If you've never heard of Tennessee native Kelsea Ballerini, you might just want to stop what you're doing and check her out immediately.
Kelsea has been writing songs since she was thirteen years old and her storytelling ability is massive. At just 19 years old she was signed to Black River Entertainment and it was all uphill from there. Her first single was released in late 2014 titled "Love Me Like You Mean It" and she was also named one of CMT's Next Women of Country. Kelsea's voice is just as equally stunning as her appearance, she has the perfect package. Kelsea Ballerini has vigorous vocals and a sweet demeanor. She is the perfect example of what women in country music should convey.
1. At what age did you realize you wanted to pursue music?
I grew up super involved in music with church choir and my high school's theater department but it wasn't until I started writing songs at 12 that I really had a desire to chase it.
2. What artists did you listen to growing up?
A little bit of everything! I was super into top 40 pop. Britney Spears, N'Sync and Destiny's Child. My parent's listened to a lot of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Diana Ross so it was a mix of influence. I didn't discover country music until I started writing it.
3. What artists do you currently listen to?
I love every genre of music and as a writer I'm always interested in what is going on and being created in other formats. Right now I'm stuck on the Little Big Town "Pain Killer" and Megan Trainor "Title' records. So catchy, so good.
4. Do you have a favorite place to perform?
The Bluebird Cafe is always special … just makes you feel like you're in your living room playing new songs for your family. My dream place to perform is the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville. I saw so many shows there growing up and did a lot of dreaming there, it would be a special moment. Also, Madison Square Garden..but, ya know, baby steps! ha!
5. So you just wrapped up shooting a video for "Love Me Like You Mean It" how was that process for you, being your first music video & all?
SO MUCH FUN! Oh my gosh. When I first moved to Nashville I was 15 and it was the beginning of summer, so I couldn't drive anywhere and didn't know anyone. I spent every single morning of that summer watching music videos on CMT and GAC. I'd research the directors and watch the behind the scenes reels. It's been something I've looked forward to for awhile and shooting it was an absolute blast. Kristen Barlowe is incredible. It's a really fun video.
6. What is your favorite thing about country music?
The stories, the relatability and the people. I just think there is a special connection between country artists and country listeners that doesn't exist the same in other genres.
7. If you could duet with any male artist, who would you pick & why?
Gavin Degraw. I think he is such a brilliant writer and has a killer voice that fits in country or Sam Smith because that record is just WHOA.
8. Do you think country music should evolve?
Wrong or right, I think it is evolving. For me, that's an exciting thing! Traditional country music will always be the foundation of what we do but I think expanding boundaries and allowing different influences in just brings new fans into the format. Honestly, I think as long as artists are writing and recording music that is genuine , it fits.
9. What can fans expect from you in 2015?
My debut album (ahh!!!) and touring. Both of which I am absolutely beside myself about. I've been writing for this record since I was 12 years old and I feel like it's a snapshot of my life from then until now at 21. I'm so excited to share it and then get out and play it live and meet more people. It's going to be an awesome year.
10. What would you want the world to know about Kelsea Ballerini?
That's such a tough question. I guess that I'm super normal. Like, didn't make the cheerleading team, footie pajamas and Netflix friday nights are normal & that is what I want people to feel from my music, that it's their shoes too!
For more info on Kelsea you can visit her website at www.kelseaballerini.com .
For more country music news, reviews and updates follow me via twitter @brittwv .