Kelsea Ballerini Reveals the Moment She Knew Her Music Belonged in the Country Format

Black River

Kelsea Ballerini started writing songs as a pre-teen living on a farm in East Tennessee, but she had no idea where those songs might fit. The lyrics and melody didn’t sound like the pop music she listened to with her friends.

Kelsea tells ABC Radio, “What I was writing came out country just ’cause that’s who I am, but I did not listen to country music.”

That all changed when Kelsea heard Keith Urban‘s hit single “Stupid Boy.”

“I was like, ‘What is this?'” Kelsea says. “So, I went and got his record, Dixie Chicks and Sugarland and Taylor Swift. Those four records were my introduction to country music.”

Those four acts made Kelsea realize her musical home was just a few hours away in Nashville.

She says, “I remember listening to those [albums] and thinking, like, ‘I think it is kind of what I’m writing.’ Like, ‘I think this might be where it fits.’ And that was it. Then I was, like, all about country.”

Kelsea was so sure country would serve as her musical home, she convinced her family to move a few hours west to Nashville a few years ago.

Kelsea is a co-writer on her debut single, “Love Me Like You Mean It,” which went to #1 at country radio just last week. It’s included on her debut album, The First Time, on sale now.

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