Kelsea Ballerini is one of the hottest stars in country music right now. In 2014, she released her debut single “Love Me Like You Mean It, She was named one of CMT’s Next Women of Country, performed for the first time on the Grand Ole Opry and “Love Me Like You Mean It” reached number one on the Billboard Country Airplay, making Ballerini the first solo female country artist to score a number one hit with her debut single since Carrie Underwood with “Jesus, Take the Wheel” in 2006. So we were delighted when she took time out of her busy schedule to speak to Annette Think Country.
So, coming from Tennessee, was country music always your dream? Or, when you were little did you want to be something else?
Growing up I wanted to be a vet. I love animals a lot, music was always involved in my life, but I didn’t understand how much until I was 12 and something switched in me and I was like: I think this is what I’m supposed to do with my life.
It seems to be that this is your time at the moment. Even over here in the UK we see you on social media, and although we don’t get very much country radio over here, everybody knows who you are.
Really? That is so cool!
Oh yeah! You’re on the watch-list, we want you to come over and play.
I’ve never been over there, I wanna go over there so bad. Even just hearing your accent makes me wanna go over there.
You would definitely be welcomed, I’ll tell you that.
I would love to.
Why do you think this is the time for you …it feels like the stars have aligned for you, everything seems to be going your way. Is that how it feels to you?
Yeah. I mean, it’s crazy, it’s really cool because I remember people telling me: it’s not gonna work, you’re a girl and you’re a new girl on an independent record label – it’s not gonna work. And I’m just so proud that it’s working. I’m so proud that we’ve just got a number 1. There are so many brilliant, wonderful females in country music right now. I’m just so honoured and happy to be part of that group.
You’ve played so many great different places and I hear that you’re going play, New Year’s Eve in Nashville?
Yes, that’s going to be crazy
What’s the coolest place you’ve played, what’s the one thing that really stands out to you as one of the events that you are pinching yourself, saying: wow, look at me!
Yeah. There have been several. Grand Ole Opry was a huge, huge one for me. I have a few dates on the Lady A tour, and the first date was my first time ever in an arena. And that was one of the craziest experiences of my life. I have never been so nervous stepping out into an arena full of people. But that was a crazy one. I just did a show with Gavin DeGraw, and I’m such a super, huge fan of his, so that was amazing!
Your album is fantastic, you wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on there – which I think is fantastic. We absolutely love songwriters in the UK. So, where does your inspiration come from when you’re writing?
Well, I started writing songs just too kind of have a safe place to go, and write about my life. And so that’s, kind of, always what it’s been for me, and this record being able to write every song on it was me being able to be as me as I could be. And I just wanted it to be, kind of, an introduction to me, as an artist, a person and a songwriter, and all of that.
Do you get to actually ever be Kelsea, just a 21 year old, out having fun with her friends? Do you still try and make time to be yourself?
It is very hard to find time to be a normal 21 year old. And that’s okay, ’cause that’s what I chose. But I’m trying to find ways on the road to play, you know, and to have a friend out. I just got a puppy, I bring my puppy out. You know, and to find ways to just be normal and, kind of, separate artists and person sometimes. Because I do wanna make sure to always have my life, and keep that sacred and good, you know.
Yeah, I think that’s really, really important.
I love that question! Thanks for asking that.
So, you’ve got to tell us about your puppy. We’ve seen him on Twitter, this gorgeous little puppy. What’s he called?
Oh my gosh! His name is Dibs (named after her new single), he’s a labradoodle. I’ve grown up with labs my whole life, and so it’s like my first dog, he’s all mine, and I just love labs because I grew up with them. So, he’s adorable and he’s growing really fast, and he’s so cute.
Now, today there’s been a picture everywhere saying who’s going to Australia for CMC Rocks, and I saw your name was on there.
Yeah….. It’s so exciting!
So, have you been to Australia before?
No I haven’t
It’s such a cool place to go, you will have such a good time. How long do you get to be down under for?
Well, I think two weeks, before that I get to go to Hawaii. So, that’s gonna be really great.
But obviously the most important thing to ask, have you got any plans to come over to Europe and to the UK?
I don’t know plans yet but I promise you the minute I can I am so there, because it’s been in my dreams to come and visit over there forever.
Do you realise that you’re on the A playlist on one of our radio stations (Chris Country) at the moment, so we get to hear you.
Wow! I did not know that at all. That is amazing Wow
So what’s next for you?
Gosh! The rest of this year is just touring all over the place. And I have a little bit of time off in December, to start writing again for another record hopefully. Then next year some exciting stuff (I can’t tell you yet)
Brilliant. Well, I’m actually coming out for the New Year, so I will be seeing New Year’s Eve, if not before.
You are!? That fantastic. Come and Say Hi