Even if country music is not for you, the name ‘Kelsea Ballerini’ would still ring a bell. With her soul-piercing melody and deep lyrics, Ballerini is one of the most exciting artists to come out of that scene in recent times thanks to her genre-defying music which straddles both the pop and country realms.
With pop-infused country singles such as Love Me Like You Mean It, Dibs, and Peter Pan, Ballerini topped country charts with her first three singles, making her the first solo female artist to achieve such a feat in over two decades. She also holds the record for the first solo female artist to top both Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts simultaneously and has received a slew of awards in her nascent career.
All these impressive achievements have fetched Kelsea comparisons with greats such as Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood; as such, she is working hard to not only live up to that expectation but even possibly surpass it someday.
She Grew Up In Tennessee And Favoured Pop Music As A Child
The award-winning singer was born as Kelsea Nicole Ballerini, on September 12, 1993, in Knoxville, Tennessee; she is the only child of her parents. Her father, Ed, worked as a programmer for a country-music radio station while her mom, Carla, worked, in a publishing firm. She is an American by nationality and has Italian and English ancestry.
Kelsea grew up on a small farm near Knoxville, Tennessee. Her family had a few cows as well as a goat, and she loved playing with them. This made her decide to pursue a career as a veterinarian when she grew up. Whilst making this decision, the young Kelsea also took an interest in the arts. She started by taking dance lessons at the age of three. She then turned her attention to music at the age of 13 and began singing and writing her own songs.
The young Kelsea also joined her church and school choirs and additionally started taking voice lessons. During these early days, she favored pop and oldies music from the likes of Britney Spears, Frank Sinatra, and Tony Bennett. She later stumbled onto Stupid Boy by Keith Urban and this kindled her interest in country music. She then went out and found records from the likes of Dixie Chicks, Sugarland, and Taylor Swift and soon solidified her identity.
Kelsea Ballerini initially wrote songs for the listening pleasure of her loved ones including her mother. She then suffered a heart break after her parents decided to get a divorce. The split left the young girl devastated and the only thing that could give her some relief from the pain was her songs and so, she stuck to it like glue.
She Began Topping Country Music Charts From her Debut Single
Kelsea Ballerini first made an attempt to break into music at the age of 14; traveling to Nashville to scout for a record deal. Most of the executives that she met however dismissed her talent and pegged her as a Taylor Swift copycat. Such a response could have easily squelched the passion of any young girl but not Kelsea. She utilized these hurtful words as some sort of fire to keep her going. She also got back to working on her music and making it more different and unique.
Five years after the Nashville bosses had dismissed her, Kelsea Ballerini scored a recording deal with Black River Entertainment and subsequently released her debut single, Love Me Like You Mean it, in late 2014. The single was an instant hit; it sold about one million copies and topped the Billboard Country Airplay charts. In topping the Country Airplay Charts as well, with her very first single, Kelsea Ballerini became the first solo female country music artist to achieve that feat since Carrie Underwood in 2006. She also went one step further by being the first female country artist to do so on the wings of an indie record label.
Not wanting to lose the momentum generated by her hit debut single, Kelsea followed it up with other songs such as Dibs and Peter Pan. Both songs equally performed as well as their predecessor. They topped the Country Airplay Charts making Kelsea the first solo female artist to have her first three songs top that particular chart since Wynonna Judd did so in 1992. Peter Pan also additionally topped the Hot Country Songs Chart making the Tennessee native the first solo female artist to top both charts simultaneously.
All three hit songs would eventually make up Kelsea’s debut album, The First Time, which was released in May 2015. The album reached No.4 on the Billboard Country and Independent Albums Charts. It also sold about 500k copies and received a gold certification.
The Wins And Heartaches Kelsea Endured During Award Seasons
Since that blockbuster debut, Kelsea Ballerini has consolidated her status as a country music star with other well-received albums such as Apologetically which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Top Country Album Chart and No. 7 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart, as well as Kelsea and Ballerini.
She has received numerous awards including Rising Star at the 2015 Billboard Women in Music Awards, New Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2016 Academy of Country Music Awards, Country Favorite Artist and Country Favorite Song at the 2017 Radio Disney Music Awards, Best New Country Artist at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards, Gene Weed Milestone Award at the 2017 Academy of Country Music Awards, and Country Favorite Artist at the 2018 Radio Disney Music Awards. Ballerini was also recognized on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 music list in 2017.
The singer has also suffered some disappointments at the award ceremonies though. For instance, in 2020, Kelsea’s second album was completely ignored by the CMA Awards. The decision annoyed many of her peers and fans but the Tennessee native took it in stride. She revealed that she was quite disappointed by the snub from a community that she is part of and works hard to represent.
The singer then stated that she still respected the organization and that the snub would fire her up to make a better record next time. One can surely take these words to the bank as Kelsea has previously proven that disappointment motivates her to do better.
Her Happily Ever After Story with Australian singer, Morgan Evans
The girl from Tennessee had to go all the way down under to find true love but it is one that is worthwhile. Kelsea is married to award-winning Australian country music singer, Morgan Evans.
Evans is originally from New South Wales, Australia, and was born in April 1985. He started playing in bands as a high schooler and has gone on to pursue a solo career. Evans currently has two studio albums to his name, Morgan Evans and Things That We Drink To. He has also dropped four EPs and they are Live Each Day, While We’re Young, Big Skies and Morgan Evans EP.
Morgan has received several awards for his music including New Oz Artist of the Year and Male Artist of the Year at the 2014 CMC Awards, Male Artist of the Year at the 2015 CMC awards, Country Work of the Year at the 2018 and 2019 APRA Awards, and Best Country Album at the 2019 ARIA Music Awards.
Kelsea first met her future husband in March 2016 when they co-hosted Australia’s Country Music Channel Awards. At the end of the ceremony, they decided to get some drinks at an after-party. They later ended up sharing a kiss that same night and a romance was born. The couple got engaged in December 2016.
They then tied the knot in an intimate ceremony on the beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on December 2, 2017. Kelsea and her husband remain together to date and are quite smitten with each other. Evans has released two songs inspired by his wife namely Diamonds and I Do. The two also have a duet together to their credit. It is titled Dance With Me and was released in October 2018.