After an explosive and prosperous first decade in the industry, one of country music's darlings, Kelsea Ballerini, has re-upped her recording contract with long-time label Black River Entertainment. Variety first reported the news.
The independent imprint first signed the Tennessee native in 2013 and quickly helped propel her debut single, 'Love Me Like You Mean It', to the top of the country charts. In a nearly unprecedented feat of success, Ballerini's following two singles – 'Dibs' and 'Peter Pan' – repeated the same achievement.
Over the past 10 years, Ballerini and her label home have enjoyed five total trips to the peak of Billboard's Country Airplay chart, including 2018's 'Legends' and her Kenny Chesney collaboration, 'Half of My Hometown'.
Speaking with Variety, Ballerini shared: “I’ll never forget when ‘Love Me Like You Mean It’ went No. 1 almost 10 years ago, and I think it would have been very easy for me as a 20-year-old to just be so zoomed in to ‘Oh my God, this is such a mountaintop.’ But the thing that I thought about the most [from] that achievement was the fact that it was our first — for me as a songwriter, and an artist, and for Black River, too. It was ours."
Continuing to tout praises for her label, who's seen her through all the different phases and eras of her career, she added: "Being able to be nimble, being able to pivot through pandemics and EPs, being able to find my voice as an artist and also change and challenge my voice as an artist, and feel embraced in that, just to grow up alongside my music and be supported in every aspect — I know that that is not the case every time with a partnership. So it’s great to be able to continue the relationship in a place where I feel safe to just do whatever feels right — especially after the last couple years. It feels so safe and that allows me to just be free to create.”
Ballerini's most recent project, her gripping Rolling Up The Welcome Mat EP and its For Good extension, cast a new side of the country-pop entertainer as she chronicled the harsh reality of her failed marriage to fellow artist Morgan Evans.
The project spawned a life of its own over the last year, garnering millions of streams, launching her onto an extensive headlining tour, putting her on the coveted Saturday Night Live stage and notching an array of nominations, including for Best Country Album at the recent Grammy Awards.
Now, nearly at the EPs one year anniversary, fans are starting to ask – if not beg – for her next musical chapter, which she and her team were more than happy to cheekily tempt with Variety.
Ballerini's manager, CEO of Sandbox Entertainment Jason Owen, shared simply: "The second quarter [of 2024] will start a new chapter for Kelsea in a very big, loud way for the next two years… and let me say this: in all aspects of entertainment.”
Owen also disclosed that Ballerini's new deal with Black River covers endeavors outside of music, hinting that the 'Penthouse' singer may have her eyes on a variety of projects over the next few years.
Regardless of what path Ballerini goes down next, she has already begun teasing new music on the way, starting with the semi-viral 'To The Men Who Love Women After Heartbreak', which she debuted late last year at the Grand Ole Opry.
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