Straight to the Top

By Allison Mitchell | October 5, 2016 | Articles

Country darling Kelsea Ballerini has been blowing up airwaves with hit after hit, including “Love Me Like You Mean It,” “Dibs,” “Peter Pan” and the recently released “Yeah Boy” from her debut album, The First Time. So much so that, at 23, Ballerini is the first female artist ever to have three singles from a debut album hit No. 1, and she’s the first to simultaneously top Billboard’s Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts. Damn, girl! Here, Ballerini sounds off on her booming career, the upcoming CMA Awards (Nov. 2 on ABC) and hitting the road. @kelseaballerini

Your first headlining tour kicks off Oct. 21 with a stop at The Buckhead Theatre Nov. 12. Give us the scoop!
I grew up going to big arena concerts, and I’ve always loved big productions with all the bells and whistles. Even though [we’re playing] smaller venues, we’re going to really try and capture those moments. I love Atlanta; there’s a real heart for music there.

You’re sitting at the top of the charts right now with record-breaking success. What does it all mean to you?
It’s crazy. When we were making this album, it was such a free experience. I made it with my friends; none of us had anything going on; no one knew who any of us were. And just to see the way it’s been embraced by radio and by people, it’s more than we could have ever hoped for.

Any pinch-me moments along the way?
I call them mountain-top moments, and they happen a lot, but when ‘Peter Pan’ went to No. 1 on my 23rd birthday, that was really insane. I don’t know how any birthday present is ever going to top that. Playing The Opry has been incredible; getting to tour with Rascal Flatts was one of the coolest experiences of my life; and getting to sing with Taylor Swift was awesome.

You’re up for female vocalist of the year and new artist of the year at the CMA Awards next month. How does it feel?
[I’ve learned] what being a female artist looks like [by] watching people like Miranda [Lambert] and Carrie [Underwood], so to even be in a category with them is crazy. I think Carrie deserves it, hands down, this year. She’s worked her tail off.

Are there any artists we’d be surprised you listen to?
I’m obsessed with rap music. I think I want to be Drake in my next life.


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