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