league together and all that. He was 38.” We can all relate to the meaning behind this song. Perhaps this is why it has become such a fan favorite. It is clear that Stapleton made the right decision when he left The SteelDrivers and presented the country music community with a song like ‘Broken Halos.’ He has certainly accomplished a lot with his new number one. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Chris Stapleton!

The best news is that you can see Stapleton in New England this summer! He’ll be at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA on Saturday June 30th. He’ll also be at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford, NH on Friday August 24th and Saturday August 25th.

You can purchase ‘Broken Halos’ on ‘From a Room: Volume 1’ on iTunes here.