Kelsea Ballerini…were do I even begin… first off, let me just start by saying that Kelsea is the sweetest girl I have ever meet. What you see is what you get, she is genuine and kind and I don’t think she has realized how “big” she truly is in the country music world yet.
Friday night at the Branding Iron in San Bernardino, CA turned out to be an evening I will never for get. The crowd was just as excited to be there to see Kelsea…the show was SOLD OUT. That tells you something right there.
The crowd was singing along to every song she sang, they even had a line dance to go along with her hit single, Dibs. When she performed her #1 hit single, “Love Me Like You Mean It,” the whole crowd had their cell phones out ready to go, singing along to EVERY word of the song.
Kelsea lit up the place with her talent, killing it on stage with her band as she effortlessly sang through her hits, a Carrie Underwood cover and a medley of “Baby One More Time, Oops I Did It Again, Everybody (Backstreet’s Back), Bye Bye Bye, Genie In A Bottle and Bootylicious” that took me back to my TRL watching days with Carson Daly.
Without a doubt, Kelsea is one of my favorite new female country talents. I knew I always loved her for a reason, she just validated everything for me! I cannot wait to watch her as she continues to gain more and more fans and grows so much more in her success.
I had the privilege of meeting Kelsea and was able to hang out with her before her show for a bit. I felt like I was meeting up with an old friend from the moment I met her. Check out our interview here:
Country Music Pride: Are you working on any new music that your fans can look forward to (even though it hasn’t been that long since your record was released, we can’t get enough of your music!)
Kelsea Ballerini: Yes! So, I just released my album in May, so we are going to try to get one, maybe two more singles from it before going to the next one. I have a lot of new music that I am anxious to get out. I am spending a lot of December and January writing again to see what kind of layers I can peel back, there is a lot of new stuff I am excited to get out. I have done a lot of self-discovery in the last year since the album was finished, that I feel like I’m already on to a new chapter that I’m excited to share.
Country Music Pride: Not only does she sing, she writes all her own music!
Kelsea Ballerini: I write all my own music, I started as a songwriter, so that was what inspired me to be an artist. I felt like, I was writing about my life and it felt weird to have someone else singing about my life. It didn’t bother me hearing other people sing my music; it was the idea of it that I didn’t like. So I figured why not try it?! And it’s worked really well for you, Kelsea, we are glad you did!!!
Country Music Pride: What is your favorite part about being on tour?
Kelsea Ballerini: I get to visit a lot of new places I’ve never been before, just for the adventurous side of me! But getting to watch groups grow, I was playing in conference rooms a year ago, so getting to play in rooms like this, and seeing it grow. Having fans sing all the words to “Love Me Like You Mean It”, then the words to every song on the EP, then the whole record, just watching that growth is really cool to see!
Country Music Pride: Who has been the most exciting person/s that you have met in the industry so far, your roll models, those you look up to the most?
Kelsea Ballerini: That is a good question! There are so many…I waited in line with I was 14 at my first CMA fest to meet Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum (but I wanted to meet Hillary, Hillary was who I loved) and those are my two…they both call me their “little sister” now. It’s crazy because at that age, as a fan those are the ones that resonated the most with. So to see that full circle, and become friends and mentors as people that kind of want to take me under their wing. It’s been really cool…especially Taylor Swift, I mean what is that?!?
Country Music Pride: I know you are a fan of cover songs, we’ve all hopefully seen your cover of “Drake”, what is your favorite song to cover?
Kelsea Ballerini: I love doing covers, and I like doing covers of songs that I am inspired by and things people wouldn’t expect. I cover one Carrie song in my set, and I cover one Flat song and a few little random “pop” things. Just because I listen to everything, and I’m influenced by everything and I think it’s my job as an artist to be like “this is what I’m inspired by and this is what influences me!”
Country Music Pride: Do you think that the age you are has opened you up to be able to venture down different avenues, or do you see yourself solely as a country artist?
Kelsea Ballerini: I’ve always wanted to be country, I grew up on a farm in East Tennessee so my roots are really, really southern, but my first concert was Brittney Spears! But I’m very open, I love pop music and if my music ever bled over to that, I would be so flattered! (We love Brittney! We all wanted to go see her show in Vegas…maybe Kelsea will be able to sneak off to one of her shows when she’s there for the ACM’s!)
Country Music Pride: Thanksgiving is right around the corner; do you have any big plans?
Kelsea Ballerini: Well I have the week off! So I might get out of town for a little bit, take a little trip…but be home (in Nashville) with my mom for actual Thanksgiving. Just chill…I don’t get to do that a lot so when I do I really take advantage of it!
Country Music Pride: You will be receiving the Receive Rising Star Honor & Perform at Billboard’s Women in Music in December, Congratulations! What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Kelsea Ballerini: Well that award is really cool because I am the first Country artist to get it. That award has been around for 10 years and you get it when you are kind of early on and Nicki Minaj got it, last year was Ariana Grande so it is very cool to be honored by them for that award. I mean, I get to meet Loretta Lynn! (She even showed us her dress she’ll be wearing at the awards!)
But the highlight so far, I don’t know if I can pick one…there has been a lot! Even having my first song on the radio is still a little trippy! I literally just stuffed my face with a burrito a little while ago and got in the car and it was on the radio and I was like “whoa, what is my life?!?” It’s a weird reminder every now and then.
That is why we love this girl; she is the real deal, still so normal and down to earth in the midst of all her success! Don’t ever change who you are, continue to be YOU because it is working for you. We wish you all the continued success you deserve! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, until we meet again…
Kelsey singing “Love Me Like You Mean It” at the Branding Iron Friday night: