When it comes to country-pop queens of today, Kelsea Ballerini's name is etched in gold near the top of the list.
Since splashing onto the mainstream country scene in 2015, she has enjoyed quite the successful career, resulting in five albums, three EPs, five No. 1 singles, dozens of accolades and award nominations, over 6 billion streams and a busy touring schedule.
Coupling her honest and relatable songwriting - which often sees Ballerini inviting fans into the deepest parts of her heart with her pop sensibilities - she has been winning over fans for the better part of 10 years, with no signs of slowing down.
After a rather tumultuous 2022 involving the upending of most of her personal life, Ballerini tapped into those experiences and emotions to deliver a soberingly honest depiction of her failed marriage to fellow country artist Morgan Evans.
Taking shape as her six-song EP, Rolling Up the Welcome Mat, Ballerini took us on a guided, behind-the-scenes tour of their union and its ultimate demise with painstaking honesty and vividness.
What was born from that heartbreak was the evolution of Ballerini's career, in a way that no one saw coming.
After seeing the reaction from her new and existing crop of dedicated fans, and experiencing her own fair share of healing through the process, Ballerini issued an extended version of the project – called Rolling Up the Welcome Mat (For Good). The deluxe edition takes one last look at her unfurling marriage before closing the chapter, as the name implies, for good.
In nearly a decade, Ballerini has climbed from obscure, aspiring singer-songwriter to one of the genre's leading female forces, and if we had to place our bet, she won't be stopping anytime soon.
To help bring a little clarity, background and context to our country-pop superstar, we've compiled answers to some of the most widely asked questions about Kelsea Ballerini.
Kelsea Ballerini was born on September 12, 1993. This puts her on the cusp of 30 years old.
Kelsea Ballerini was raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. An only child, her dad, Ed, was a sales manager at a local country radio station, and her mom, Carla, worked in marketing.
Ballerini hails from the same area as country music titan Kenny Chesney, whom she's always held immense respect and admiration for. The pair of East Tennesseans teamed up in 2020 for their award-winning duet, 'half of my hometown', which serves as an ode to their old stomping grounds of Knoxville.
Kelsea Ballerini lives on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee in a modern farmhouse.
She purchased her current 5-bedroom farmhouse, which she calls her "dream house", in late 2022. Prior to that, she took up residence in a condo in downtown Nashville as well as a home in Nashville with her ex-husband, Morgan Evans.
We'll touch on him more in a bit, but while we're on the topic, the couple's previous living arrangements actually inspired Ballerini's poignant song 'Penthouse' which is featured on her recent EP, Rolling Up the Welcome Mat.
Kelsea Ballerini is 5 feet 6 inches tall.
For reference, the average U.S. woman comes in at 5 feet 4 inches, so as she is with most things, Ballerini is above average.
Though it's a viable question for most of our modern day artists, Kelsea Ballerini was never a contestant on any singing competition, whether it be The Voice, American Idol or any other.
Though she never competed, Ballerini has joined as a coach on The Voice on a few occasions, including in the fall of 2018 for season 15. She coached six contestants who didn't get a chair turn during The Blinds. The new round was called The Comeback Stage and was a digital companion series to the show.
Ballerini also briefly filled in for coach and pop icon Kelly Clarkson in 2021 during the show's twentieth season.
Kelsea Ballerini took the traditional route to stardom. Starting at a young age, she grew up singing in church and school choirs, and notably took dance lessons from the age of three until thirteen.
Our refined singer-songwriter wrote her first song at the age of 12, opening up a new world of possibilities and the first glimpse of her neon-tinged dreams. She learned guitar a year later and, at the age of 15, made the move to Nashville to pursue her music career.
A few years later, at 19, she signed to local indie label Black River, first for a publishing deal and then to a recording contract. Her debut single, 'Love Me Like You Mean It,' was released in October of 2014 and, come May of 2015, she released her debut album, The First Time.
'Love Me Like You Mean It' hit the peak of the Billboard Country Airplay chart in July, making Ballerini the first solo female country artist to score a No. 1 with her debut single since Carrie Underwood's 'Jesus, Take the Wheel' in 2006.
Kelsea Ballerini leans on the side of country-pop and has released quite a hefty collection of music in the better part of ten years.
So far, she has released five full-length albums – The First Time (2015), Unapologetically (2018), kelsea (2020), ballerini (2020) and SUBJECT TO CHANGE (2022) – as well as three EPs, which include Kelsea Ballerini (2014), Rolling Up the Welcome Mat (2022) and its extended version, Rolling Up the Welcome Mat (For Good) (2023).
Throughout her career, Ballerini has released a bundle of duets with country staples like Shania Twain, Thomas Rhett, Jason Aldean, the aforementioned Kenny Chesney and a newer tune with Kelly Clarkson & Carly Pearce. Outside of the country realm, she's also collaborated with Halsey, EDM duo The Chainsmokers, FLETCHER, John K and Paul Klein of pop band LANY.
Among her biggest and most recognizable hits are 'Peter Pan', 'Love Me Like You Mean It', 'Dibs', 'Yeah Boy', 'Miss Me More', 'I Hate Love Songs', 'Legends', 'homecoming queen?', 'hole in the bottle', 'half of my hometown', 'HEARTFIRST', 'IF YOU GO DOWN (I'M GOING DOWN TOO)', 'Penthouse' and 'Blindsided'.
With 14 singles released to country radio, she's made five trips to the top so far. Notably, her first three career singles notched No. 1s, making her the first female artist since Wynonna Judd in 1992 to accomplish this feat. The third single, 'Peter Pan', also made Ballerini the first female to top the Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts simultaneously since the latter was reformatted in 2012.
Kelsea Ballerini married Australian country singer Morgan Evans on December 2, 2017 at the age of 24.
The pair first met as co-hosts of Australia's Country Music Channel Awards in March of 2016. The couple, who are separated in age by 9 years, announced their engagement later the same year on Christmas Day.
In the span of 21 months, the pair had tied the knot, but after just shy of five years, the country singers called it quits. On August 29, 2022, Ballerini announced that she and Evans had filed for divorce.
On November 3, it was unveiled that they had reached a settlement agreement and, by November 15, the divorce was finalized. This same day, Ballerini was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Country Solo Performance category ('HEARTFIRST'), took to the Grand Ole Opry Stage and got the keys to her aforementioned dream home... that's one hell of a Tuesday!
Following the surprise release of her gut wrenchingly vulnerable Rolling Up the Welcome Mat EP on Valentine's Day of 2022, it was unveiled that Kelsea Ballerini would become the latest country artist to grace the coveted Saturday Night Live stage on March 4 as Kansas City Chiefs' tight end, Travis Kelce, hosted.
While we're all now well aware of the slight lyric changes Ballerini has made to some of her songs of late, it all started on this fateful Saturday night, as the Knoxville native performed a pair of her new heartbreaking songs on the massively popular comedy show.
For her first musical performance of the evening, the country-pop entertainer gave a sizzling performance of 'Blindsided', where she added a new verse for the first time that fans have now adopted as Bible.
Singing, "Now you’re singin’ it loud on the radio like you’re the only heart that breaks / You would’ve searched the whole world over? Yeah, sure, okay," the lyric addition is a direct response to her ex-husband’s post-divorce single 'Over For You'.
Later in the show, the 3x Grammy nominee returned for a stunning rendition of 'Penthouse'. Backed only by a lone white piano, the SNL version didn't feature the new lyrics that we know today, but it was nonetheless goosebump-inducing.
With that performance, Ballerini added her name to the short list of country music stars to serve as SNL's musical guest, which also includes Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen, Kacey Musgraves, Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, Chris Stapleton, Faith Hill, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Randy Travis, Zac Brown Band, Jason Aldean and few others.
In the months following her divorce from Evans, rumors began to once again swirl about Kelsea Ballerini's dating life.
In January of 2023, Ballerini was spotted cozying up to Outer Banks star Chase Stokes, starting with an outing to the College Football Playoff National Championship in Los Angeles, and by February, the pair confirmed that they were in fact an item.
The new couple made their red carpet debut on April 2 at the CMT Music Awards in Austin, Texas, where Ballerini was also serving as co-host alongside Kane Brown. Since then, they've been providing fans with plenty of photos, videos and cute moments, especially throughout Ballerini's HEARTFIRST Tour this summer.
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