Since arriving on the country music scene in 2015 songstress Kelsea Ballerini has already made gigantic waves. In those four short years Ballerini has notched up eight gold-certified singles, five chart-topping singles, was inducted as the youngest current member of the Grand Ole Opry and received two GRAMMY nominations.
Ballerini has compiled this incredibly decorated resume by shattering the country music tropes with her unique take on the genre. When speaking to J.A.M recently Ballerini explained that her style has been heavily influenced by her musical upbringing.
“I grew up on everything from the Top 40, and I’ve always been very honest and open about that. It has always been really apparent in my music that I listen to pop and country.”
This unique approach to music was never more apparent than in her hugely successful collaboration, This Feeling, with The Chainsmokers.
Before working with The Chainsmokers Ballerini told J.A.M that she had done very little collaboration with other artists. And as a result, the process was a “really eye-opening experience” as she quickly came to realise that their “DJ reputation” was unfounded and that they were in fact “true artists and songwriters.”
With the boundaries of music genres being blurred more and more each day, particularly by blending electronic dance music with country stylings, Ballerini and others have jumpstarted an evolution in music creation.
“It’s a super cool time where songs like The Middle, This Feeling and Meant To Be are able to transcend genres and help blur the lines to let music just be music.”
In speaking with J.A.M about the collaborative process and the evolution of music Ballerini couldn’t contain her excitement about an upcoming track on her next album, “I have a dream collaboration on my next record, and I’m freaking out about it, but that’s all I can say!”
During our conversation it became apparent why fans have developed such a strong connection with her and her music. By allowing herself to not feel constrained by music genres Ballerini has been able to take an incredibly honest approach to her songwriting. However, Ballerini told J.A.M that she also believes the major shortage of young female voices in country music has been another contributing factor to her success.
“There’s not a lot of young female voices on country radio talking about their lives right now. So I think that while it’s starting to change, and [change is] needed, I think that [my music] connected because it was one of the only things they could connect with.”
According to Ballerini this connection with her audience has been felt most when performing here in Australia.
“I’ve gotten to play a couple shows in Australia now… every time the thing that shocks me and makes me want to come back is that you can’t even tell which songs are the singles.”
The fact that Australian audiences appear to connect with albums more than singles is something which Ballerini explained is a unique phenomena, “sometimes it becomes a very single dominated industry so sometimes you feel this very magical, insane energy when the singles are being played and it’s hard to keep attention through some of the album tracks but I’ve never felt that in Australia.”
Whilst Ballerini has a strong music connection with Australia it is not the strongest factor constantly calling her back to our shores. In 2017 Ballerini married Australian singer-songwriter Morgan Evans, so she now affectionally calls Australia a second home.
“I feel like Australia is my second home. So even though I feel like I’m often there for personal reasons it’s always nice to be able to come back and perform as well.”
Ballerini was referencing her most recent tour of Australia as part of the Australian debut of the Country To Country (C2C) music festival. For C2C Ballerini was billed alongside fellow headline act Tim McGraw, which she was very excited about.
“Tim McGraw is a legend, so to be able to do my thing then get off stage and go watch him is a treat. My inner fangirl will be thriving.”
Follow Kelsea on social media @KelseaBallerini
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