Kelsea Ballerini

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Kelsea Ballerini
Ballerini performing in 2017
Ballerini performing in 2017
Background information
Birth nameKelsea Nicole Ballerini[1]
Born (1993-09-12) September 12, 1993 (age 27)[2]
Mascot, Tennessee, U.S.
OriginKnoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active2014–present
LabelsBlack River
Associated acts
Websitekelseaballerini.com

Kelsea Nicole Ballerini (born September 12, 1993) is an American country pop singer and songwriter.[4] She began songwriting as a child and signed with Black River Entertainment in 2014, releasing her debut studio album the following year, The First Time. Her second studio album, Unapologetically, followed in 2017. Ballerini's first two albums have accounted for seven charted songs on the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts. She has four No. 1 singles on the latter, starting with her debut single "Love Me Like You Mean It", which made her the first female artist to send a debut single to the top of that chart since Carrie Underwood in 2006. It was followed by "Dibs" and "Peter Pan", whose peaks also made her the first female country artist to send her first three singles to the top of that chart since Wynonna Judd. Ballerini's fourth No. 1 single is "Legends". Her third and fourth studio albums, Kelsea and Ballerini were both released in 2020.

Early life[edit]

Ballerini grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee.[2] Her father, Ed, a former sales manager for a country radio station, is of part Italian descent.[5][6] Her mother, Carla, has worked in marketing for Thomas Nelson Bible publishing and a sponsorship company.[6] She is an only child. She started taking dance lessons at Premiere Dance Studio in Seymour, Tennessee when she was three and stopped ten years later.[7] She sang in the church and school choirs.[5] She wrote her first song at 12 for her mother[8] and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, three years later.[2] She attended Central High School in Knoxville, Tennessee; Centennial High School in Franklin, Tennessee; and then Lipscomb University for two years until she pursued a musical career.[9]

Career[edit]

2014–2016: Self-titled EP and The First Time[edit]

At 19, she signed a deal with Black River Entertainment.[2] In late 2014, she released her debut single "Love Me Like You Mean It", which debuted on the Country Airplay chart in October 2014.[10] She released a self-titled extended play for the label in November.[11] She was named one of CMT's Next Women of Country in 2014. She performed for the first time at the Grand Ole Opry on February 14, 2015, and sang "Love Me Like You Mean It".[5] On May 19, 2015, Ballerini's debut album The First Time was released through Black River. For the chart dated July 4, 2015, "Love Me Like You Mean It" , the album's first single, reached number one on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, making Ballerini the first solo female country music artist to score a number one hit with her debut single since Carrie Underwood did so with "Jesus, Take the Wheel" in 2006, and only the eleventh in history to achieve the feat.[12] Ballerini also became only the fifth solo female country music artist to score back-to-back number one hits with her first two singles when "Dibs", the second single from the album, reached the top of the Country Airplay chart. She became the first to do it since Jamie O'Neal in 2001.[13]

The album's third single, "Peter Pan", was released to country radio on March 21, 2016. "Peter Pan" reached number one on both the Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts in September, making Ballerini the first solo female country music artist to top both country music charts simultaneously.[14] This achievement also made her the first solo female to send her first three singles to number one since Wynonna Judd accomplished the same feat in 1992.[14] The album's fourth single, "Yeah Boy", was released to country radio on October 10, 2016.

2017–2019: Unapologetically, coaching The Voice, and joining the Grand Ole Opry[edit]

In early 2017, Ballerini was named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 – Music list at number two.[15][16] In 2017, Ballerini received two Academy of Country Music Award nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year and Video of the Year for "Peter Pan."[17] In June 2017, Ballerini released "Legends" as the first single from her second studio album.[18] On November 3, she released her second album, titled Unapologetically.[19] The album debuted at number three on the Billboard Top Country Album Chart and number seven on the Billboard 200 Album Chart, making it her highest charting album on both charts.[20]

The second single from the album, "I Hate Love Songs", was released in March.[21] In September 2018, she announced that she would be releasing a deluxe edition of the album with four new tracks.[22] On September 18, 2018, EDM-pop duo The Chainsmokers released a song titled "This Feeling" featuring Ballerini.[23] The third and final single from Unapologetically, "Miss Me More", was released in October 2018.[24] In October, she provided vocals on her husband Morgan Evans' song "Dance With Me".[25] Ballerini joined the fifteenth season of The Voice as the fifth coach. She coached six contestants who did not get a chair turn during The Blinds, in a new round called The Comeback Stage. The Comeback Stage was a digital companion series to the show.[26] In October 2018, Ballerini released the song "We Were Like".[27] In December 2018, Unapologetically received a nomination for Best Country Album at the 61st annual Grammy Awards.[28]

On March 5, 2019, Ballerini was invited by Little Big Town to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. On April 16, 2019 she was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry by Carrie Underwood.[29] Ballerini embarked on the Miss Me More Tour in support of Unapologetically in April 2019.[30] The tour was a success, with Ballerini selling out multiple dates.[31] In June 2019, Ballerini was a guest on the NBC competition show Songland and released the song "Better Luck Next Time".[32]

2019–present: kelsea and ballerini[edit]

In July 2019, Ballerini confirmed in an Instagram post that work on her third studio album was complete.[33] On September 6, 2019, Ballerini released the first single off of her then upcoming third album, titled "Homecoming Queen?" [34] The song debuted at number 22 on the Country Airplay chart, making it Ballerini's highest debut on the chart to date.[35] On November 8, Ballerini released the promotional single "Club".[36] Ballerini confirmed on January 20, 2020 that the album is self-titled (Kelsea) and was released March 20, 2020.[37] The announcement coincided with the release of a second promotional single, "LA".[37] On February 28, she released the single "Hole in the Bottle" (stylized in all lowercase) and announced the tracklist for Kelsea including "Half of my Hometown" featuring Kenny Chesney and "The Other Girl" featuring Halsey.[38]

On September 2, Ballerini announced her fourth studio album, self-titled Ballerini, released on September 11, 2020. The album is a counterpart to Ballerini's previous album Kelsea, featuring stripped-down versions of the songs on it. The stripped-down version of "Club" was released alongside the album announcement.[39] She described Ballerini as "emotional, vulnerable and soft" while Kelsea showed her "bold and effervescent" side.[40]

Influences[edit]

Ballerini has been influenced by both artists in the pop music and country music field. Originally influenced by pop music, Ballerini states "I grew up on top 40 pop. I didn't know what country music was, which is so funny because I grew up on a farm in East Tennessee."[41] Ballerini lists Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and NSYNC among these early artists influencing her.[42][43] Ballerini also cites Justin Bieber as an early pop musical inspiration.[44] It was not until Ballerini heard "Stupid Boy" by Keith Urban that she decided to delve deeper into country music by listening to albums by Taylor Swift, Sugarland, and Dixie Chicks. She credited Swift's self-titled debut studio album for introducing her to country music. Ballerini also cites Shania Twain as her greatest influence.[45] She has also performed songs originally recorded by Alison Krauss and sang "Ghost in This House" alongside Krauss at the CMT Artists of the Year Awards in 2018.[46][47]

Personal life[edit]

Morgan Evans and Kelsea Ballerini in March 2016
Morgan Evans and Kelsea Ballerini during a Planet Country interview on the CMC Awards red carpet in March 2016 around the time their relationship started.

In March 2016, Ballerini began dating Australian country singer Morgan Evans. They became engaged on Christmas Day 2016[48] and were married on December 2, 2017, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Discography[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Ceremony Category / Nominated Work Result Ref.
2015 CMT Music Awards Breakthrough Video of the Year
"Love Me Like You Mean It"
Nominated [49]
Country Music Association Awards Female Vocalist of the Year [50]
New Artist of the Year [50]
American Music Awards Favorite Country Female Artist [51]
Billboard Women in Music Rising Star Won [52]
2016 Academy of Country Music Awards New Female Vocalist of the Year Won [53]
Female Vocalist of the Year Nominated [54]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Music: Country Artist Nominated [55]
Choice Music: Country Song
"Peter Pan"
[56]
Country Music Association Awards Female Vocalist of the Year Nominated [57]
New Artist of the Year [57]
American Music Awards Favorite Country Female Artist Nominated [58]
2017 People's Choice Awards Favorite Country Female Artist Nominated [59]
Grammy Awards Best New Artist Nominated [60]
Radio Disney Music Awards Breakout Artist of the Year Nominated [61]
Country Favorite Artist Won [61]
Country Favorite Song
"Peter Pan"
Won [61]
Best Crush Song
"Yeah Boy"
Nominated [61]
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite New Artist Nominated [62]
iHeartRadio Music Awards Best New Artist Nominated [63]
Best New Country Artist Won
Academy of Country Music Awards Female Vocalist of the Year Nominated [17]
Video of the Year
"Peter Pan"
Nominated
CMT Music Awards Video of the Year
"Peter Pan"
Nominated [64]
Female Video of the Year
"Peter Pan"
Nominated
CMT Performance of the Year
"You're Still the One/Any Man of Mine/Man! I Feel Like a Woman!"
with (Meghan Trainor, Jill Scott)
Nominated
Academy of Country Music Awards Gene Weed Milestone Award Won [65]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Country Artist Nominated [66]
Country Music Association Awards Female Vocalist of the Year Nominated [67]
2018 Academy of Country Music Awards Female Vocalist of the Year Nominated [68]
Video of the Year
"Legends"
Nominated
Radio Disney Music Awards Country Favorite Artist Won [69]
Country Favorite Song
"Legends"
Nominated [69]
Billboard Music Awards Top Female Country Artist Nominated [70]
Country Music Association Awards Female Vocalist of the Year Nominated [71]
American Music Awards Favorite Female Artist - Country Nominated [72]
2019 Grammy Awards Best Country Album
Unapologetically
Nominated [73]
CMT Music Awards Video of the Year
"Miss Me More"
Nominated [74]
Female Video of the Year
"Miss Me More"
Nominated [75]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Country Artist Nominated [76]
Choice Country Song
"Miss Me More"
Nominated [76]
Country Music Association Awards Female Vocalist of the Year Nominated [77]
2020 Academy of Country Music Awards Female Artist of the Year Nominated [78]
CMT Music Awards Video of the Year
"Homecoming Queen?"
Nominated [79]
Female Video of the Year
"Homecoming Queen?"
Nominated
CMT Performance of the Year
"Graveyard"
Nominated

Tours[edit]

Headlining
  • The First Time Tour (2016)[80]
  • The Unapologetically Tour (2018)[81]
  • The Miss Me More Tour (2019)[82]
Supporting

Television appearances[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2016 Greatest Hits Herself / Co-Host Co-hosted with Arsenio Hall
2016 CMC Awards 2016[90] Herself/Co-host Alongside Morgan Evans
2017–2019 CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock Herself/Co-host Alongside Thomas Rhett
2018/2019 The Voice Herself The Comeback Stage Coach
Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Herself/Performer Television special
Hell's Kitchen Herself VIP guest diner at the Red Team's chef's table; Episode: "Hot Potato"
The Voice Herself Team Kelly Battle Advisor
Songland Herself Episode: "Kelsea Ballerini"
Trisha's Southern Kitchen Herself Episode: "A Southern Heart-to-Heart with Kelsea Ballerini"
Brad Paisley Thinks He's Special Herself/Guest Alongside with Brad Paisley, Jonas Brothers, Hootie & The Blowfish, Tim McGraw, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Carrie Underwood
2020 CMT Crossroads Herself Alongside with Halsey
#KidsTogether: The Nickelodeon Town Hall Herself Television special

References[edit]

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External links[edit]