Coming Into Her Own

Southern girl and rising country music sensation Kelsea Ballerini talks life on tour and what keeps her grounded.

As a bright-eyed 22-year-old with a country music career on the rise, you’d think Kelsea Ballerini would be accustomed to life in the spotlight and the perks that come with it. After all, with two  No. 1 hit songs, an Academy of Country Music award and a freshly debuted (and highly regarded) single, she is deserving of a little pride and swagger. Dig deeper, however, and you’ll find that Ballerini is just a small- town girl whose down-to-earth personality and kind demeanor are infectious, and also uniquely Southern. 

“Right now, I’m sitting on my balcony at home wearing a grandma sweater,” she laughed. “I have this interview, and then I have a meeting at my record label, and then I’m coming back home and putting on my grandma sweater again.”


And Just Like That It Happens

Ballerini stepped onto the country music stage only a few years ago and was a success from the onset. Her two consecutive No. 1, GOLD-certified songs “Love Me Like You Mean It” and “Dibs” earned her a screaming fan base immediately as well as attention and approval from other country music singers. She became known for her youthful voice, which carries a beautifully lilting twang, creating light, carefree melodies, not unlike the personality of Ballerini herself. (Just try to listen to her songs and not at least tap your foot.) She also recently released her third single, “Peter Pan,” a storytelling ballad whose soulful sound and thoughtful lyrics give life to a new, more mature side of Ballerini, adding an extra dimension to her already wide array of talent. 

And this year, she won New Female Vocalist of the Year at the Academy of Country Music awards, an honor she shares with the likes of country music giants Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood, who each won the award on the cusp of their careers as well. After all, you are the company you keep.

Read more about Kelsea's skyrocketing career and how she stays grounded in the June/July issue of South magazine.