Kelsea Ballerini has been named as one of the recipients of the 2021 CMT Artists of the Year alongside Chris Stapleton, Gabby Barrett, Kane Brown, and Luke Combs. And well-deserved so, after all, this country musician consistently made history with every release with no plans of stopping just yet. The recently turned 28-year-old country-pop singer is out to score more chart-topping hits and bag more awards.
So while we wait for new songs and collaborations (and even more stunning bikini photos), let’s get to know more her even better.
Who is Kelsea Ballerini?
Kelsea Ballerini was born on September 12, 1993, in Knoxville, Tennesse to parents Ed and Carla Ballerini. Her dad Ed was a former sales manager at a country radio station, while her mom Carla worked in marketing for Thomas Nelson Bible publishing as well as in a sponsorship company. She is an only child.
Interestingly, Kelsea started into music by dancing. At just 3, she already attended dancing lessons at Premiere Dance Studio in Seymour, Tennessee but stopped ten years later. She also eventually got into singing through church and school choirs. And just like many of us, she was also a big Britney Spears fan. In fact, her dad loved to tell the story of her going around the house as a kid as she tried to do the Britney ‘growl’.
And at the age of 12, she wrote her first song, “Oh Mama,” as a Mother’s Day gift for her mom. She confessed that she actually wrote it last minute because she forgot to buy Carla a gift. But it turned out to be one of her best gifts to her mom. She attended Central High School in her hometown of Knoxville and then transferred to Centennial High School in Franklin. She then moved to Nashville, where she studied at Lipscomb University for two years until she decided to finally pursue a career in music.
Early Career: A History Maker
After signing a record deal with Black River Entertainment at 19, Kelsea Ballerini finally released her debut single in 2014 titled “Love Me Like You Mean It.” The song debuted on the Country Airplay chart, and just a couple of months after, she dropped her self-titled extended play. Her music immediately caught attention, and she was named one of CMT’s Next Women of Country in the same year.
A year later, she dropped her record-breaking, history-maker debut album The First Time, wherein she became the first female country artist with three consecutive number one hit singles from a debut album since Wynonna Judd in 1992. “Love It Like You Mean It” scored her first number one hit and the first solo female country artist as well to earn a chart-topping hit with a debut single ever since Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” in 2006.
Her second single, “Dibs,” scored her first back-to-back number one hit. And her third single, “Peter Pan,” for which she is most known for not only peaked at the top of Country Airplay but also reached number one on the Hot Country Songs chart. This achievement made her the first solo female country artist to simultaneously top both charts. And in 2017, she was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 (music list).
The groundbreaking success of her debut album led to her critically acclaimed sophomore album titled Unapologetically, which debuted on the Top 5 of Billboard Top Country Album chart. The album was also nominated as Best Country Album during the 61st Grammy Awards. In addition to that, she also became an arena headliner with her 2019 Miss Me More Tour, which was also the third and final single on the album.
Rising Career: Genre-defining music
Ballerini has definitely established her name after her two successful albums. And in March 2019, she was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry by Little Big Town and was inducted a month after by none other than Carrie Underwood.
In 2020, she gifted fans with her most personal album, Kelsea, which was met with critical praise, calling her the most influential woman in country music with her genre-defining tracks. And her debut single from the album titled “homecoming queen?” achieved a platinum status which was her fastest single to achieve the milestone. She also dropped “Hole in the Bottle,” which she, later on, reworked with Shania Twain, “Half of my Hometown” in collaboration with Kenny Chesney, and “The Other Girl” featuring Halsey.
Then, Kelsea Ballerini again surprised fans with yet another album in the fall of 2020. Ballerini was the second part of her story, and in this album, she re-recorded everything, deconstructed each song, and stripped them down to its songcraft and storytelling.
Know the name
Kelsea Ballerini has undeniably made her name in the industry – charting hits, bagging awards, breaking records, and making history. Now, she has a career total of ten gold and platinum singles certifications, as well as two billion streams on digital streaming platforms. And if you haven’t listened to her songs yet, you should. Her songs deserve a listen.